Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Is There More to the Conservative's Speech Plagaierism Than Meets the Eye?

I have been thinking about the plagairism mea culpa of Mr. Lippert’s resignation from the Harper Campaign War Room over the cribbing of the John Howard speech. That speech was Harper parroting Howard’s promoting support for George Bush’s blundering into war with Iraq.

Some simple research and my lawyer’s mind tell me some things don’t seem to add up around this event. Owen Lippert was Harper's speech writer. He is not unsophisticated about issues and consequences of plagairism.

He claims it was all him and Harper and the senior advisers, who vet this stuff, did not know anything about his lifts from the Howard speech.

I think it is entirely possible that Mr. Lippert is taking a bullet for Mr. Harper's election campaign. There may be more to the story. Look at Lippert's background:

Former Fraser Institute Director who has published articles on intellectual property rights. In 1999, he wrote a book called, Competitive Strategies for the Protection of Intellectual Property. In 2000, he edited and contributed to another book called, Competitive Strategies for Intellectual Property Protection.

He has written articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Post, Globe and Mail.

He was a former member of the Globe and Mail’s editorial board.

He also holds a PhD in European History from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana and a B.A. from Carleton College, Minnesota.

He is currently employed as Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian International Development Agency.

Does this sound like the kind of guy who would knowingly mislead and steal someone else’s creative work and intellectual property as a matter of convenience? Does this level of experience and background sound like a guy who would be so na├»ve as to think a cribbed speech delivered in the House of Commons by a Leader of the Opposition that is being video taped and will appear in Hansard would not get noticed?

The official word from the Harper War Room now is they neither confirm nor deny the plagairism. The quote of the official position is “…the employee has released a statement. I think the statement stand for itself.” That is legalese for “no comment” and the hope is the story will go away.

This is a character issue that goes beyond Mr. Lippert. In fact Mr. Lippert’s only character question here may be his decision to take a political bullet to protect others and not his plagairism. If that is the case. Will we ever know? Perhaps! Strange things happen in politics and the truth is usually exposed.

It also took the Harper War Room seven ling hours to come up with a response to the plagairism allegations. Does this all add up for you? Sure doesn’t for me. Still feel OK about trusting Harper and the Conservatives to be your government?