Oct 2, 2008

World - Canada opposition party accuses PM of Plagarism

A senior campaign staffer for the governing Conservative Party resigned on Tuesday after admitting he wrote a speech for Prime Minister Stephen Harper that plagiarised another leader's address urging support for the US-led war in Iraq.

The Opposition Liberals released transcripts of speeches delivered by then-Australian PM John Howard on March 18, 2003, and one by Harper two days later in Canadia’s Parliament when Harper was Opposition leader.

Liberal foreign affairs spokesman Bob Rae said nearly half of Harper’s speech was a word-for-word recitation of Howard’s. “How does a political leader in Canada’s Parliament —on such a crucial issue — end up giving the same speech as another country’s leader?”

Canada’s Liberal government at the time turned down Washington’s request to send forces to Iraq, while Australia sent troops.

Conservative campaign worker Owen Lippert resigned later taking responsibility for the speech. He said he worked in Harper’s office in 2003 and wrote the speech.

Rae said lines from Howard’s speech were also duplicated in a Wall Street Journal guest editorial under Harper’s byline. Rae said duplicated lines also appeared under Harper’s byline in the Toronto Star, National Post and Ottawa Citizen.

Liberal party leader Stephane Dion said, “Canadians want their country to speak with its own voice on the world stage... Stephen Harper should be expelled.”

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