It's Wednesday, October 1st.
Yesterday, the Liberals accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of plagiarizing a pro-Iraq War speech by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard five years ago.
Currently, Harper said he's "come to bury Dion, not to praise him", but did admit that yesterday was "a day that will live on in infamy".
This is the Current.
Rhetoric and Lying in Politics
A little political duet, courtesy of Stephen Harper and then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Mr. Howard was speaking on March 18th, 2003. Stephen Harper two days later. The uncanny similarities between their speeches surfaced yesterday, as Liberal Leader Stephan Dion accused Prime Minister Harper of plagiarizing an important policy speech. That accusation has put the issue of trust high on the agenda as we head into two consecutive nationally televised leaders' debates events that are often concentrated displays of obfuscation and selective truth-telling to begin with.
Most people accept that a certain amount of partisan spin is an inevitable part of the political game. But walking the line between effective sophistry and outright lies can be treacherous business. So we asked our friends at CBC Radio's Content Factory to come up with some advice for the party leaders as they prepare for the debates.
The Virtues of Mendacity
Now so far, we've been assuming that our politics would be better if our politicians just stuck to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But Martin Jay isn't so sure about that. He teaches history at the University of California, Berkeley. He's also the author of a research paper called, The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics.
In it, he writes: "This is not a brief for cynicism or immorality, just a recognition that politics will never be a fib-free zone of authenticity, integrity, transparency and righteousness, and ultimately that's a good thing."
Martin Jay was in Berkeley, California.
A Clip from Colbert
If the term mendacity doesn't roll of your tongue, how about truthiness? We can credit Stephen Colbert for coming up with the word. He defines it -- satirically we think -- as a truth you can feel instinctively in your gut, something that trumps hard evidence or fact.
The ever-spiralling American credit crisis has taken down some big game. It's shuttered the doors of some of the world's biggest and most storied investment banks sown panic across three continents and wiped tens-of-billions of dollars off global stock exchanges.
But it has also taken aim at some of the world's poorest people. Last week, the leaders of some of the world's most powerful countries gathered at the United Nations. They were supposed to be talking about how to reduce poverty around the world -- what the U.N. calls its Millennium Goals. Instead, they were focussed on the global financial crisis. In fact, Bernard Kouchner -- the French Foreign Minister -- went so far as to say the crisis made any serious talk of reducing poverty unrealistic.
But Jeffrey Sachs says that's faulty -- even dangerous -- logic. He's the former Director of the United Nations Millennium Project. He's also one of the world's leading economic policy advisors and a Special Advisor to the U.N. Secretary General. Jeffrey Sachs joined us from New York City.
Artist: Chris Velan
Cut: CD2 Long Way from Home
CD: Twitter, Buzz, Howl
Label: Maple Music
Spine #: MM1101
The Super Committed
This morning, we're continuing our series called "The Super Committed" - people with politics in their blood.
Four years ago, Stephen Taylor was a biochemistry student at Kingston's Queens University when he decided to make a run for the Conservative Party's nomination. In support of that bid, he started a blog. Although he didn't win the nomination, Stephen kept on blogging. Today, he's a fellow with the Manning Centre for Democracy. But he's on leave from that job during the election, preferring instead to commit full-time to blogging on the hustings.
He's a leading voice in the blogosphere's conservative wing. And he often finds himself caught between the pressures of partisan punditry and the rigors of mainstream journalism.
The Current's Dominic Girard spent a day with Stephen Taylor last week and brought back this documentary profile. It's called, Writing For The Right.
Candian Association of Petroleum Producers
The Alberta tar sands are churning out jobs, high wages and profits like nothing else in Canada. They're also spewing greenhouse gas emissions and toxic tailings like nothing else in Canada. So in an election campaign that's seen the environment and the economy become entwined as never before, it all comes back to the sticky, black goo that oozes so lucratively from the soil beneath Alberta's boreal forest and the environmental scars left behind as it fuels our cars and our economy.
David Collyer is now the point man for the companies working in the Tar Sands. He's the former President of Shell Canada and the new President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. David Collyer was in Calgary.
We began the show talking about how to tell the difference between good political spin and straight-out lies. Of course, there's a more colloquial phrase that's often used to bring soaring political rhetoric back down to earth. I'm not going to repeat it hear, but I'll give you fair warning that Andrew Sneddon will. So please avert your ears for a minute if you're offended by harsh language. Andrew Sneddon teaches philosophy at the University of Ottawa and we'll leave you with his thoughts on the difference between manure, spin and lies.