StatsCan Chief Quits, Charges Government with Compromising the Agency

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“All of you are aware of my view that this loss of independence and control is not only an apprehension, but an effective reality today,” wrote the Chief Statistician of Canada Wayne Smith in a resignation letter obtained by The Canadian Press.

Smith is the second chief of the organization to quit on principle in the last 6 years. Munir Sheikh, Smith’s predecessor, resigned in protest of the Conservative government’s changing of the census into a voluntary survey in 2010.

“… Statistics Canada is increasingly hobbled in the delivery of its programs through disruptive, ineffective, slow and unaffordable supply of physical informatics services by Shared Services Canada,” Smith stated.

“I have made the best effort I can to have this situation remediated, but to no effect. I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised.”

The government’s Shared Services Canada has a veto over Stats Can, according to Smith, and this undermines the independence of the statistics organization.

“I do not wish to preside over the decline of … a world-leading statistical office,” stated Smith.

“So I am resigning, in order to call public attention to this situation.”