Harper denies latest allegations of speech plagiarism
Stephen Harper has dismissed a second round of allegations that he plagiarized parts of an old speech — this one delivered by a former premier.
The Liberals on Friday accused the federal Conservative leader of stealing ideas from a speech given more than five years ago by former Ontario premier Mike Harris.
The allegations came the same week a Harper staffer resigned for copying sections of a 2003 speech delivered by former Australian prime minister John Howard.
"I think, in the other case, it was clear that large portions of [Howard's] speech had been used and not attributed. That, obviously, is not acceptable and I'm very disappointed that that occurred," Harper said Saturday in Yarmouth, N.S.
"In this case, we're talking about a couple of sentences of fairly standard political rhetoric," the federal Conservative leader added.
Ottawa-South candidate David McGuinty said Friday that similarities had been found between a 2002 speech by the former Progressive Conservative leader and a 2003 address by Harper in the House of Commons.
The Liberals cite Harris's Dec. 4, 2002 speaking notes as posted on the Montreal Economic Institute website:
"Thinking about things from a new and different perspective is never easy. It takes courage, conviction and the strength to know that in taking a new and innovative course, you are making change for the better.
"Genuine leaders are the ones who do the right thing."
Then, they quote a Feb. 19, 2003, address Harper made in the Commons while Opposition leader in response to the Liberal budget:
"Thinking about things from a new and different perspective is not about reading the polls and having focus group tests. It is never easy because it takes courage, conviction and the strength to know that taking a new and innovative course is going to make change for the better. Genuine leaders are the ones who do the right thing."
On Tuesday, Liberal candidate Bob Rae played side-by-side videos of speeches given two days apart in 2003 by Howard and Harper during his time as Opposition leader, accusing Harper of stealing from the Australian leader of the day.
While the Conservatives initially downplayed the importance of the clips, party staff member Owen Lippert later admitted to being "overzealous" in copying sections of the speech and resigned from the Tory campaign.
With files from the Canadian Press