Thursday, October 2, 2008

No One Is Illegal-Pictures from today's rally

Today, there was a rally organised by No One Is Illegal calling on the federal government to stop the deportation of Isabel Garcia, a woman who left Mexico to flee domestic violence.

The RFP went to press today, but during that fury, we managed to get pictures from the rally.

Click here for more information about today's rally. Also, keep watching the RFP's website for a story about Garcia from June.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stephen Harper: FAIL

For many students, failing a course is a fate worse than any other while at school. Within this realm, there are two kinds of failure: failure due to lack of understanding and failure due to cheating.

In many ways, it is failure by cheating that is worse. Those who do it don't think they'll be caught and are able to enjoy the lull between cheating and getting caught.

Cheating is an especially timely issue for students at Ryerson having just witnessed the largest story on cheating and plagiarism last year in Canada.

However, this is probably not what folks at the Canadian Federation of Students were thinking when they developed their party platform report card, released today. They were judging platforms issue by issue, not based on plagiarism. As such, the F earned by the Conservatives was because of performance on tuition fee policy, not plagiarism.

Failure due to both performance and plagiarism can be an indication that you may want to reconsider your choices to study a particular programme or at a particular institution. Getting an F in politics due to both performance and, on the same day, being accused of plagiarism may be an indication that there is something seriously wrong with your party.

In a video released today by the Liberal party, it is clear that Harper borrowed parts of a speech about the war in Iraq from one delivered by John Howard, then-Prime Minister of Australia. Owen Lippert, a former foreign policy adviser and campaign worker has been canned for the gaffe.

A video of Harper, superimposed on a video of Howard has been uploaded to the Liberal party website. It shows the parts of the two speeches that are the exact same.

Stealing from yourself is one thing, but it is indeed plagiarism when it's taken from someone else. The originality report from would likely result in a zero in the assignment and an F in the course, if he were a student in a class.

But he isn't, and really, Harper and his Conservatives should get many Fs for a number of their policies and public statements: tax cuts over social spending, refusing to do university debates, the war in Afghanistan, racial slurs against First Nations peoples, the list could go on for days.

Grading the Harper Conservatives, and the other parties, is a useful tool to get a message across. But things should be placed in perspective: how embarrassing it is for us Canadians to have such a leader, and how difficult it will be for university administrators to prosecute students who are found to have cheated.

Imagine the new defence: if Stephen Harper did it and got elected to be Prime Minister, why can't I?

Who will be able to argue against this logic with a straight face?