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Canada's opposition party says PM plagiarized

 Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper walks his daughter Rachel to school, in Ottawa, Tuesday Sept. 30, 2008. The Canadian prime minister was  acc...


Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper walks his daughter Rachel to school, in Ottawa, Tuesday Sept. 30, 2008. The Canadian prime minister was acc...

A Conservative campaign aide resigned Tuesday after Canada's main opposition party accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of plagiarizing a speech urging the country to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The Liberals released transcripts and video of speeches delivered by Australia's then-Prime Minister John Howard on March 18, 2003, and one by Harper two days later in the Canadian Parliament when Harper was the opposition leader.
Liberal foreign affairs spokesman Bob Rae said nearly half of Harper's speech was a word-for-word recitation of Howard's. Both Harper and Howard are conservatives.
Owen Lippert resigned Tuesday afternoon, saying he worked in Harper's office in 2003 and was responsible for the speech.
"Pressed for time, I was overzealous in copying segments of another world leader's speech," Lippert said in a statement.
He said no one in Harper's office, including Harper, had any idea that he had copied from Howard's speech.
Canada's Liberal government at the time of the speech turned down Washington's request to send troops. Australia sent troops early on.
Harper triggered an early election earlier this month in a bid to bolster his party's grip on power in an Oct. 14 vote.
"How does a political leader in Canada's Parliament, on such a crucial issue, end up giving the exact same speech as another country's leader?," Rae asked in prepared remarks for a Tuesday speech in Toronto.
"Mr. Harper couldn't find his own voice, so he borrowed someone else's. This isn't just deeply embarrassing for Mr. Harper _ he would have been expelled from ... a university for pulling this stunt (it's called plagiarism) _ but it speaks to the heart of what is deeply wrong with the Republican Conservative government of which he is the leader."
Rae said it is further evidence "of how Canada's foreign policy is now in lockstep with the right-wing foreign policy of the Bush administration" in the United States.
Harper's Conservative party unseated the Liberals in 2006 after nearly 13 years in power. Harper's Conservative party has studied the prolonged political success pf Howard's conservative government in Australia.
Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke said earlier Tuesday the speech is five years old and the party will not discuss issues irrelevant to Canadians.
"It was five years ago. It was three Parliaments ago, two elections ago when he was leader of a party that no longer exists," Teneycke said of Harper, who at the time was leader of the right-of-center Canadian Alliance party. The party later merged with the Conservative party.
Teneycke called it a desperate move ahead of the national leaders' debates on Wednesday and Thursday night. Recent polls show the Conservatives could win the majority of seats in Parliament. As a minority government they have been forced to rely on the opposition to pass budgets and legislation.
Liberal opposition party leader Stephane Dion said Harper's speech matters.
"Canadians want their country to speak with its own voice on the world stage. It's true for the prime minister. It's true for the opposition leader," Dion said.
"Stephen Harper plagiarized the 'coalition of the willing' of George W. Bush about the war in Iraq. Stephen Harper should be expelled."

Updated : 2022-01-28 08:57 GMT+08:00