Friday, May 25, 2012

What is Truth?

An age-old question without a firm answer, it is one I find myself regularly pondering as I continue striving toward an ideal I know I'll never attain, that of being a consummate critical thinker. Bombarded by information as we are, it is often difficult to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff and arrive at satisfactory conclusions. And of course, there is always one's own biases to contend with as major filters of that information.

Take, for example, my deep antipathy toward the Harper Conservatives. So used to their tactics of denigration, disparagement, denial and deception am I that part of me strongly believes truth in any form is alien to them, that their actions are driven not by any concern for us as a nation, but only as the subjects of a grand neo-conservative experiment.

But to interpret everything they do according to that restrictive framework is also to deny true critical thinking and is simply to be as reactionary as the right-wing.

And so, in the spirit of honest inquiry, I seek to make an honest assessment of the changes to Employment Insurance announced yesterday by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. Is it, as Star columnist Tim Harper suggests, a reform that curiously dovetails "with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation view that a bunch of lazy layabouts are milking the system and forcing more ambitious offshore workers to do the work they won’t do" ?

Or is it "all about matching Canadians hungry for work with employers hungry for employing Canadians instead of foreign workers," as the government insists?

Another question: what commitment does Ottawa have to improving and expanding access to retraining programs for those seeking to upgrade their skills? And how do the E.I. changes affect them?

Like all policy conducted in secrecy instead of collaboratively with the public, this legislation invites the worst of interpretations, whether or not those interpretations are wholly warranted. Such is the price to be a paid by a regime committed to restricting the flow of information and treating those it 'serves' with palpable contempt.

That kind of philosophy of government certainly doesn't make it easier to be a critical thinker these days.

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