Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stéphane Dion: Harper should be “expelled”

Senior Liberal Bob Rae alleges a Stephen Harper speech to parliament in 2003 was copied almost verbatim from parts of a speech in support of the Iraq war that Prime Minister John Howard of Australian had delivered earlier.

Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has since chimed in to support Rae's criticisms and saying Harper should be "expelled"—whatever that means.

"We have a prime minister who commits plagiarism," Dion is reported to have said.

A typical Liberal ploy: charge impropriety and hope like hell that the charge will stick. There is no apparent evidence of plagiarism here. According to Dictionary.com, plagiarism is

"the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work."

I challenge Stéphane Dion to prove his charge that the prime minister has plagiarized the speech. If he can’t he should recant his slander.

I do not know whether the charge has any substance, but I sure would like to see some evidence before I decide. The mere similarities between the speeches—regardless of how similar they are—is not persuasive. At this point, we don't know who really wrote the speech or if the prime minister knew of the similarities. Or even if the use of the words was authorized.

It is fair game to point out the similarities and follow up with an investigation to get the details—that's good politics. To immediately launch a smear campaign without those defining details, however, is gutter politics, something at which the Liberals are past masters.

The Liberals see their chances at power slipping away; desperation is setting in.

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