01 October 2008

Harper and the Plagiarism Story

Here's the thing that gets me about this whole issue: why now? If it was so readily obvious that Harper was parroting Howard & Bush, why didn't this get discovered within hours of the speech being made? Why didn't it come out during the 2004 campaign, when a potential leader of Canada marching Canada into Iraq was a much hotter topic, especially given the news reports that if Martin were PM at the time, he would have done the same thing? It's such a non-entity of an issue at this time, at least the Iraq portion of it--we're five-plus years removed from the invasion and overthrow of the vile Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Talking about who would have done what at the time is counterintuitive.
All that said, as an academic I take this type of intellectual dishonesty very seriously. Having sloughed through countless papers and putting through my own original thoughts to an extent that there's a book full of them, the idea of ripping off someone else's ideas is repugnant to me. It would not have taken much to give the credit where credit is due in the course of the speechwriting process. Add in "As Australian Prime Minister John Howard said just this week," to that part of the speech, and you're covered. As it is, the speechwriter has made it appear that the current Prime Minister of Canada is a cheater, a Bush puppet, and too lazy to check his own work. That's very, very bad. Will it resonate? Hard to say.

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