Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A tale of two speeches

Advice to Stephen Harper: Stand behind your Iraq speech.

Everyone should know that speechwriters DO NOT shape foreign policy. They reflect the ideas and ideals of the person to be delivering the speech. For Bob Rae to suggest that Harper can't be trusted with Canada's foreign policy issues because he couldn't express his position on Iraq "in his own words" is insulting -- not to Harper, but to Canadians. He expects we are stupid enough not to understand the role of speechwriters. Plagiarism is wrong -- the message was correct.

Having read the speeches side-by-side , I see that the similarities are in the history leading to the amassing of troops on Iraq's border but in the areas where Harper outlines his vision for Canada, they diverge completely. There is no text in Howard's version where Harper stresses Canadian history and values and their role in determining our attitude towards the war.

There is nothing in Harper's speech that suggests we should send military support -- in fact he says:
The coalition assembled by the United States and the United Kingdom is now ready to act. It is now acting. It will bring this long run conflict to an end once and for all. It will bring to an end the regime of Saddam Hussein and the militarism, brutality and aggression that are the foundations of his rule. (...) We will not be neutral. We will be with our allies and our friends, not militarily, but in spirit we will be with them in America and in Britain for a short and successful conflict and for the liberation of the people of Iraq.
Throughout the text you find no suggestion that Canada send troops -- simply, that we support the rightness of the coalition position -- that Saddam Hussein had failed to comply with UN resolutions and that military intervention was therefore mandated by the UN.

Let's remember too, that those countries opposed to military intervention have been found to have been involved in the Oil-for-food scandal. France, Russia, China -- are we still proud to be on their side?

The war in Iraq has taken far longer than anticipated. It has taken a toll on Americans and Iraqis both financially and militarily -- but the fact remains -- Canada was never going to send troops -- we had no troops. All the Canadian Alliance Party was offering to the US was moral support. It was offering an acknowledgement that their position --- that Saddam had failed to comply with the conditions for ceasefire and still posed a threat to the world, was a valid one. It could be argued that he didn't pose a threat because he had no WMD -- but given his ties to China and Russia and what we now know about their roles in the 'peace' between the two Gulf Wars, it's a good thing those relationships were nipped when they were.

Harper should not back down. Go through the speech. He doesn't offer Canadian soldiers -- he offers Canadian moral support. It could be argued that if Canada had supported the coalition position that war might have been prevented. We see ourselves as the righteous brokers of peace -- had we said YES, the the US and its allies have the right and responsibility to move in and fulfill the obligations under the UN resolution -- then maybe Saddam might have seen it wasn't just the countries who were dirty-dealing with him who were on his side. If a 'moral' nation like Canada had said 'we insist you comply or be invaded.' maybe he would have listened. He knew that Russia, France and China had too much to lose to align themselves with the US. He knew he could count on their support because if they sided with the coalition, it would expose their corruption and duplicity.

We can still debate the Iraq war, whether it was a success etc. But there is still no question -- I'd still rather be aligned with those who fought against Saddam, than those who tried to hide their corruption by supporting Saddam.



Patriot said...

It doesn’t matter if Stephen Harper did this knowingly or not.

At this point he has become an embarrassment, not only at home but just as importantly, on the international scene.

If the speech was plagiarized from Howard and he knew about it then he is an idiot to do it, if he didn’t know then he is a bad judge of character for having someone on his staff who would do that. If, as some suspect, both speeches were based on talking points sent out by the white house (which he can never admit) then he’s nothing more than a puppet.

Just look at how this is playing internationally and tell me honestly that Mr. Harper will have any respect on the world stage after this. This guy is a dead duck on the world stage.

ITN – United Kingdom: Canada’s PM under plagiarism cloud

Irish Times – Ireland: Canadian PM’s speech on Iraq war plagiarized

BBC News: Canada’s PM faces plagiarism charge

TVNZ – New Zealand: Canada PM’s writer found plagiarizing

eTaiwan News – Taiwan: Canada’s opposition party says PM plagiarized

ABC – Australia: Canadian PM accused of stealing Howard speech

Melbourne Herald Sun - Australia: PM ‘plagiarised’ Howard’s speech

Sydney Morning Herald – Australia: Plagiarism: a plague in both your houses

Press TV – Iran: Canada Tories admit copying speech

Xinhua – China: Canadian PM accused of plagiarizing Australian PM’s Iraq speech

United Press International: Tories admit plagiarism; strategist quits

Alberta Girl said...

"At this point he has become an embarrassment, not only at home but just as importantly, on the international scene. "

Riiigghht - nice try "patriot" (by the way - your name belies your comment).

I wonder how those "foreign countries" got the information. It would not have been beamed around the world by our "non-partisan" Canadian press, now would it?

The embarrassment here is the Liberal party of Canada for continually dragging up the past - I mean if we really want to drag up the past, patriot, let's look at the Liberal's past.

Speaking of embarrassment (not to mention outright theft) Maybe you can ask them where that $40,000,000 is?

wilson said...

Yah know what,
PMSH represented half of all Canadians with that speech,
and he does not need to apologize for representing Canadians (and 1/2 the free world).

Canada and the Iraq War:
Two Solitudes Emerge

Equal Numbers Support (48%) and Oppose (48%) the U.S. Led Military Action Against Iraq

However, A Majority (54%)of English Canada Now Support War While Just 29% In Quebec Do
Half (51%) of Canadians Support Offering Help to Coalition --
Six in Ten (58%) in English Canada Support Move Compared to 28% in Quebec
April 6, 2003,+canadian+support+for+iraq+war&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=11&gl=ca

Canadi-anna said...

patriot -- You're joking, right? This is the guy who puts up the second best numbers amongst world leaders internationally in polls --and you think a minor slip from five years ago is going to change that? Gimme a break. It isn't even enough to cost him the election.

'Peg City Kid said...

Plagerism is plagerism, if you did it in any kind of educational institution you would fail.

Personally, I don't care about anything Harper's says, if it's not a completely lie to smear an opponent it's total BS and not to be taken seriously. Harper himself doesn't seem to take anything seriously.

Harper doesn't act on his words. he acts against them (i.e. Income trusts, fixed election date), he uses them to scare people in an attempt to ensure he stays in power.

"Let's remember too, that those countries opposed to military intervention have been found to have been involved in the Oil-for-food scandal. France, Russia, China -- are we still proud to be on their side?"

Come on now, the whole reason for invading Iraq was a farce. Iraq is in worst shape than it has ever been, even after the eight year war.

'Peg City Kid said...

One more comment....

Polls, Polls, Polls.....

The act of Polling, was designed to gather information for a analyst to make an educated guess on how to procede through a situation. It is not a good representaion of people's opinions. Polls do not prove anything, they are used by modern day politics in an attempt to lure voters or change peoples opinions.

Thank you, that is all....

Anonymous said...

Yeah about that hard work MSM:

Borowed from SDA:

"I had posted on an earlier thread that my mother in-law is visiting Italy where she was born and raised.She called home to check up on things and asked my wife if we had heard about the terrorists arrested and deplaned from a KLM flight departing Amsterdam,destined for somewhere in Europe.A friend just told me he heard it on the radio this morning.Is Julie Couillard's book[which made the front page of the post]more newsworthy than this?I still have not heard anything from the media,doesn't fit with their agenda I guess.

Posted by: h.ryan at October 4, 2008 3:58 PM "

Yes Julie, or the 2003 speech, or does the world wide MSM determine what is 'newsworthy'.?
Perhaps some little weaasles on this side were too busy spreading the old speech story,that they let the terrorist story slip by them.
Now why would that be?