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On Transcendent Importance


 

Harper conisdered the question of war and peace of one of transcendent importance. Between October 1, 2002 and May 5, 2003, he spoke in the Commons on the issue of Iraq no less than thirty-seven times, more than on any other subject.

William Johnson, Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, p.322.

And yet, for the one speech that really mattered, we are asked to believe…


 
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On Transcendent Importance

  1. One thing I’ll say about most of the plagiarized papers I’ve caught over years of teaching is that they are usually pretty bad to begin with. It’s not like the act of cheating takes an otherwise A paper and knocks it down to an F.

    I just don’t think the plagiarism dimension of this matters as much as the questionable position he held (which was clearly in line with Bush’s), and his subsequent deviance from his supposedly principled beliefs.

    Even more telling – to me as a voter – is the manner in which the “team” handled the issue yesterday. 1. Mock its importance. 2. Show the Liberals as “no better”. 3. Admit defeat and throw another staffer “on the barbie”.

    Policy aside, the pathological inability of these guys to take responsibility and address criticism is alarming, to say the least.

  2. You raise a good point, Andrew. The fact that he was speaking to a Bloc motion and the speechwriter was only given 48-hours notice aside, it shouldn’t have been a big surprise that a speech such as 20 March 2003 would be on the horizon.

    A little prep work, anyone?

  3. yawn. Has anyone named this Speechgate or anything yet? Because with the amount of media attention devoted to this silliness, you’d think someone would be calling for a independent investigation….

    Oh, by the way, do the Conservatives have a platform yet? Are the Greens any different than the Liberals? Have the NDP proposals been properly costed? Oh wait, that’s right, we’re only paying attention to this stupid BS!

  4. Important thing about Lippert is that he is not a foreign policy guy. It’s entirely possible that he and Howard’s speechwriter were working off of a template prepared by the White House Security Council staff under Condi Rice.

    I’ll bet that there is a speech of Tony Blair with paras identical to Harper/Howard.

  5. Here is my take on this entire issue:

    One thing I’ll say about most of the plagiarized papers I’ve caught over years of teaching is that they are usually pretty bad to begin with. It’s not like the act of cheating takes an otherwise A paper and knocks it down to an F.

    I just don’t think the plagiarism dimension of this matters as much as the questionable position he held (which was clearly in line with Bush’s), and his subsequent deviance from his supposedly principled beliefs.

    Even more telling – to me as a voter – is the manner in which the “team” handled the issue yesterday. 1. Mock its importance. 2. Show the Liberals as “no better”. 3. Admit defeat and throw another staffer “on the barbie”.

    Policy aside, the pathological inability of these guys to take responsibility and address criticism is alarming, to say the least.

    And I swear that my highly paid blog commentor wrote this even if this looks like the previous comment from Sean S.

    It doesn’t matter anyway because I plan to respond to anyone who challenges my position at least an hour from now so why focus on the past.

  6. My hunch is that the template for these speeches came from the White House, in those desperate days as it struggled to put together the Coalition of the Willing. I recall that the Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, made a remarkably similar speech in the Spanish parliament in the days just before the attack. It would be worth comparing the text with Howard/Harper. And is it likely that Harper would just have taken a ready-made text from a speechwriter without knowing something about its provenance? Not.

  7. Emmett wrote: “Oh wait, that’s right, we’re only paying attention to this stupid BS!”

    Actually, I agree with you. Which is why I spent most of my evening last Sunday reading a serious policy paper on Senate reform (supposedly one of Harper’s pet issues), and posting an extended blog entry on it. It drew about a dozen comments – I must have missed your contribution to the discussion.

  8. Haha. I did read it, as I read most Macleans’s blog posts (but only occasionally comment). And I didn’t intend to single you out as a culprit in the media’s obsession with largely-irrelevant controversies Andrew. Just venting!

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