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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
Harper and Spence Take the First

Harper and Spence Take the First Step

By Harper agreeing to meet Spence, the first step has been taken. Whatever the outcome, the movement will not fade away. By seizing the moment, the AFN and the government have been handed an opportunity where they can make common cause to affect positive change for First Nations communities. It is in everyone's best interest that they succeed.
01/06/2013 04:47 EST
The Idle No More Movement Is More of a PC

The Idle No More Movement Is More of a Stand-Still

As we enter the new year, it is time for Chief Spence and Prime Minister Harper to pause and reflect about their on-going standoff. Both sides need to feel that they have won and both sides need to find a way to declare victory. Only then can the two sides proceed to the next step which should be fresh dialogue and agreed to solutions for key First Nations issues.
01/02/2013 11:51 EST
In Politics What You Think You See Is What You Alamy

In Politics What You Think You See Is What You Get

"Perception is reality" in politics. A lot of this is nothing more than smoke and mirrors and well scripted talk points which are repeated over and over in the hope that voters will change their perception of that party or that of their opponents. It has been an interesting year in politics and next year will provide us with an opportunity to see if voter's perceptions of our leaders and their parties will change.
12/20/2012 08:14 EST
F-35s Are Costing Tories More Than AFP/Getty Images

F-35s Are Costing Tories More Than Money

Rumours are swirling around Ottawa that the F-35 aircraft purchase is dead. Is it? No one knows just yet, but it would be a shock to see the Conservative government move away from its defense of this much maligned purchase. Either way, this fighter is proving very costly both in a dollar value and in lost political capital for the Conservatives.Certainly if the Conservatives cancel the F-35 program there will be considerable political blow back with the opposition parties shouting "I told you so."
12/07/2012 12:17 EST
Peter Van Loan Marched to the Beat of No CP

Peter Van Loan Marched to the Beat of No Drum

Everyone is agog over the supposedly big dust up in the House of Commons yesterday, where MP Peter Van Loan marched across the Commons floor to wag his finger at NDP leaders. There was no need to cross over to the NDP side as nothing would be accomplished by doing so. The Official Opposition thought they had caught the government on a technicality and wanted to force another vote which would have further delayed passage of Bill C-45. What is so exciting about that? Why was it necessary for the Conservative House Leader to cross the floor? It is perfectly legitimate for any opposition party to use the full arsenal of tactics available to them to delay or defeat government legislation.
12/06/2012 12:23 EST
Tories Are Turning Win To Loss On Trudeau CP

Tories Are Turning Win To Loss On Trudeau Gaffe

The bright lights on the Conservative side have decided to call Justin Trudeau and David McGuinty before the House of Commons Natural Resources committee to explain their negative comments about Alberta. But the Tories have already won this round. So why go on a witch hunt? Why the zealous overkill?
11/30/2012 12:20 EST
Why Today's Question Period Is a

Why Today's Question Period Is a Snooze-Fest

It is hard to believe, but back on this day in 2005, we were all involved in an election that was forced on November 28th when the Martin government lost a confidence vote. Part of what made that election possible was the success the then opposition Conservatives had in Question Period. Today, the best you can say about Question Period is that it is pathetic and a great opportunity to take a nap.
11/29/2012 12:18 EST
Are Liberals the Real Byelection CP/Handout

Are Liberals the Real Byelection Winners?

With the by-elections over, everyone will be reading the tea leaves to see what it means for the next federal election. At this point probably not all that much as we don't know who will be leading the Liberals in 2015 or for that matter if Harper will even be around to lead the Conservatives. Just the same, the parties should see some red flags from yesterday's results. For the two main parties, i.e. the Liberals and the Conservatives, it does offer a glimpse into some potential shifts down the road depending on who wins the Liberal leadership race. The good news for the Liberals is that even in Tory Alberta they can be a contender; their brand is still pretty resilient.
11/27/2012 05:32 EST
The Only Real Challenger to

The Only Real Challenger to Trudeau?

Martha Hall Findlay has jumped into the federal Liberal leadership race, good for her. It will be a nice counter balance to Trudeau's charisma and offer a chance to flush him out in the one area that he is considered to be a light weight -- policy issues. Whether or not she wins or whether or not people think she is a good candidate, one thing is certain: finally the federal Liberal leadership race is getting interesting and offering up some substance. As they say in horse racing "they are off and running."
11/14/2012 05:14 EST
Could Canadian Speeches Use the Obama

Could Canadian Speeches Use the Obama Touch?

