In recent months the Canadian airline industry has been pushing, hard, for lower costs. Not content with having the Harper regime order its employees to work under threat of legal sanction (so much for small government, eh?), Air Canada apparently wants to have that same government give it a variety of other under-the-table handouts, too. This lobbying has resulted in several reports in recent months, including from the Senate and, this week, from the Conference Board of Canada.
In light of the ongoing Margaret Wente plagiarism scandal, it seems only fair to point out that the Conference Board of Canada has a plagiarism problem, too. Unlike the Globe & Mail, though, they more or less dealt with it. I’m not condoning what happened. Some disturbing evidence emerged about corporate influence over report-writing. But on the whole, they did the right thing with regard to plagiarism: they recalled the reports, acknowledged plagiarism occurred, admitted “undue reliance on… a funder,” and contracted an Osgoode law professor to prepare new reports. Bonus points for all that.
Both the Senate report and the Conference Board report have received entirely favourable and uncritical news coverage, of course, which is less a comment on the quality of the reports, than on the negligence of journalists. Even more extraordinary, though, are the ways in which some of the findings contradict one another. There’s really no other way to put this than as follows: the Conference Board is better at producing sound, independent analysis under industry pressure than our own government is. Whether you agree with the conclusions or not, it’s not hard to tell who the more competent research organization is. The Senate report is 21 pages long; the Conference Board report is 43 pages long.Tweet