Stephen Harper HAD to know about the plagiarism
This morning on Toronto’s Metro Morning program on CBC Radio One, Andy Barrie interviewed former political speechwriter Jim McLean, after the revelation yesterday that Stephen Harper’s speech in parliament, supporting the U.S.’s illegal aggression against Iraq, was plagiarized from a speech Australian PM John Howard had made two days earlier.
Mr. McLean had some very interesting things to say. He agreed that speeches in parliament can often be off the top of the speaker’s head, as they extemporize or go with their gut and change what they had thought they would say. But for an important policy speech like the one Harper made that day, McLean says there would always be consultation ahead of time between the speaker and the writer.
This consultation, in fact, would be quite detailed. The speaker would give the writer the essence of what he wanted to say, and the writer would try to put that into words that would sound like something the speaker really would say, using as much of the speaker’s personal cadence and turn of phrase as possible. But it would be very much a back-and-forth thing, as the speaker would continue to have input, ask questions, and help to shape the speech.
So. I would conclude that for something as important as Harper’s speech arguing that Canada should help the U.S. illegally invade a country that had not threatened us or the Americans — Harper would never have been subject to the ludicrous “overzealousness” of a staffer. Harper, a known micro-manager, would have been involved very heavily in the crafting of that speech advocating for military aggression.
Harper is a liar. Period. He is utterly dishonest. And the speechwriter, Owen Lippert, is taking the fall (or being made to?) for a political leader who was very willing to be as dishonest as possible in his eagerness to involve Canada in an unjustified aggression against a sovereign nation.
Harper’s spokesperson Kory Teneycke says, in the article linked above, “I’m not going to get into a debate about a five-year-old speech that was delivered three Parliaments ago, two elections ago, when the prime minister was the leader of a party that no longer exists.”
In other words, the dishonesty displayed by Liberal leaders in the sponsorship scandal is perfectly relevant now (even though most of it happened 13 years and 4 or 5 elections ago) — but a neo-Con leader’s dishonesty has absolutely no bearing on our assessment of his character now, even though we know he has not repudiated anything, and still holds exactly the same beliefs now that he did then.
Harper is a liar. Period.
(By the way, you should be able to listen to the Metro Morning interview itself, at the site linked above, at least today [October 1st] and possibly through podcast after today.)
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