Mr. Speaker, how do we know what we know? Politician philosopher Daniel Patrick Moynihan once wisely said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
However, often we deal with people who seem to enjoy using their own facts. It seems that anyone can find his or her own set of facts and then use those facts to reinforce his or her own opinions.
The great Stephen Colbert once termed the phrase “truthiness”, which is meant to denote how smart, sophisticated people, like all of us in the House, can go awry on questions of fact, ideas that just seem right without reference to logic or intellectual rigour, as hard as that may be to believe.
However, this is true in all walks of life, but especially true in politics. It seems that with increased politicization of debate, there comes increased public cynicism, which is probably why polling has recently shown that four out of five Canadians believe that when politicians make public statements, they tell the truth less than half the time. I trust that all of us in the House are exempt from that admonishment.
Whether it is facts, logic or some form of “truthiness”, it seems important that we consider the trust that Canadians place in each of us as their representatives when we choose which of our set of facts to embrace.