Friday, 30 July 2010

"The census is a vital part of data for the Northwest Territories"

Census change baffles critics, experts

Jack Danylchuk
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 29, 2010


INUVIK - The Harper government's decision to make response to Census Canada long-form questionnaires voluntary could interfere with how programs and services in the Northwest Territories are developed and delivered.

"The census is a vital part of data for the Northwest Territories," said Vishni Peeris, territorial statistician. "Any changes to the availability of that information is going to be have quite an effect on the territories."

There appears to be significant public opposition to the change that prompted government-appointed chief statistician Munir Sheikh to resign last week. Eighty-one per cent of 12,000 respondents to an online poll in The Globe and Mail oppose the change.

Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington, called the move "really strange" and added, "it will have a big impact on predictability for government and business that want to determine where the needs of people are moving and how they can better respond.

"In the Northwest Territories, with our mix and the need to understand that, it's essential to get the information to really understand how things are going here in 33 communities over four million square kilometres."