Northern Spew plagiarism

Shaun Thomas, Editor
The Northern View
737 Fraser Street,
Prince Rupert, B.C.
V8J 1R1

September 4, 2013


Once again Todd Hamilton has demonstrated his lack of professionalism by failing to cite his sources for his “Paws for thought, world according to Taffy” article. With the exception of a few local references, most of this article was plagiarized directly from the Internet (

It is not the puerile subject matter of Hamilton’s column which concerns me but rather the act of plagiarism itself. Plagiarism is a serious breach of journalistic ethics, (a subject with which Mr. Hamilton seems to be unfamiliar) and as such, I intend to report this matter to the B.C. Press Council.

Shame on you Mr. Thomas for not exercising due diligence in confirming Hamilton’s sources before publishing this material.

R.T. Burke

Thank you for this post. I went to the Northern View website and read the September 4th piece you are writing about. Everybody loves the SPCA but…

A Nancee Belshaw has “All rights reserved” at the bottom of the page of “Doggy Dictionary”. The newspaper did not print 'inspired by" or “with credit to”. I look forward to an explanation in the Northern View as to why the pieces are so similar.

I have some serious questions pertaining to SPCA , I and many others in the community do not feel that our needs or should I say the little animals needs are being met . One fresh example is this beautiful dog which was stuck on the highway over the weekend and thanks to some caring individuals it was found and rescued . The SPCA did not post anything , did not even make an attempt to get out there to do as their mandate states . I feel that the head office down south should be brought up to date as to how we are being served and the lack of compassion .

Wild dogs everywhere in the world. You going to rescue all of them ? What are the required to do the SPCA ?

Yes they did know of this Dog which was not wild but was very scared out there . SPCA for some reason make decisions and it seems like its their way or no way . They could have gone out to try and help the individual get his dog and also assist the other people who were human enough to care . There are other people who can say more of this recent incident .

So have you done that?

Very off topic from the original topic, but to comment on what you posted. I believe the SPCA here do the best that they can with the resources they get. I follow them on Facebook and they post on lost and found pets. Do you think they are on 24 hr, 7 days a week call out? It wasn’t that long ago when there was talk of closing the SPCA because of lack of funds.

Actually, if you check the SPCA Prince Rupert FB page, the dog’s photo and comments that helped reunite him to his family, are posted. I’d like to note, this was primarily done after business hours which means the shelter manager was working behind the scenes. It was a team effort with a happy outcome.

[quote=“Gracies Mom”]

Very off topic from the original topic, but to comment on what you posted. I believe the SPCA here do the best that they can with the resources they get. I follow them on Facebook and they post on lost and found pets. Do you think they are on 24 hr, 7 days a week call out? It wasn’t that long ago when there was talk of closing the SPCA because of lack of funds.[/quote]

Well said IMHO. Our local SPCA does a FABULOUS job with very few staff and resources. They are not a 24/7 operation but within their operational hours they have been turning the shelter and it’s reputation around. They have a dedicated volunteer base which speaks volumes. The shelter is always clean, the animals are fed, exercised and well-cared for; they receive medical attention as needed and are fixed prior to adoption. Yet they somehow find the time and energy to put on events like the highly successful Paws for Cause walk, put an entry in Seafest’s parade (and won a prize!); attend Cow Bay days and have a presence at Udderfest, among other initiatives throughout the year. Keep in mind, these people all have families and lives as well. There are many people around town who have met their new family member because of their efforts and have given a homeless animal it’s fur-ever home. Conversely, there are many animals that have been rescued from ugly and dangerous situations including abuse. These rescues have taken place by SPCA Shelter staff, including ours, and not necessarily during business hours. The public doesn’t usually hear about these cases unless they are high profile like the Whistler Sled Dog tradgedy, or the Vancouver German Shepherd (I believe also a former police dog) that was tortured and beaten to death. Our little town is very fortunate to have such a high quality shelter, with a caring staff. We would all do well to remember that they are only human. I believe it is all our responsibility to help end animal cruelty – lead by example and report all cruelty to either your local shelter and/or the SPCA animal cruelty hotline. Abusers need to be ‘cleaned up’ - abuse must end whether it be human or critter. Stepping off the soap box now.

Good job, BC SPCA Prince Rupert Shelter!

Back on topic. I wonder if whoever wrote this post read the reply in the paper on wednesday?

Here is a link to the reply:

An error of omission not intent

Back in the ‘good old days’ the gracious way of handling this issue would have been to have phoned the editor of the paper and enquired as to whether he/she was aware of the issue. Then wait a week and see if there is a public acknowledgement and perhaps some information that provides context.

If there wasn’t a public response by the paper, then perhaps a letter like Burke’s which questioned the professional ethics of the journalist (Todd Hamilton) and the publisher (Shaun Thomas) might be appropropiate. However, I think the language of the letter was a bit over the top, given that the other side had not yet had an opportunity to publically respond.

I don’t always agree with Todd Hamilton, but I think he came out looking pretty good on this one. He published Burke’s letter; he responded to the letter and provided contextual information; he accepted complete responsibility for the issue; and, he apologized for the occurrence.

If Burke has any class, he will apologize to Shaun Thomas whose only role in this issue was to be absent from the area due to holidays.

Dear Pentagruel,

What an absolutely charming response to the situation. I am sure that you will rush to confirm you sent a PM (Private Message) or email to each of the individuals named in your post.(Or at least used your rotary dial landline). That you waited sufficient time for them to take action and respond…prior to taking your concerns public. Well of course you did - how silly of me to presume otherwise.

I am horrified to realize that all three can only be assumed to have considered your opinion unworthy of response.

As we both remember…in the good old days subtleness was valued over aggressiveness, logic over emotion. I congratulate you on the subtleness and intellect of your analysis: no one could possibly guess where your myopic allegiance lay.

By the way - which ‘good old days’ were you referring to?

Missed Manners

posted on behalf of Missed Manners by chien22

Dear Chien22

Upon reflection, given what I was writing, I believe a pretty good argument can be made for your implied statement that I should have brought my concerns to Mr. Burke in private by phoning him or PM’ing him.

Role modeling is considered one of the best ways of assisting in personal transformation. So, Mr. Burke, please accept my apology. I have learned something, which I hope I can remember in the future.

With regard to my “myopic allegiance”, I don’t have any personal allegiance to the paper; to Todd Hamilton, or to Shaun Thomas.

Incidentally, I have checked my Private Message Box, and it is empty.

According to Todd he “mistakenly removed the necessary attribution” for the piece. I’m sorry, but that is honestly hilarious. It’s the oldest excuse in the book.

Fair enough BC_Girl

One can chose to interpet Todd’s written statement of “mistakenly removing the attribution” as the "oldest excuse in the book "(your words) or one can chose to decide “okay, I will believe you this time”.

Deciding whether or not I should give someone the benefit of the doubt seems to occur pretty regularly in my life. All things being equal, I usually chose to give people the benefit of the doubt. If I see a pattern of behaviour then the doubt flies out the window.

Well said.

I’m sure Hamilton will do what he usually does after a screw-up or deliberately offensive piece: write a maudlin column so we all say “gosh, he’s just a regular guy, after all.”