Tory spokesman Yaroslav Baran, this morning: “We’re not going to get drawn into which staffer wrote which speech five years ago. This is nothing but desperation from the Liberal campaign, and it’s completely irrelevant to the real concerns of voters in this election.”
Statement by Owen Lippert, this afternoon:
In 2003, I worked in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. I was tasked with—and wrote—a speech for the then Leader of the Opposition. Pressed for time, I was overzealous in copying segments of another world leader’s speech. Neither my superiors in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition nor the Leader of the Opposition was aware that I had done so.
I apologize to all involved and have resigned my position from the Conservative campaign.
Had this come down the pipe a few minutes later, you would all now be reading my demand for the scalp of just such a sacrificial staffer, or some other semi-plausible explanation for this trans-hemispheric convergence of political oratory. It’s not that I would have believed the explanation, or that I necessarily buy The Lippert Scenario, but rather that the original contention—that this is irrelevant—was just so bloody insulting. It is most definitely relevant if Stephen Harper knowingly aped or spoke from the same third-party talking points as the Australian PM in an effort to involve Canada in what would prove to be a disastrously ill-conceived military operation. The least the Tory war room could do was try to convince us he didn’t. And now they have. Golf clap.