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Keith Beardsley

President, Cenco Public Affairs

Mr. Beardsley spent over 30 years in active Canadian politics from the municipal to the federal level. During that period, he was a community activist, an elected municipal councillor, and senior adviser to five Conservative Party leaders and to former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

He has served as the political Chief of Staff in three departments; Immigration, Citizenship Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Secretary of State.

Mr. Beardsley was also the head of the Conservative Party’s research arm, where he created one of the most effective rapid response teams in Canadian politics. He has been a key player in several political war rooms and has taken part in over a dozen election campaigns.

As well Mr. Beardsley was a senior advisor to Mr. Harper, serving as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Issues Management.

Today, Mr. Beardsley is a political pundit and analyst, and his political blog is widely read by political staff and elected officials from all political parties. He contributes to a number of newspapers and he is a frequent guest and commentator on radio and television.

Mr Beardsley's political blog can be found at

Rathgeber's Resignation Leaves More Questions Than Answers

I admire politicians who are respectful, honest and principled. Perhaps that is what I find so fascinating about the Brent Rathgeber affair. But for someone as principled and articulate as Rathgeber, I am surprised he never spoke directly to the Prime Minister on the night he decided to leave the caucus.
06/10/2013 12:23 EDT

Canada's Informal Focus Group

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in an unofficial focus group. I say unofficial as it wasn't organized by any of the research or polling companies. Instead, it consisted of a wide mixture...
06/05/2013 12:01 EDT
WikiMedia: Editor at Large

Duffy: God's Gift to the Opposition

Another week of the Duffy scandal has come to a close on the Hill. It is an issue that both politicians and the public love to talk about and there is no doubt that in the short term; there will be a cost to the Conservative brand and to the Prime Minister's reputation. It won't get any easier from this point going forward.
05/31/2013 12:19 EDT
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The Canadian Senate Scandal Raises Many Questions and Few Answers

No one can downplay the seriousness of the issue both for the individuals concerned, for the Prime Minister, the Conservative Party or the Senate itself. The accusations are very serious as the number of investigations indicates. We do have to be careful, though, to separate fact from rhetoric, and ask some hard questions to both sides of the senate scandals.
05/27/2013 12:16 EDT

Why Is Harper Protecting Conservative Wrong-Doers?

The Conservative caucus must be stunned at this on-going drama that unfolds day after day. In both the Penashue case and the recent Senate revelations the public is left with the impression that the Prime Minister is protecting individuals who have done something wrong. The public quite rightly should be asking "why?"
05/16/2013 12:05 EDT
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The Ironically Irresponsible Economic Action Plan Ads

Fiscal responsibility has been the hallmark of the Harper government from day one. It's therefore quite interesting to see in year seven of his reign that the opposition is focused on trying to destroy the credibility the Tories have on that front. It's a good strategy on their part, enabled by some help from the government side.
05/08/2013 12:13 EDT

100% of Tax-Funded Mail Outs Go to 10% of Canadians

Ten percenters are sent out through the House of Commons (i.e.: using taxpayer's dollars) and they are a mail out that is designed to allow an MP to communicate a few times a year with a mass mailing to 10 per cent of their constituents. In this day and age of technology and multimedia communications do we even need ten percenters?
04/26/2013 06:10 EDT

Trudeau Attack Ads: Hit or Miss?

Political attack ads are designed to make you think. Their aim is to get you to look at a person or an issue in a different light, one different from what the media or the party's political spin machine wants you to look at. Simply put, they work. While it seems everyone complains about them, they still watch them.
04/19/2013 05:45 EDT

Will Justin Trudeau Crash and Burn?

