Friday, July 16, 2010

Is Tony Clement lying?

Or are there unnamed "statisticians" at StatsCan who should be fired for gross incompetence?

As everyone is aware, Industry Minister Tony Clement, possibly taking his cue from US Congressional luminary Michelle Bachmann last year, is set to impose a massive case of corporate amnesia upon our country. In an unprecedented act of ideological vandalism, he will be scrapping the mandatory long-form census and introducing a statistically useless--and more expensive--voluntary version.

Clements' latest excuse for
swimming manfully against the current of intelligence, common sense and statistical expertise is, according to today's Globe and Mail, that Statistics Canada is backing him up:

I asked [Statistics Canada] specifically, "Are you confident you can do your job?" They said "If you do these extra things: the extra advertising and the extra sample size, then yes, we can do our job."

Clements went on to say that the array of people and organizations now up in arms--including the legendary former Chief Statistician Ivan Fellagi, and the Statistical Society of Canada--"should trust Statistics Canada."

We have no way of checking whether StatsCan has really abandoned statistical methodology in favour of conservative voodoo, however, because it has been muzzled by the government:

The agency is no longer granting interviews on the issue and is now responding to inquiries with e-mail statements only.

As usual, the Ottawa Citizen's Dan Gardner is making hay with all this. But the know-nothings, once again, are winning. That's not Bluesfest you're hearing from afar on these balmy Ottawa summer nights, folks. It's the sound of banjos on Parliament Hill.

UPDATE: We don't need no information.

UPPERDATE: Looks like we have an answer to my question.

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