Example of plagiarism by Stephane Dion?

You be the judge.

From an article written by Charles Mandel for Canwest on March 7th, 2008:

In a major forthcoming report on Canada’s changing climate, scientists warn of everything from increased severe storm activity in Atlantic Canada to hotter summers and poorer air quality in urban Ontario. British Columbia may face retreating glaciers and snow loss on its mountains, causing potential water shortages. The Prairie provinces will continue to struggle with drought, impacting agriculture rurally and potentially causing water rationing in urban areas.

On March 14th, 2008, Stephane Dion gave a speech on climate change which included the following paragraph:

In a new report released quietly last week by the federal Department of Natural Resources, 145 leading Canadian scientists warned that Canada’s changing climate will lead to everything from increased severe storms in Atlantic Canada to drought in the Prairies. British Columbia may face retreating glaciers and snow loss on its mountains, causing potential water shortages. There will be hotter summers and poorer air quality in urban Ontario. And the Prairies will continue to struggle with drought, affecting agriculture and potentially causing water rationing in urban areas.

Is all of this plagiarism stuff just getting silly or is turnabout fair play? Nonetheless, don’t expect to see this on the national news anytime soon. Some point out that both Dion and Canwest cite the same report. But it is fact that Dion uses the same words to describe the report that Canwest used and this suggests that Dion or his speechwriter cribbed from that news agency. The words that Dion uses in his speech are those of Charles Mandel, but we see no mention of the journalist’s name in Dion’s text.

Also, much like common rhetoric between Harper and Harris, there are likely examples of common rhetoric between Dion and Al Gore or David Suzuki (the climate crisis represents the greatest threat to humanity etc.) but this won’t get too much pick up because common mind and collective thoughts are benevolent on left-wing issues and conspiratorial on the right.



  • Concerned Canadian

    Stephen, great find. Let's get this information into the main stream media to bump the Liberals with. Great Work!

  • Dave

    Call the Canadian Press….since it's not Harper, they probably won't be interested.

  • Magnafan

    Excellent work.

    Now, let's see it on the front page of The Red Star and a lead story on CBC.

  • Alberta Girl

    Please email this to Bob Rae ASAP!

  • Jim

    At least it wasn't word for word like Harpers speeches.

  • Bubba Brown

    People who live in glass houses…..
    Cheers Bubba

  • Alberta Girl

    Ah but Jimmy – plagerism is plagerism right, isn't that what you and your ilk have been touting all over the internet and headlining the news including making ads about. Come on Jimmy – all's fair in politics, huh.

  • Leasa

    Didn't Dion also 'borrow' his environment policy from Suzuki??

  • Leasa

    Read it again, it was 'word for word' Dion just moved the sentences around.

  • http://www.bloggingtories.ca ferrethouse

    Don't know about this Stephen. Both passages cite the same source. I think the whole plagiarism thing is stupid and the fact that the media is giving endless attention to it is farcical but I don't see the problem with the above example

  • Terry

    You're getting really desperate aren't you. Niks polls are scaring the hell out of you. get used to being in second place as Harper has just about destroyed the revived Tory party. I predict your guys will win around 85 seats

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    Let's put some money on that Terry. I predict more than 85. What odds are you giving me?

  • http://www.bloggingtories.ca ferrethouse

    I want in on this too. Terry's declaring victory before the war is over (kind of like Bush). Still trailing by 4 Terry don't get too excited.

  • Mr Lahey

    I'll take some of that action, too, Terry…85 seats,…..

    I'll bet Gagliano's pension on it, they get more…..

  • JC

    Looks like they both took wording and ideas out of a report they both reference outright. Not that big of a deal to anyone not looking to force a plaigerism angle to counter one launched on their own guy.

