Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Harper Plagiarizes Liberals



Err...the Australian Liberals, that is:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper plagiarized almost half of a speech he delivered in 2003 as opposition leader, Liberal candidate Bob Rae alleged on Tuesday.

Harper gave the speech in Parliament on March 20 -- the first day U.S. forces began bombing Baghdad, and two days after then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave a strikingly similar address.

At a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday morning, Rae played the speech by Harper simultaneously with a speech by then-Australian prime minister John Howard.

Much of Harper's address matches Howard's virtually word for word.

Rae released transcripts and videos of both speeches and suggested they serve as evidence that a vote for the Conservatives is akin to voting for a "Republican-Conservative" government.


First off, kudos to the Liberal war room for digging this one up. A catch like this takes a lot more work than just googling a candidate's name, so they deserve major props. My sense is that this isn't going to turn into that big a deal, but my opinion on that may be clouded by the extreme indifference that greeted Ralph's bout with plagiarism in Alberta (and this was probably a speechwriter who messed up, rather than Harper himself).

At the same time, bringing up Harper's ever evolving memory of his Iraq position doesn't hurt at all. And releasing an ad linking Harper to Bush on the same day shows a bit of forethought on the Liberals' part.

UPDATE: And we've got our scapegoat!

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22 Comments:

  • Isn't everyone tired of the same old Harper/Bush tagline. When are we going to talk about real issues during this campaign?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:21 PM  

  • I think I'm more traumatized by Harper's circa 2003 hair-do.

    By Blogger bekker, at 3:25 PM  

  • Oh, Harper. You probably should have delegated more; it'd make it more credible when you try to blame "staffers" for the speech that you either lifted from Howard or (more disturbingly) Washington handed the both of you. Now you look like a thief or a tool; and either way, it's reminding everybody about what a big booster of Iraq you were.

    Whoops.

    As to whether it's "a big deal", Calgrit: well, now, that depends on you, doesn't it? A blogger isn't an analyst; you're allowed to be angry. You're allowed to call someone out. You're allowed to be outraged.

    The thief (or puppet) is clearly unfit to lead. So, yes, channel some outrage.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 3:37 PM  

  • Does Harper's position on Iraq make me think he shouldn't be Prime Minister?

    Absolutely.


    Does the fact that someone in his office lifted a speech from John Howard 5 years ago convince me that he's unfit to lead?

    I dunno. I can think of at least 20 or 30 reasons that Harper shouldn't be PM that are more relevant to me.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:45 PM  

  • Hey 'anonymous,'

    The plagiarism might not be a big issue (sadly) - but this is making people realize that when an issue like this comes up again Harper will jump at the chance to use poor judgment so fast he won't even take the time to write out (or think out) his own argument.

    The Iraq question may be in the past, but there will be another one. Who do we want making the decision next time? There's a 'real issue' for you.

    By Anonymous John D, at 4:00 PM  

  • Yawn. Old news. Who cares?

    By Anonymous Deb, at 4:03 PM  

  • A REAL leader takes responsibility for his staffers.
    We shall see..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:40 PM  

  • "Does the fact that someone in his office lifted a speech from John Howard 5 years ago convince me that he's unfit to lead?"

    So John Howard's number-one fan never even heard (or read) Howard's speech on Iraq?

    By Anonymous ace, at 4:43 PM  

  • Anyone who steals someone elses speech, is unfit to hold any political office.
    Someone willing to steal someone elses speech to further another countries military objectives, should be removed from office.
    Anyone willing to use ideas from John Howard should not even make it into politics.

    By Anonymous BigCF, at 4:57 PM  

  • There are lots of reasons he shouldn't be PM.

    But if this one is worth outrage it's worth outrage. And this "wonk" stealing a speech—and it's terribly unlikely it was just a "staffer" responsible-is definitely worth outrage.

    And after all, what could be a better reason for Harper not being PM than his abysmal grasp of foreign policy, and his willingness to let Washington pull his strings?

