Well-known Regina Leader-Post columnist Bob Hughes has quit, after admitting he plagiarized in a recent column.
In his Tuesday column, Hughes said his Friday column used material from a 2006 column by the Globe and Mail's Roy MacGregor and he, Hughes, had been called about it by the Leader-Post's editor-in-chief.
"Any columnist knows that you have to attribute this sort of thing," Hughes wrote in his Tuesday column, which he said would be his last. He had previously retired from a staff job with the paper, but continued to write a freelance column.
The Osoyoos own a vineyard, a golf course, a tourist resort and they are partners in the Baldy Mountain ski development. They have more businesses per capita than any other first nation in the country.
Not only do they have enough jobs to employ everyone in the band, they have created enough jobs that members of 13 other tribal communities work for the Osoyoos. The tiny band contributes $40-million a year to the area.
Excerpt from Sept. 21, 2006 Roy MacGregor column in the Globe and Mail:
The Osoyoos, 432 strong, own, among other things, a vineyard, a winery, a golf course and a tourist resort, and they are partners in the Baldy Mountain ski development. They have more businesses per capita than any first nation in Canada.
There are not only enough jobs for everyone, there are so many jobs being created that there are now members of 13 other tribal communities working for the Osoyoos. The little band contributes $40-million a year to the area economy.
In the Friday column, titled Louie spreading good, but harsh, word, Hughes wrote about Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Band in B.C. Hughes said Tuesday much of the "background" for that piece came from MacGregor's column, which was titled 'Indian Time doesn't cut it' for innovative chief with on-the-edge humour.
Hughes used many of MacGregor's quotes and facts without attribution. He said he was sent the column in an e-mail, and didn't know who wrote it.
"What I did wrong is I got lazy and I didn't check out, try to find out who wrote that article, because I really didn't think that it was totally important," he said in a interview with CBC News.
University of Regina journalism professor Trish Elliot was critical, saying anyone who tried to pass off the work of others as their own would fail Journalism 101.
"It's right there in our course outline," she said. "If a student does what he's done, they're out of the school, basically."
Elliot noted that while the article Hughes copied from was written in 2006, in his version the date is removed and it says "not so long ago," instead.
"That tells me that there was an attempt there not only to not attribute but to make something to seem what it was not," she said.
As a columnist, Hughes has attracted fans but also some detractors. He's developed a reputation as a controversial and polarizing figure.
Three months ago, he apologized in his column after being pulled over on an impaired driving charge.
Over the years, union activists have decried what they call an anti-union slant in some of his columns.
Susan Butson, the shop steward at the Sobeys grocery store on Albert Street, said she won't miss Hughes' column and noted that when store workers were on strike for 450 days, Hughes wrote several columns about it.
"He made a lot of inaccurate comments and abusive comments, actually, towards myself and the other picketers," she said. "We were not impressed with him at all."
Hughes began his career as a copy boy with the newspaper in the early 1960s, and rose through the ranks to become a longtime sports columnist, sports editor and, during the 1990s, publisher and editor-in-chief. For decades, he was one of the paper's best-known writers.
However, earlier this week Hughes said he has lost his passion for writing the column. He's looking for new challenges now and is thinking about writing a book, he said.
The CBC asked managers at the Globe and Mail to comment. In an e-mail, they replied: "The Globe and Mail takes any instance of plagiarism very seriously. We are satisfied with the response of the Regina Leader-Post and its columnist Bob Hughes."