  • Progressive Conservative

    Dion cites his source for the information. I very much doubt that an academic such as himself would steal anything from a news source as suspect as Canwest. I think it's more likely that they both commented on the same article. Dion is a brilliant man, he certainly does not need to take his speech points from an unprofessional Conservative agency. (Izzy must be spinning is his grave)

    On the other hand, there is no doubt that Harper copied the australian PM's speech. According to the G&M, “He alone (or with an adviser or two) will draft key statements” so I think most people believe that the aide who took the heat for Harper's plagiarism was just a fall guy. Harper's definitely the guilty one. Dion just seems much more trustworthy and honest.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    The report isn't the source under dispute here. Dion seems to use the same wording to summarize the report as was used by Canwest.

    Dion appears to have copied from Canwest, not from the report. The report is not important here.

  • Anthony Di Domizio


    clearly you dont know what plagiarism is

    Dion references the report in the speech. Both are quoting facts from the same report.

    Surely you can do better than this Stephen…

  • RagingRanter

    Yahbutt, but, but, Harper's “John Howard” speech just proves he takes his marching orders from Bush. Doesn't it? Well, doesn't it? Because Harper = Bush = Fascism = Big Oil = 9/11 was in inside job.

  • paulsstuff

    Stephen, this part from Dion is taken from an Encana report to shareholders. Easy to find with a google search.

    “As just one example, Encana launched an Energy Efficiency initiative in 2007, funding more than $8 million in energy efficiency projects across the company’s operations. Due to the overwhelming response to this effort, the 2008 budget for this program has increased to $50 million. From changing the electricity sources for their drilling rigs, to changing the light bulbs in their field camps, Encana is saving money, reducing emissions, and making their employees prouder to work there.”

  • RagingRanter

    Progressive Conservative, it's hard to tell if you're being sarcastic or not. I hope you are. Cuz the alternative, that you are seriously typing that with a straight face… is rather disturbing. So I'm gonna go ahead and believe you are simply satirizing a Liberal supporter.

  • Progressive Conservative

    Well, I'm not a Liberal supporter, I'm a progressive conservative as my monikor may or may not indicate. Unfortunately my party seems to have vanished, and the closest party to my values is the Liberals. (Progressive socially, economically prudent)

    But, I find Mr. Dion to be much more open and honest than Mr. Harper. Simply the fact that all Harper events are closed door with no opportunity for public input, as opposed to Dion's town hall events which encourage the public to speak their mind.

    I would prefer an open accountable government over a secretive Harper one.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca stephentaylor

    That is the report. The website that contains it was last updated on March 7th, 2008 and the report is a year summary of 2007 for climate change. The Canwest article cites Norm Catto as one of the main authors.


  • Gabby in QC

    For those who maintain that Mr. Harper's speech was a “word for word” copy of PM Howard's, you should have a look at the two speeches side by side, not just the video prepared by the Liberals. As I posted yesterday on another blog:
    “Word for word”?
    Not quite. Go here and compare: http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/080930_harper_ho

    You will notice in this side-by-side comparison that there are several passages in Stephen Harper’s speech that are not found in Howard’s. Were they added by him? By his speech writers? I don’t know.

    I decided to copy the speeches in their entirety, Howard’s onto one word processing document, Harper’s onto another. Howard’s fits into 1 and 1/2 pages, Harper’s into 3 and 1/4 pages.

    Needless to say, that’s using the same exact format in both cases. Unfortunately my word-processing application does not appear to have a word counter.

    I am not pleading FOR plagiarism, borrowing texts or other. What I am disputing is using the phrase “word for word” in the instance of Mr. Harper's speech. It is clearly not the case.

    Furthermore, in addition to embarrassing Mr. Harper, the Liberals and the Bloc in particular are using the borrowed speech to prove that had Mr. Harper been PM at the time, Canada would be in Iraq. Bob Rae said that the speech proves Canada has lost its voice on the world stage.