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 5:15 PM  

  • Does anyone else find the "overzealous" staffer argument a little bit too convenient.

    Something's rotten in the state of Australia on this one.

    By Anonymous CW, at 5:36 PM  

  • Demosthenes:

    Have you had to take time off work today?

    You sure are making the rounds on the blogosphere with your self-styled talking points, trying to whip up some phoney outrage over this.

    I think the reality is Canadians are too preoccupied with matters of actual importance, like the future of their RRSPs and the security of their jobs, to take seriously a five-year-old speech about an issue of zero relevance to Canada right now.

    Liberals risk losing all touch with the average Canadian by trying to make political hay out of this.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 5:49 PM  

  • "I think the reality is Canadians are too preoccupied with matters of actual importance, like the future of their RRSPs and the security of their jobs, to take seriously a five-year-old speech about an issue of zero relevance to Canada right now."

    But Harper told me our economy was sound!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:20 PM  

  • I read alot of blogs, but rarely comment. Is this mud slinging anything like stealing a business womans company name to promote your platform. I think stealing "Greenshift" and refusing to deal with the owner until forced by an election is a more relevent issue of poor character.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:00 PM  

  • I think the Libs should have kept this little bit of powder dry until after the debates. Harper wasn't around to comment today, and the debates will be the focus of the next 3 days. Would have got a bigger impact next week..as it is now, one and a half day story.

    By Blogger le politico, at 8:08 PM  

  • "Is this mud slinging anything like stealing a business womans company name to promote your platform. I think stealing "Greenshift" and refusing to deal with the owner until forced by an election is a more relevent issue of poor character."

    Hmm, let's see, what's the body count so far in the Green Shift issue?

    Try to be serious, will you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 PM  

  • john: I know a good story when I see one.

    And while I appreciate your heroic attempts to spin people like CalGrit each and every day, I think the claim that Canadians find question of the Iraq war "of zero relevance" is more insulting than anything Rae said.

    After all, Rae included that bit as part of a broad speech on Harper government's pathetically poor performance on the world stage, remember? How the, well, leadership of the Prime Minister has been lacking outside of his own borders?

    So, aha, I'll gladly take my "self-styled talking points" over the ones you were sent by what Kady so amusingly calls "the Little Shop of Tories".

    (If, indeed, you don't already work there.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 9:41 PM  

  • By the by, I wouldn't go chattering on and on about how important the economy is.

    It was the people that Harper called his "bright inspiration" that were responsible for it. The last thing Canadians need is to endure the sort of "leadership" that America has over the last 8 years.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 9:42 PM  

  • It has now been revealed that Owen Lippert, Harper's scapegoat staffer, is an expert and published author on copyright and intellectual property. He has a long history with the right-wing Fraser Institute, Harper's alma mater.

    There is not a chance that Harper didn't know where his lines came from. John Howard was Harper's first visitor as Prime Minister. Lippert took one for the team.

    Harper no longer faces the public over scandals. He just sends Kory Teneycke to perform alchemistry with the media while remaining safely insulated. Then he sends out some shrill who denies knowing anything as proof he didn't have personal knowledge. This way Harper is never linked with a direct response and safely avoids the public.

    Harper has demonstrated that he subscribes to executive responsibility. He should resign like anyone else would have to.

    By Anonymous Offenright, at 1:23 AM  

  • The Liberals are desperate, Harper was influenced by that WMD crap like all the other American Congressmen. I think that this campaign has gotten too personal in terms of comparing Harper/Bush and putting crap on Stephane Dion's shoulders. Everyone just stfu and focus on the main issues, economy and Afghanistan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 AM  

  • I'm not Canadian and definitely not liberal, but I am discusted that people defend a politician that can not even come up with their own thoughts or ideas. Is that the type of person you want making important decisions, that can have international rammifications?

    By Anonymous BigCF, at 1:26 PM  

  • By Anonymous Popular Plagiarism Checker, at 1:02 PM  

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