While always nice to get a lot of media coverage, Trudeau should be concerned that in the long run all the hype could hurt more than help him. Expectations are so high for him that I wonder if anyone could live up to them. Remember all the media hype around the previous savior of the Liberal Party, a gentleman by the name of Michael Ignatieff. It didn't help him.
04/12/2013 05:25 EDT

Un-Muzzle MPs and Parliament Will Progress

Whether or not to allow more free votes in the House is an option to consider. This allows an MP more freedom to represent their constituents on key issues and gives them some freedom when moral issues such as abortion or capital punishment are raised. Why not let government MPs stand and be recognized to ask one of their own ministers a question? If Parliament is to be relevant, it must change.
04/08/2013 12:09 EDT

Why Rebel Tory MPs Might Regret Challenging Haprer

This so called revolt is about the Prime Minister not allowing certain MPs to push their views on abortion. This will change the tone of the debate within caucus. It can be as divisive an issue internally as it is publicly. How well have the rebellious MPs thought this through?
03/27/2013 12:58 EDT

Can I Write a Blog About Justin Trudeau's Latest Gaffe? Just Watch Me

Today we learn that Justin Trudeau has once again copied his father. He used his father's infamous words from the 1970 FLQ crisis "Just Watch Me." It's no surprise that he thinks that he can beat Stephen Harper, but he chose the wrongs words to say so. His campaign team must be shaking their heads.
03/20/2013 05:29 EDT

Garneau Stayed in the Race too Long

Marc Garneau's decision today to withdraw from the Liberal leadership race was not unexpected. If anything, the only surprise was that Garneau stayed in the race as long as he did. Perhaps he hoped for a last-minute shift in support, or that Liberals would wake up and see what he had to offer? If that was the case he was wasting his time.
03/13/2013 05:16 EDT

Trudeau Had Everything to Lose in Garneau Challenge

Poor Marc Garneau. He wanted a one-on-one debate with Justin Trudeau and Trudeau turned him down. That was a smart move. While it's true many people would like to know where Trudeau stands on a variety of issues, there is no reason for him to get involved in a one-on-one debate. He has the most to lose with such a format.
02/26/2013 12:23 EST

Eight-Year-Olds Get Attendance Taken, Why Not MPs?

There are clerks in the chamber and working with committees, is it so hard to take attendance? Would it be so difficult to have a simple web site that keeps track of a Member of Parliament's attendance, one that the public or media can check? Are we letting MPs have a free ride?
02/15/2013 12:12 EST

Are the Conservatives Shooting Themselves in the Foot?

Finally the NDP is making Question Period interesting to watch. And they have the Conservatives to thank for handing them the issues and the ammunition. I am speaking about NDP attacks on the Senate and the financial questions. It is often said that governments defeat themselves and it is issues like these that accumulate over time and eventually ruin your brand.
02/14/2013 12:04 EST

When MPs Cross Party Lines

Political parties over the years have promised more freedom for MPs, more free votes etc., but little comes of it. All too often deviance from the party line by an MP becomes a media story and it plays as an embarrassment of the respective leader. It is no wonder then that party leaders react so strongly when this happens.
02/06/2013 08:26 EST

Why Cullen Can't Make Question Period More Civil

Bravo to Nathan Cullen, the NDP House Leader, for at least attempting to clean up the poor decorum in the House. However, I doubt his suggestions will go anywhere as the Conservatives will have to cooperate and that is unlikely.
01/29/2013 05:41 EST

What Did Spence's Hunger Strike Accomplish?

With a final media show, Chief Spence has now ended her 44 day "reduced food" diet. The question should now turn to what did she accomplish? Are Canadians more aware today and do they have a better understanding of the abysmal living conditions in First Nations communities? Probably not, such conditions were already well known and have been for decades.
01/25/2013 05:40 EST

Theresa Spence: Stop the Hunger Strike and Hold Harper to Account

Today's "National Day of Action" gives Chief Theresa Spence another opportunity to declare a victory over holding the government to account and another opportunity to call off her "hunger" strike. By not doing so she risks further polarizing and dividing the movement and First Nations leadership. The government is left with few options. It must still negotiate with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and National Chief Shawn Atleo, as it has to be seen to be engaged and working to make change possible, sooner rather than later.
01/16/2013 05:13 EST