    This too I have said before, so forgive the repetition:
    1. Mr. Chretien was willing to participate in the Iraq War if the United Nations sanctioned it. Thus Canada's voice would have been subordinate to the UN's.
    2. Since we're working on futile hypotheses … If Trudeau had been PM during WWII, Canada would not have participated in the defeat of the Nazis, since he opposed conscription and supported the pro-Nazi Vichy regime of Marshall Pétain in occupied France.
    3. If PM Mackenzie King had been more courageous, and his Immigration Minister Frederick Blair less prejudiced, a larger number of Jews would have found refuge in Canada pre-war and during the war.
    4. If the Liberals had been serious about Kyoto, they would have devised a plan to implement it, since they were in a majority position.
    5. “If cows had wings, we’d all run for cover.” I thought I'd just throw that in.
    6. Getting back to more contemporary times … if the Liberals had dug around a bit more they would have found a letter written by Mr. Harper in 2005 to The Washington Times, where he revised his position on Iraq. Mr. Harper wrote:
    “On Iraq, while I support the removal of Saddam Hussein and applaud the efforts to establish democracy and freedom in Iraq, I would not commit Canadian troops to that country. I must admit great disappointment at the failure to substantiate pre-war intelligence information regarding Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.”
    See? If Mr. Harper had known then (2003) what he knew later (2005) his position would have been different, OK?

  • JC

    Isn’t it possible that they both stole the wording out of the report…which they both referenced?

  • Progressive Conservative

    I respectfully disagree, to me it looks like they both probably took information directly from the source. It is not unusual, when citing a source, to directly quote from it. However, because the article in question is a speech we don’t see the quotation marks around it. I would be interested in seeing the original report and comparing its summary to Dion and Canwest’s version.

    “And the Prairies will continue to struggle with drought, affecting agriculture and potentially causing water rationing in urban areas.” This is the only line that is the same in both. The rest is not evidently plagiarised.

    If you can compare the speech to the original speech, (I haven’t the time, nor the interest), it would be an interesting continuation of this story.

    However, all in all, this is an eyebrow raising find, well blogged.

  • OC

    If this is the report – http://www.adaptation.rncan.gc.ca/assess/2007/pdf/full-complet_e.pdf , then the phrases “hotter summers and poorer air quality in urban Ontario”, ‘may face retreating glaciers and snow loss on its mountains” , “will continue to struggle with drought” and “potentially causing water rationing in urban areas” do not occur anywhere in the text. They are particularly worded summaries lifted directly from the news article.

    If it isn’t the right report, I apologize for wasting your time, although you might try the same analysis on the right article if I got it wrong.

  • southernontarioan


  • Orville

    Remember when CTV carried this story and gave it prominence, where Bob Rae on Tuesday Sept.30, had this to say about plagiarism – Canadians want to know if Bob Rae still feels that way and whether he is embarassed (Bob Rae embarassed??) and betrayed by Stephane Dion. Canadians may learn volumes about the integrity of Bob Rae.
    “This is a disgraceful performance by the leader of a political party there for all the world to see, and all the world is going to see it. They need to see it because they need to know what we're dealing with here,” Rae told CTV Newsnet.

  • http://www.bluelikeyou.com/ Joanne TB

    Good work, Gabby – especially on the last point.

    I think this whole plagiarism thing needs to be clarified as to what are the acceptable ground rules in political speeches.

    And who is to blame if plagiarism does occur? The person who gave the speech or the one who wrote it?

  • David Granton

    Doesn't this just go to how lazy many people are? Everyone seems to just regurgitate what they are feed with out digesting it and making it their own.

  • Disco Stu

    ahahahahahahah you guys must be desperate. Is this the best you can come up with?

    Just wait kids, there is much more Harper Plagarism to come.

  • http://streetadvisorconsulting.blogspot.com markalanwhittle

    Looks to me like a cut and paste with a little re-working that gives it that whiff of plagiarism. Most honourable speech writers when caught would resign as we've seen. Better than having pot shots thrown at you by the media. But these are desperate times for the Liberals and their war rooms. When words don't come to mind the boiler plate mentality takes over. Like somehow\\\ environmental boiler plate is somehow better than law and order boiler plate. Even Warren Kinsella likes that ball hockey video clip. That's ironic.

