Canada names new chief statistician

Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:48pm EST
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper named a new head of Statistics Canada on Tuesday, filling a post that was at the center of a fight over Canada's census.

Wayne Smith, who had been leading the agency on an interim basis, will serve as Canada's new chief statistician, the Prime Minister's Office said.

Former chief statistician, Munir Sheikh, abruptly resigned in July over a government decision to make it voluntary for citizens to answer a more detailed version of the 2011 census.

The government said the change was needed to protect privacy rights, but critics ranging from business to social groups complained it will make the data less accurate.

(Reporting by Allan Dowd; Editing by Frank McGurty)