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Fraser Institute alum wrote Harper's plagiarized speech on Iraq

Owen Lippert, a former Senior Fellow at The Fraser Institute in Vancouver, resigned from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaign this afternoon, after admitting he plagiarized a speech by former Australian PM John Howard when he wrote a 2003 speech in which Harper argued for sending Canadian troops to Iraq.

"In 2003, I worked in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition," Lippert said in a statement released by the Tories. "I was tasked with – and wrote – a speech for the then Leader of the Opposition. Pressed for time, I was overzealous in copying segments of another world leader’s speech. Neither my superiors in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition nor the Leader of the Opposition was aware that I had done so."

Lippert, who is a former Senior Fellow and former Director of the Law and Markets Project at The Fraser Institute, also wrote speeches for former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm and former justice minister Kim Campbell.

An earlier version of Lippert's online bio also claimed that in 1996 he joined the editorial board of The Globe & Mail. If true, it's interesting that the Globe has not yet disclosed this in its otherwise exhaustive reporting on the Lippert-Harper speech.

Fraser Institute communications director Dean Pelkey said Lippert is a "former employee" of the institute.

The Tyee asked whether the institution will review the originality of Lippert's considerable body of writing under The Fraser Institute's banner. More than a dozen of Lippert's papers remained for sale on the institute's new web site as of Tuesday evening.

"We haven't had that discussion today," Pelkey said. "That's something we may have to look at, and probably should plan to review in the future."

Monte Paulsen is editor of The Hook.

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