As we all now know, Stephen Harper read a speech in the House of Commons in 2003 giving his hawkish position on Canada's active participation in the Iraq war. And, as we all now know, Harper's speech was, in part, a copy of a speech given by Australia's then right-wing, George Bush-disciple Prime Minister, John Howard. And, as we further know, the blame was laid on... err... the responsibility was assumed by one "Owen Lippert, a campaign worker at Tory party headquarters," who, as it turns out is "an experienced foreign policy researcher with a PhD and expertise in intellectual property."
Which brings us to today's word: Defies Credulity.
It defies credulity that a person who has earned a PhD would indulge in plagiarism to this extent.
It defies credulity that a person with expertise in intellectual property would copy such a public speech verbatim.
It defies credulity that a man - Mr. Harper - "whose meticulous attention to and re-writing of his speeches is a point of pride for him" would have such a speech just handed to him to read without any verification, especially when he would likely have been quite in tune with what Mr. Howard had said on the issue only a few days prior.
So what is actually going on?
Here's one possible scenario: Mr. Harper, like Mr. Howard, were given prepared texts that originated in the White House to sell the invasion of Iraq, and what we now know to have been a disastrous and tragic strategic and tactical military mistake. Mr. Harper, whose affection and admiration for right-wing, George W Bush-style, political, social, and economic agendas is well-known, happily repeated the tripe that was handed to him. Simply put, he wanted George to like him. He wanted - and still wants - to mold Canada into a right-wing, socially conservative, Republican-flavoured country. That's his explicit agenda.
Well, to borrow from US Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, Mr. Harper, you were wrong. And if the question is, who is best equipped to be the next Prime Minister of Canada, to make good decisions, not only about our military, but about our economy, the environment, and social policy, I think we can take a look at Mr. Harper's judgement, not only in strongly supporting the propaganda about the Iraq war, but in strongly supporting what we know to be failed U.S. economic, environmental, and social policies.
Consider what has happened in other countries. In countries in the world where they have experienced such right-wing governments (except perhaps in Italy, where Berlusconi enjoys his own, unique, populist hold over the electorate), the voters have overwhelmingly thrown them out. Tremendously unpopular after the electorate experienced the damage caused by such ideologues. Look at Australia. Look at the ruin in which GWB has left the United States. Tony Blair's United Kingdom has become Orwell's vision of 1984. And let's not forget our domestic experience with the Mike Harris Tories here in Ontario!
And to think that so many Canadians seem to favour Stephen Harper to trust him with a possible majority, so that he can ride roughshod over Canadian values, the Canadian environment, the Canadian economy, let alone those who are marginalized in out society?
And that's The Word!
(With an obvious "Tip of the Hat" to that other Stephen - the insightful one - Stephen Colbert.)
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