  • Ronald

    All Party’s are using whatever it takes to get elected by using the lowest of tactics. Even so, what the Hey, if it gets results and one upmanship, what does it matter? Liberals are having trouble with signs in Ont., Cons are having trouble with signs in PEI with video included, and the MSN keeps rolling it out to serve their agenda. What the population needs to home in on, is the facts and ask themselves did this government produce results during its tenure as a minority? Obvious answer is – “YES”. Mr. Dion sat on his thumbs and 43 bills passed parliament, now he wants to criticize Harper for his logical approach?
    You had your chance Mr. Dion along with the rest of the junkyard dogs – and you missed it, so eat your kibbles and go to lay in a corner and do what dog’s do.

  • http://www.nikonthenumbers.com/topics/show/75/9081#comment_9876 Taylor Cutforth

    It's like I've been saying…

    The “Liberals” and leftist groups are fear mongering over “climate change” no differently then others had done with some aspects of terrorism.

    Meanwhile they fail to properly address either cause in a responsibly moderate way.

    Which the Liberals are entirely incapable of.

    People go on and on about how “neo-conservative” we are, without any real substantial understanding of that that means. Dion's Wife is far more “neo-conservative” in regards to terrorism in comparison the Conservative party.

    but of course THATS suddenly okay cuz shes a Liberal?!?

    people got to wake up and realize the “Liberals” aren't who they profess to be and probably never have been.
    All a person has to do is look at the lengths they are willing to stoop to just to get back in power…

    It's both disgusting and tragically pathetic that people are willing to follow them so blindly even to the point of resorting to a complete disregard of the facts. No matter how credible or truly neutrally independent…

  • Liz J

    The media won’t be interested in checking this one out or even mentioning it. They’re all on the bandwagon to insure Harper does not get anything close to majority. One would think the media people were not residents of this country by their irresponsible behaviour.

    Right now the National Post is running excerpts of the just released book by the scorned woman ,Julie Couillard.
    Looks like they’ve gone tabloid to sell papers. No matter how it’s sliced, it’s a he said, she said tale and the interest lies in the realm of dirty politics. They could at least hold off until the election is over but they choose crass meddling.
    My subscription to both the Ottawa Citizen and the Post is canceled. We should not subscribe to printed rags practicing Banana Republic journalism in attempts to take down government by skewing the facts, printing one side of stories to manipulate opinion. We deserve better than that, we must demand better.

  • David C

    Nice find! Made news on CJAD 800 here in Montreal pointing us to this website!

  • Alberta Girl

    So Disco – plagerism and the arts have become your defining issue in this election – just shows that Stephen Harper must have done a pretty good job of getting all your other “needs” met, huh.

    I assume you agree??

  • Liberal4ever

    Quoting a few sentences from the same report is NOT the same as reading, word for word, the same speech enciting Australians and Canadians to GO TO WAR !!!

    The speech was probably written by the Bush adinistration and then distributed to its puppet supporters around the globe!!!

  • Liberal4ever

    “The media won't be interested in checking this one out or even mentioning it. They're all on the bandwagon to insure Harper does not get anything close to majority. One would think the media people were not residents of this country by their irresponsible behaviour.”

    Au contraire… they are very much residents of this country and have recognized the Harper and his neocons (yes, I read up on Leo Strauss so I know the ideology and the “noble lies” idea) can not be allowed to attain a majority government due to the damage they have done so far as a minority government and the worse things to come if they get a majority.

    Also, what you call meddling I call providing factual information to the voting public.

    Voilà, my work here is done !!

  • eastern capitalist

    Umm, he would have to say: “The report stated…..” for a correct reference. Anyone that has a grade 12 (sorry, grade 13 for some of you) education should know that. The section cited by Stephen makes it appear that the report’s summary is in fact Stephan’s summary.

