Statistics Canada’s Chief Economic Analyst Resigns

It is very troubling when the nation’s top data producing agency squashes debate and pretends that the data it is producing is ‘methodologically sound and scientifically valid’ and communications departments call the shots while scientists, methodologists and subject matter specialists are silenced.  The governments is promoting transparency on one side (e.g. open.gc.ca), Canada has signed onto the Open Government Partnership, and government websites have proactive disclosure links, all the while transparency is not culturaly normalized in government institutions and management structures.

This is where ‘real’ transparency needs to occur, otherwise what is the point of a democracy when telling the truth is a carreer limiting move.  I do not want to live in a culture of yes people, divergent views is where we learn, test and re-evaluate.

Thanks to the resignation of the chief economic analyst at StatCan, at least we now know why non custom and non small geography national household survey data will be free – it ain’t good data! Sor much for open data!

Open data includes access to good data, and transparency means more than the disclosure section on a government website.  It is also interesting
that the 10 principles of open data all us open data enthusiasts quote do not include a principle on ’quality, reliable, accurate and authentic data’.  I think it is time for a new principle and for some government principles.

We know that Philip Cross adheres to and understands both and it is a shame that good and smart people have to resign for us to hear what is really going on.  I want a government full of smart people doing the right thing according to their mandates and the ethical standards of their professions and disciplines.  To me that is just plain part of good governance.  Othewise, how can we trust what the government produces.  Honestly, I do not want to distrust the Canadian government, I live in Ottawa and I know lots of good people with integrity who are the best we can ask for in a public servant, unfortunately for them, the climate they are working in is testing their resolve, and people are keeping their heads low.

My faith in government keeps being tested these days and I fear that this new culture of yes people will be the new norm, which may perpetuate mediocrity and ill informed decision-making, which is unfortunate for us all as we have a great country, and it would be great if it could be governed by great people who can take us to greater and better heights, instead of great people who cannot tell the truth and by not doing so mislead us all.

Globe and Mail Article: Statscan’s chief economic analyst quits