Archived – Statistics: The Invisible Made Visible

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Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 11-629-x

Issue number: 2015003

Release date: June 14, 2013
Statistics: The Invisible Made Visible - Transcript

Description of visuals

Length: 4:27 minutes

June 14, 2013

Statistics: The Invisible Made Visible

Testimonial Video – the following are the name of participants, in the order they appear.

Wayne R. Smith
Chief Statistician of Canada

Martine Durand
Chief Statistician and Director
Statistics Directorate

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Catherine Deri Armstrong
Associate Professor, Department of Economics
University of Ottawa

Dr. Linda Duxbury
Professor, Sprott School of Business
Carleton University

Ian Cross
Program Manager, Research and Forecasting
City of Ottawa

Iman Azman
Recent Graduate, School of Journalism
Carleton University

Alex Maheu
Manager, Government
Relations and Policy
Canadian Urban Transit Association

David McKie
Investigative Journalist
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Parliamentary Bureau

Philippe Orfali
Parliamentary Journalist
Le Droit

David Rosé
Economist, Provincial Forecasting
The Conference Board of Canada

Christian Dea
Director General, Knowledge and
Data Management Directorate
Human Resources and
Skills Development Canada

Andrew Sharpe
Executive Director
Centre for the Study of Living Standards


(First speaker: Wayne R. Smith, Chief Statistician of Canada.)

My name is Wayne Smith and I am the Chief Statistician of Canada.

This year we celebrate the International Year of Statistics, highlighting the profound impact that statistical information has on our world, our communities, and each of us as individuals.

(Music plays while visuals of the studio are shown.)

(Mr. Smith continues.)

As Canada's trusted source of information since 1918, Statistics Canada helps Canadians every day to make knowledgeable decisions about our health, education, society, economy, and environment.

(Music plays in the background throughout the video.)

(Second speaker: Martine Durand, Chief Statistician and Director, Statistics Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.)

I think that, basically, people are looking for information, especially in a world as complex as the one we live in.

(Third speaker: Catherine Deri Armstrong, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa.)

As parents, as policy-makers, as a society, being able to look at the outcomes that we care about across a country lets policy-makers come up with the right strategies and the right policies to get the best society we can.

(Fourth speaker: Dr. Linda Duxbury, Professor, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University.)

When we say the word 'statistics, ' a lot of people think very different things. A lot of the public and even a lot of the business school students go, "Oh my God, statistics!"

(Fifth speaker: Ian Cross, Program Manager, Research and Forecasting, City of Ottawa.)

Usually the word 'statistics' sends people running. Believe it or not, I dropped out of my first stats course, too. And then I overcame my fear and discovered that this actually makes a lot of sense.

(Sixth speaker: Iman Azman, Recent Graduate, School of Journalism, Carleton University.)

In second-year poli sci, we have to take a stats class, and everybody hated it. But I walked away learning how to read numbers, and how to make people care about numbers.

(The second speaker, Martine Durand, continues with her comments.)

It seems very...very abstract-it's just numbers, it's not interesting, it's like mathematics. No, it can be absolutely essential for understanding people's lives.

(Seventh speaker: Alex Maheu, Manager, Government Relations and Policy, Canadian Urban Transit Association.)

Whether it's about economic growth, society or infrastructure in our communities, and developing a quality of life in our cities, it always boils down to statistics.

(Eighth speaker: David McKie, Investigative Journalist, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Parliamentary Bureau.)

Data journalism is really using statistics-using numbers-to uncover trends that then you can translate into stories.

(The sixth speaker, Iman Azman, continues with her comments.)

You can always tell a personal story or a story about someone who's going through some hardship. But then, if you bring up numbers, well, that just makes the story more legitimate and more newsworthy.

(Ninth speaker: Philippe Orfali, Parliamentary Journalist, Le Droit.)

Without data, there is no journalism. We constantly rely on the facts to describe current events, whether it's government decisions... when I need to talk about the evolution, for example, of Franco-Ontarian society, it's important to have a good idea of what makes it up and of the importance of the data we can rely on.

(The fourth speaker, Dr. Linda Duxbury, continues with her comments.)

If you want to buy this house, you would look at the average price of houses in that community, and you would decide whether or not the deal you were getting was a good one.

(Tenth speaker: David Rosé, Economist, Provincial Forecasting, The Conference Board of Canada.)

So what statistics allow us to do is to measure maybe where things are going, and also gauge, or maybe rethink, our assumptions about how things are working.

(The seventh speaker, Alex Maheu, continues with his comments.)

We see many people heading to cities for jobs... to access health services, etcetera. So, we use that information to better plan mass transit routes or to plan the different trips.

(The fifth speaker, Ian Cross, continues with his comments.)

I think it's fair to say that the city could not function, or certainly could not function very well, without StatCan data.

(Eleventh speaker: Christian Dea, Director General, Knowledge and Data Management Directorate, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.)

I work in a department that spends over one hundred billion dollars a year in services to the public. So it's very important for us to know what is happening in the lives of Canadians, what type of issues they are dealing with, and also what type of pressures they are facing.

(Twelfth speaker: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.)

We do an index of economic well-being that looks at the overall trends in the well-being of Canadians: looking in terms of consumption, stocks of wealth, inequality, and security. And that is a complicated index, but it's all based on Statistics Canada data.

(The third speaker, Catherine Deri Armstrong, continues with her comments.)

Canada has an unbelievably good reputation, in terms of its statistical agency, and the quality of the data it collects. And in the end, this is what makes it so valuable.

(The second speaker, Martine Durand, continues with her comments.)

When you have agencies like Statistics Canada, you are ensured of having representative samples, well-organized information, and high quality, especially. That can make a huge difference for people's lives.

(Music fades while Martine Durand laughs, and the screen fades to black.)


(The image fades into the Canada wordmark against a black background.)

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