Munir Sheikh, head of Statistics Canada, in his resignation letter (which has already been removed from the StatsCan website):
“I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion. This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census.
It can not.
Under the circumstances, I have tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister.”
Cue ShamWow Tony from last Friday: StatsCan recommended move to voluntary census, Tony Clement says
“So I went to StatsCan. They’re the experts. I said to Stats Canada, ‘Give us some options. Is there a way that we can have a balance, get the data that everyone hankers for . . . .’
He said he asked whether the voluntary survey would produce “robust” data. Stats Canada replied “in no uncertain terms, ‘Yes, it would give us the data that everybody hankers for.'”
Tony Clement is using the word “everybody” to mean the word “Steve” here. “Hankers” is a Canadian heavy metal band.
But Sheikh’s resignation must have come as a big shock to Tony, given that he got at least 10 supportive tweets about gutting the census (h/t Aaron Wherry) on what he refers to as “the Twitterverse” in this G&M interview on Tuesday.
In the same interview Tony said Sheikh would be making a statement “to assure Canadians that Statscan is going to do its job.”
And Mr. Sheikh did indeed come through for us. Hats off to you, sir. From Reuters’ report on his resignation:
“Some Statistics Canada employees have complained to the media that the Conservatives have cut or curtailed several major surveys since the party took power in 2006 in an effort to reduce the amount of analysis the agency does.”
… because pesky facts and science and analysis get in the way of the Cons making shit up.
Meanwhile, via Kady, an anti-census Sunday missive from Dmitri Soudas, Steve’s ninny Director of Communications:
“21,000 Canadians registered Jedi knight as a religion in the 2001 census”
Fun facts: The Australia 2001 census boasted over 70,000 Jedi devotees while New Zealand had 53,715, making it the second largest religion in New Zealand, along with The Church of Elvis and Rugby, Racing and Beer.
In England and Wales, the Office of National Statistics announced their census totals in a press release entitled “390,000 Jedis there are“, going on to suggest that the opportunity to give the hoax answer possibly boosted response from the usually laggardly teens and twenty somethings.
I think anyone who is not Dimitri Soudas appreciates that the Jedi answer was given by the same proportion of the population that normally writes “atheist” or “none” in the census box on religion. Of course, we would need an unbroken lineage of long-form census results to know that.
Soudas goes on to use the Canadian Jedi stat, information he presumably guiltily gleaned from the census, to battle the mighty census-supporting IggySiths :
“Canadians don’t want the government at their doorstep at 10 o’clock at night while they may be doing something in their bedroom, like reading, because government wants to know how many bedrooms they have.”
Take it away, Christopher Walken.
And finally, a week after the Cons stonewalled the SECU committee’s call for a G20 inquiry into the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, they are now calling for immediate emergency committee hearings to “examine the urgent public issue created by the Ignatieff Liberals’ threat to prosecute and jail law-abiding Canadians who do not wish to participate” in the long census.
Urgent public issue?
The Canada Long Census of 1871, which “asked 211 questions on area, land holdings, vital statistics, religion, education, administration, the military, justice, agriculture, commerce, industry and finance,” is now pared down to 59 questions used in the present long-form ever since 1971, but hey, an emergency is an emergency when you’re a Con fighting off Jedi Knights in your bedroom at 10 o’clock at night.