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Statement by the Minister of Industry, Tony Clement

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 21, 2010) - Today, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, issued the following statement:

"I acknowledge with regret the resignation of Munir Sheikh, the Chief Statistician of Canada.

"There has been considerable commentary about the federal government's decision to replace the 2011 mandatory long-form census with the voluntary National Household Survey. The government made this decision because we do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fines, jail, or both, to disclose extensive private and personal information. We believe it is not appropriate to compel citizens to divulge how many bedrooms they have in their houses or what time they leave for work in the morning.

"The government's approach is about finding a better balance between collecting necessary data and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.

"As I have noted previously, Statistics Canada's preference would have been to maintain the mandatory long-form census.

"However, once the government decided to replace the mandatory long-form census, Statistics Canada was asked to provide options for conducting a voluntary survey of households. One of the options provided - the voluntary National Household Survey - was chosen.

"A voluntary long-form survey offers challenges that do not exist in the case of a census that uses coercion to compel completion. Nonetheless, by working together with the professionals at Statistics Canada, I believe we can compensate for these challenges and offer data users high-quality and accurate information.

"Throughout this process, I have relied on the frank and open advice of Statistics Canada and the Chief Statistician. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all employees of Statistics Canada for the hard work and dedication that has made Statistics Canada one of the best national statistical organizations in the world.

"Until a permanent successor can be found Wayne Smith, Assistant Chief Statistician, Business and Trade Statistics, will act on an interim basis."

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