    Of course the whole issue is rather foolish, people in politics borrow words, phrases, key message, spin, etc…. all the time.

    What is important, in my opinion, is the substance of the statements and does the person saying the words really believe them.

  • Jean

    What about the phrase With Harper, you,re on your own, used by the Libs in a TV ad, which is liftefd from an Obama speech of a few weeks ago With Bush, you're on your own.

  • john g

    Excellent catch Stephen. It's obvious this kind of stuff happens every day and I'm glad somebody finally found a good, recent Liberal example to prove it. Watch the media bury this example and prove the double standard.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    Well, let's get this straight. Silly as those things are, Dion called for Harper to be fired from his party. I guess it's time to turn the tables and demand that the Liberal Party fire Dion.

    The only difference: the Conservatives don't want to get rid of Harper, but the Liberals are itching to ditch their “leader”.

    So, you can imagine which call for firing has a greater chance of actually being followed up on ….

  • Bill

    Speaking of Liberals and glass houses, wasn't the name of the cornerstone of the Liberal platform taken without permission….the Green Shift, and didn't legal action follow for infringement of copyright? Hypocrites.

  • Larry, God of Thunder

    I've darn near had it with this country.

    I was watching CPAC a few nights ago, and a viewer from Ontario called in and spewed something about “Why won't Harper release his platform? What is he hiding? Why doesn't he have daily press conferences to announce his platform like Dion and Layton?”

    Peter van Dusen put her in her place and let her know in no uncertain terms that CPAC coveres Harpers daily press conferences, and that the CPC strategist sitting next to him had clearly stated that the CPC had released most of their platform already and all that remained was to put a staple on all the daily announcements and hand it over. Good on Peter, he wouldn't let her spew her drivel.

    Of course watching any of the other networks, you wouldn't know this. I remember watching a show on CBC. It opened with 5 minutes of coverage of Dion's daily announcement and didn't mention any of his gaffes or problems of the day. Then there was about 5 minutes of coverage of CPC gaffes. the last 10 seconds of the piece mentioned the CPC's announcemnt for the day, with zero analysis or comment.

    I guess that is the CBC's idea of balanced reporting. Praise the Liberals for half the time and slag the CPC the other half of the time.

    Guess I'll block CBC off my dial again. I'm thinking of doing that with all of the major networks. They sicken me.

  • Pat G

    Your accusation is a little ridiculous because , at the beginning of the piece you critique, attribution is given to
    a report from the federal Department of Natural Resources. Therefore, this does not constitute plagiarism.

    Why don't you do something constructive — like telling the truth about the child care tax benefit being increased by the Liberals instead of perpetrating the lie of your leader that it would be cut. Or, you could tell people that your leader has again misrepresented the truth when he said the Liberals would raise the GST. They don't think it was the best way of giving money back to the families who could have used income tax cuts instead to pay for necessities like rent or food, but they never said they would raise it.

  • New to this blog

    Interesting discussion. I agree with the common majority that this plagiarism thing is taking to much attention from real discussion about the issues, but that's the media for you. However i'm really dissappointed Harper copied Howard. If he knew or didn't, is not the point. It was a major parliamentary speech from Howard, as was Harper's two days later.

    You can't compare this except above from Dion to Harper's speech. (I hope not considering Harpers speech was given as Opposition leader and while Canadian Democracy is Happening in the house of commons).

    Also speeches about the scientific effects or climate change aren't valid examples of plagiarism anyways. Anyone can list global environment affects in any order and be accused of plagiarism.

    Ice caps melting, more hurricanes, water levels rising, world ending…etc.

    Type that into google and i'm sure you can find someone who wrote down the same thing. So accuse me of plagiarism now…

    What Harper did was cannot be compared to this.. Harper is trying to get canada to go to war, and was to lazy to even write a speech about how he felt and why we should go….. that's sad…. leader my ass

  • New to this blog

    what are you talking about. you just sound dumb. give some points or reasons….

  • New to this blog

    great point!!!