Trudeau Names Statistics Canada Chief After Smith Resigns

Canada’s statistics agency has undergone a sudden change in leadership with the resignation of its chief statistician.

Anil Arora will become head of the agency effective Sept. 19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Friday, replacing Wayne Smith, who resigned in protest over the government’s decision to consolidate its information-technology infrastructure with another department.

Smith said the IT move undermines the statistic agency’s independence. His resignation will be an embarrassment to the Trudeau government, which had moved immediately after coming to power to reinstate the long-form census in order to yield more accurate and reliable data.

“We are working closely with Statistics Canada towards the reinforcement of the independence of this eminent institution,” Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said in a separate statement.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper abolished the long-form census in 2010, triggering a controversy that ultimately led to the resignation of Munir Sheikh, Smith’s predecessor as head of Statistics Canada.

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