BTC: Are we over this?


Another allegation of plagiarism. Very little attention from the major outlets. Discuss.


BTC: Are we over this?

  1. yawn.

    Real problem? No platform yet!

  2. Can you plagiarize from a nasty soul-mate with whom you share a hair stylist ?

  3. Did Owen ‘write’ that one, too? Can you fire a staffer twice, or will they need a stand-in?

  4. Btw, I love the passage:

    “Thinking about things from a new and different perspective is not about reading the polls and having focus group tests.”

    I thought both governments were famous for huge increases in public opinion research, paid for on government’s dime.

  5. If this instance hadn’t been on the heels of ‘Howardgate’, I’d expect we’d shrug a bit and assume these are talking points shared within the Conservative “family” (and thus fair game), or that there’s some awfully goddamned lazy speechwriters out there.

    As someone who teaches at a university, plagiarism is an issue I have to deal with a lot. Personally, I’m very intolerant of it. If university policy were up to me, students caught cheating would be expelled, no exceptions.

    But my strict line on university plagiarism has to do with a concern for the value of the degrees we award. And for keeping the playing field level for honest students. Plagiarism on an essay represents a form of unfair gain.

    But I’m not sure the same reasons apply to political speeches. I think that realm might be closer to the world of professional comedians (I’m being serious here). They often steal bits of each other acts, but when certain comedians step over the line and steal too much of others routines, their reputation takes a hit.

    I don’t know, I’m still thinking this through. I’ve had to sit stone-faced across the desk from students who cried, begged for second chances, or insisted they meant to go back and reword and properly cite the stuff they pasted in. And I didn’t bend. Yet I feel there’s something qualitatively different in the case you’ve mentioned here. As I say, I still don’t know…

  6. Being ideological soul mates is one thing.

    Being ideological soul mates word for word is another.

    But really plagiarism is the lesser issue here. The Liberals wanted people talking about Harper, Irak, and George Bush in the same sentences and they got it. Look how Harper today is very suddenly doing a mea culpa on his previous and notorious enthusiasm for going into Mesopotamia.

    The latest speech”gate” is not about plagiarism either, it’s about getting a second round of attention on the Harper-Howard speech, which is about Irak and George Bush again.

    Does it help the Liberals? Maybe not. Doesn’t hurt.

    Does it hurt the Tories? Maybe a little. But it certainly doesn’t help.

  7. I think that there are number of important factors that distinguish the two: 1) sensitivity of the subject; 2) amount (this is a couple lines vs a half a lengthy speech); 3) the source (Harper’s kindred spirit vs another Harper kindred spirit who is more importantly the head of another state who was going to Iraq)

    though i do still think the first instance is a bigger deal then the effect it seems to be having.

  8. This gets the Howard/Iraq story back in the news. Harper being in bed with Harris is also bad in Ontario, where Harris is still deeply unpopular.

  9. I should point out that the average Canadian doesn’t know who Howard is. But they certain remember Harris.

  10. Good point, Andrew. Though if having Flaherty, Baird and Clement along for the ride hasn’t been enough to scare folks, I’m not sure if this will.

  11. Sean S

    Good point about how speeches are different for some reason.

    Back in the spring, I remember watching William Safire talk about speech writers and how the borrow things from each other after Hillary C accused Obama of stealing from Deval Patrick.

    Safire told an anecdote about how he borrowed a couple of phrases from a 1935 speech (or somesuch) when he was writing speeches for Nixon in the early 1970’s. Safire felt bad and phoned the guy who wrote the 1935 speech to apologize. The guy said not to worry about it, he had taken the two phrases from a speech delivered in 1892.

    The point was that speech writers constantly borrow from one another and is accepted practice. Plagiarism in academia, or for financial gain, is something entirely different and should not be tolerated.

  12. I don’t think most Ontarians really remember Flaherty, though I do (‘throw the homeless in jail’). Harris has brand, in a way Flaherty, Baird, etc. do not.

  13. The single best predictor of behaviour is past behaviour. Harper is the furthest right wing thinker that we have had as Canadian Prime Minister. He spent his adult professional life criticizing Canada and its social democratic policies. He worked for the Canadian Taxpayers Association, quit the PCs because they were too centrist and was a Reformer and Alliance crusader from day one. Stop spinning lies conservative zealots. I will never buy the repackaging of Stephen Harper by his image makers and the likes of Marjorie LeBreton who are used to validate his phoney step to the centre. Harper drew from politicians who were his inspirations and ideological soulmates – Bush (cut and run talk – the fundamentals of the economy are strong . . .), Howard (Iraq speech 2003) and now this, with Mike the knife Harris. Wake Up for Canada – Vote Dion!!!

  14. It is telling, is it not, that all those whom Harper has copied (Bridget said them all, no need to repeat) are generally viewed as bad governments by those whom they governed.

    While it doesn’t say much for Harper’s judgement, it says even less for the Canadian people if we vote him back in again.

  15. More attention as they day has gone by, however.

  16. People need their fuzzy sweaters.

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