Count your blessings; you could live in Canada

The following are articles, mostly from the Canadian press about the (a) the quality of data in the National Household Survey (NHS); and (b) the politicization of funding for basic science research. Much of the poor quality of the NHS data has to do with design changes at the behest of the prime minister’s office, rather than the statistical experts at Statistics Canada.

[Criticism of the National Household Survey]
To restore faith in Statscan, free the Chief Statistician
Munir Sheikh | The Globe and Mail
October 24, 2013
This op-ed is written by the former Chief Statistician who resigned amid the changes in the design of the National Household Survey. He could not agree with the statements coming from the Prime Minister that a voluntary survey can be a substitute for a mandatory survey. Here’s his resignation letter with the famous “It can not” sentence:

And that’s all he wrote. . . Munir Sheikh resigns as Chief Statistician
Kady O’Malley | CBC
July 21, 2010
[Resignation letter]

Canada’s voluntary census is worthless. Here’s why
D. Hulchanski, R. Murdie, A. Walks, and L. Bourne | Globe and Mail
October 4, 2013
Data from the NHS show that Canada’s income inequality has dropped. But, this may have more to do with the flawed NHS than reality. The authors compare tax receipt data to NHS data to illustrate the problem.

Canadian income data ‘is garbage’ without census, experts say
Tavia Grant | The Globe and Mail
October 4, 2013

[Politicization of Science Funding]
Blinded to science: The plight of basic research in Canada
Josh D. Neufeld iPolitics Insight
October 21, 2013
This piece is a good summary of the move by the Canadian government towards funding applied research instead of basic research. This statement summarizes the issue:

Basic research is the seed corn of the economy, generating the applications and economic benefits of tomorrow … Trouble is, it’s very difficult to predict which basic research programs and projects will lead to the innovations of tomorrow.

Others from the series of posts on science policy in Canada can be found here:

Series of Posts on Science Policy in Canada
to be published in iPolitics

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