Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:20

Healthy skepticism is a virtue

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Last month, I was attending an informal event in our community when a woman came in and announced to the group that Rachel Notley didn’t support the Keystone XL pipeline. She had read this information on Facebook.
Right away several women reacted and as I recall one woman was upset because Notley had been listening to environmentalists. Another woman who was frustrated yelled something like, “We should lynch the people who supported her!” Because Notley has made several trips to support pipelines, I was puzzled by this “fact.” As I was one of those who worked on an NDP campaign in the 2015 provincial election, I felt threatened and rather than speak up, I wanted to wait until I had a chance to fact check.
When I got home that day, I searched on Facebook and found the Notley/Keystone article. It was posted by The Rebel which was founded by Ezra Levant.
Using Hansard online, I searched for the original conversation in the Alberta Legislature and it sounded like the leader of the opposition was trying to get the premier to say that she supported it.
Instead she indicated she supported other pipelines but never said that she didn’t support the Keystone. My guess is she couldn’t say she supported the Keystone at this time because Donald Trump has indicated he will approve the Keystone, but he wants a sizeable portion of the profits.
The point I want to make is it is important for people to be somewhat skeptical about so-called “facts” and question the validity of statements, no matter who makes them. It’s important to consider the reliability of sources. While the internet can quickly spread misinformation, it also provides us with the tools to verify information as well. In this age of “fake news,” unfortunately we have to be more critical.
Jane Bahnmiller, Medicine Hat, Alta.

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