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Industry committee  Thank you.

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Well, on whether the census should be legislated, I think we're trying to get away from an overly detailed prescriptive act, to give the chief statistician more autonomy, while at the same time resetting the relationship between the agency and the government. It is interesting th

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  I've tried to make the case that the chief statistician position is different from that of the regular roster of deputy ministers, in my opinion. That individual needs to be part of the deputy ministerial community, meet regularly with the clerk of the privy council, and be invol

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Yes, I said that there's no clear dividing line between policy, operations, methodologies, and so on. What you don't want is to give the ministers the best of both worlds, what I would call “discretionary accountability”, where, when it pleases them, they can intervene and get th

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Yes. There's no foolproof way of stopping a minister from trying to do something either for political reasons or because they have a different substantive judgment from that of the chief statistician.

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Absolutely not, but you could say that the chief statistician and the advisory networks they have in place create a narrow perspective on some of these issues. The minister and the government bring a broader perspective: what does this mean nationally or regionally for different

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Here in the middle of the country, the real centre of Canada—

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  —bone-cracking winters and killer mosquitoes...we've got it all.

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  It's an important point that goes back to the role of the current National Statistics Council. I'm one of two members on it from Manitoba. We had a few fights break out between Manitoba's statistical agency and Statistics Canada over whether there was an undercount of population.

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Maybe I could offer a perspective. I was twice chair of boards of crown corporations in Manitoba, appointed by different governments and advertised to be a non-partisan board chair. I had colleagues on those boards of directors who came from political backgrounds, but they had ap

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  I can go first, if you like. I agree with you that our system of responsible government is based on the prime minister and ministers of the crown being required to explain and defend what they've done in public and to be held accountable ultimately through elections, before the

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Yes, I'll reflect briefly on my time on the National Statistics Council. The first time I was appointed, the official letter to join the council came from the minister. On subsequent renewals, it came from the chief statistician. So it seemed to shift back and forth between the m

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  It would be a great loss if there wasn't a larger body with some representational role. I think it's a false dichotomy to say it's absolutely either-or. It could be a kind of hybrid model. But that takes you into the range of 20 to 25 people, as I suggest. As Munir Sheikh and pre

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Yes, and then there are specialized ones on a sort of functional basis. What does the mining industry need, or resource industries, more broadly? There's a wide array of those. It's not like the chief statistician and his executive team is without advice in terms of segments of C

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas

Industry committee  Some members of the current council, the National Statistics Council, are not so much extensive users of statistical data. They're people like me. They are more process and administrative people. Those kinds of people are useful as well, as the chief statistician deals with the P

April 6th, 2017Committee meeting

Dr. Paul Thomas