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Are You Calling Me A Liar? No, Just A Bozo (and a Plagiarist)

:: There are times when I am embarrassed to be living in a province with leadership characterized by its collective arrogance and close-mindedness. Actually, it’s 99% of the time. Recently, our premier behaved like a spoiled brat, when he appeared before a provincial public accounts committee. When asked to produce a receipt for a golf trip, he lowered himself to the level of Beavis and Butt-Head:

Klein: “Is the honourable member suggesting I am lying?”
Blakeman: “No, sir, I am just asking for the document.”
Klein: “Oh, why would you ask for the document if you are not suggesting I am lying?”
Blakeman: “Because this is the public accounts committee, sir, and we can ask for that kind of information.”
Klein: “Oh, I see. In other words, you’re saying you won’t take my word for it. I want to know if she’s calling me a liar. She doesn’t believe me.”

Blakeman tried to respond, but Klein cut her off three times, repeating: “You don’t believe me.”

The press Klein received following his whining was all negative, even from his usual conservative supporters. He was ridiculed in political cartoons and on radio shows, but the best response had to be from CBC Radio in Edmonton, which produced a 48-second segment, weaving Klein’s schoolboy outburst with Robert De Niro’s “Are you talkin’ to me”, from Taxi Driver, and Joe Pesci’s “I’m funny how, I mean funny, like I’m a clown” sequence from Goodfellas. Listen and enjoy, and consider that this man runs the richest province in Canada, where the next budget surplus could top $8 billion CDN, erasing the last amount of debt the province owes, but a province in which the roads and infrastructure are deteriorating rapidly, and education and health care continue to deal with cutbacks and layoffs. And my apologies to Beavis and Butt-Head, no offence intended.

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Oh, and it just gets worse. This morning, in the 13 May 2004 edition of the Edmonton Journal, comes word of the following: A paper Klein wrote for a communications study course at Athabasca University had been tabled in the provincial legislature recently to counter charges that he is insensitive to Chileans who suffered under Pinochet (another long story), making the paper available to the public. Upon close examination, it was confirmed that at least half of the 13-page paper was skimmed directly from an assortment of websites without proper citation or quotations.

On the last page of the report, the premier lists his sources, including 10 websites. Word for word passages from the essay are found on those sites and a count found 58.7 per cent of the lines in the essay are the same as those on the websites listed.

It’s time for Ralph Klein to go.

8 Responses to “Are You Calling Me A Liar? No, Just A Bozo (and a Plagiarist)”

  1. Murph Says:

    Randy, do you have a link for the plagiarism charges?


  2. randy Says:

    Derryl: I added a link to the report on the CBC website. I didn’t add one to the Paula Simon column in the Edmonton Journal since they require registration, and as well, only provide a seven-day moving archive. Totally lame.

  3. darcy Says:

    Not only a liar, a plaguarist too….

    Just goes to show that American politics isn’t the only bastion of idiocy. He probably doesn’t even get why it’s wrong



  4. randy Says:

    Actually, Darcy, that’s one of my fears – that in doing his copy and paste from these various websites, and then passing off the final version of the paper as his own writing, he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.

  5. Murph Says:

    Even without the plagiarisms, what the hell about that paper gets a 77%? Obviously the prof doesn’t care about MLA format, and doesn’t care about finding proper citations (it’s pretty much been a hard and fast rule in my classes that you can cite some web sources, but that the majority must be from print). Yeesh.


  6. randy Says:

    Cindi, you have my sympathies, and you can take Ralph any time. BTW, do you think Rummy should pack it in? The spin doctors must be working overtime to have him fly to Iraq and press the flesh there.

    Derryl, so true – we were talking today about the fact that he would boast about a 77% paper, and then have the balls to table it in the legislature, thus making it public. Never mind considering what he MIGHT have been thinking when he decided to do that – what about his advisors?? Good grief! And the citation style, as you say, doesn’t even exist in the final version. The prof has to be challenged on this, and Athabasca University’s credibility is in serious question now. How will they deal with it? What message is being sent to the students in Alberta when their Premier can submit a paper that includes plagiarized passages, is cited improperly and poorly, and get a passing grade?

  7. cindi Says:

    Dude, where’s my comment? Odd. Did someone cull it for national security reasons? Yes, I think Rummy should pack it in. I think Cheney should pack it in. I think that Bush should pack it in. I think the whole lot of them should turn tail and go home already before they destroy the world.

  8. randy Says:

    Cindi: I accidentally deleted a small number of comments a few days ago when I was running MT Blacklist. STLQ received about 400 spam in a few hours, and I was running MTB to delete them. Unfortunately, a few good comments were lost in the rush to get 400+ comments removed from my server. Am I forgiven? Oh, btw, the RCMP and CIA were asking about you. – R

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