History was made last night when President Obama was re-elected for another four year term. What struck me while listening to his acceptance speech was the fact that his words are now part of his nation's historical record. When you look at the House of Commons today you have to wonder where is that sense of history when an MP stands up to read a Member's Statement, a speech, ask a question or if a minister, answer one?
11/07/2012 05:11 EST
It's Official: Question Period Is a Total Gong PA

It's Official: Question Period Is a Total Gong Show

Question Period tends to highlight exactly what is wrong with much that takes place in the House of Commons. Daily insults, putdowns, and factual misrepresentation are quite common. When you combine an inept opposition with a government side that shows little respect for the intelligence of Canadians, you end up with something that is so bad that you can't even call it a gong show.
10/31/2012 05:00 EDT

"Promise Made, Promise Kept"? Apparently Not For Harper

When political parties spend time on the opposition benches they often come up with ideas that look great on paper but lose their lustre once the party moves from the opposition side of the House to the government side. Such has been the case with the Conservatives and the Parliamentary Budget Office presently run by Kevin Page. Remember the chant from the Conservative backbenches, "Promise made, promise kept"? In this case that's not quite accurate.
10/23/2012 12:19 EDT
Hey MPs, This is Question Period Not a Turf Alamy

Hey MPs, This is Question Period Not a Turf War

Anyone watching Question Period the last few days would be excused if they simply turned it off and walked away in disgust. Basically the kids in the chamber are back to their old games -- insults, evasive answers and slap downs. True it can get partisan blood going, but partisans are already committed to their own side's position. I doubt too many in the public are getting much out of the daily slug-fest. What ever happened to Michael Chong's attempt to reform Question Period? If this past week is an example, those reforms are needed more than ever.
10/19/2012 12:15 EDT
Trudeau Should Be Challenged, Not Getty Images

Trudeau Should Be Challenged, Not Crowned

One can certainly understand why Trudeau and his supporters might prefer a coronation to a true leadership contest. Leadership races can be brutal and very costly in time, effort and money. With a coronation Trudeau will have the added bonus of not having to present a lot of policy options Everyone likes to win, but Trudeau should welcome a tough leadership race and that is what his talk points should be saying. Should he win such a political challenge, then he will have put to rest the whispers that he is a policy light weight, or just a pretty face or just living on his father's name.
10/11/2012 12:10 EDT
Memo to Harper: Don't Micromanage the AP

Memo to Harper: Don't Micromanage the Majority

Ministers, their staff and individual MPs often find it almost impossible to get PMO to move away from a position or talking point that they have adopted. The micro-management style worked initially because in 2006 most staff and ministers were new at what they were doing. Micro-management and message control also worked because of the minority situation the government found itself in. Majority rule has changed that dynamic. All in all, there are Interesting times ahead if you sit on the backbenches of the government side.
10/04/2012 12:05 EDT
Has the Liberal Party Found Its

Has the Liberal Party Found Its Messiah?

I gather from all the media hype that Canadians are supposed to be waiting with bated breath and pounding heart for the "Second Coming" i.e. Justin Trudeau's non-announcement this week that he will enter the Liberal Party's leadership race. I say non-announcement as I don't know anyone who pays attention to politics who actually thought Trudeau would sit this one out.
10/01/2012 05:22 EDT
When MPs Launch Sneak Alamy

When MPs Launch Sneak Attacks

In Parliament, the one-minute Standing Order 31 was designed to give MPs an opportunity to highlight something of importance in their riding. By 2008 there was increasing pressure to use more of the SO 31s as attack pieces (sometimes all of them) to get the government talk points out. Today, this has become pretty much standard practice. In my opinion this has been one of the contributing factors to the caustic atmosphere you now see on a daily basis in the House of Commons.
09/25/2012 12:05 EDT
Limiting the Competition in Politics is a Loser's CP

Limiting the Competition in Politics is a Loser's Game

According to a media report, it would appear that New Brunswick MP, Dominic Leblanc, would like to limit the number of contenders for the Liberal Party leadership. Leadership races are supposed to rejuvenate a party, improve its fortunes and give it a bounce in the polls. You won't do that unless you debate new ideas, hopefully with a few new people at the table.
09/17/2012 05:07 EDT
Bev Oda Screwed Up -- But Who Let CP

Bev Oda Screwed Up -- But Who Let Her?

Then minister for CIDA, Bev Oda, was charged a penalty fee of $250 US in 2010 for smoking in her hotel room and expensed her department. It's inexcusable, but ministers don't act alone. They have staff to both offer advice and at the same time protect them from follies such as this one. Didn't anyone question this expense claim?
09/10/2012 07:45 EDT
Will National Unity Be a Part of Harper's CP

Will National Unity Be a Part of Harper's Legacy?

Any Prime Minister in his sixth year in office and nine years as party leader has to start looking at his legacy. What will he be leaving Canada with when down the road he decides to leave? Up until this point it was his performance on the economic front that was the strongest item, now how he performs and whether or not he can keep Canada together will also be part of his legacy.
09/07/2012 12:15 EDT