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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
Are the War of 1812 Ads Really CP

Are the War of 1812 Ads Really Appropriate?

I see the opposition parties have finally taken issue with the government for their heavy promotion of the War of 1812 during Olympic television coverage. The question is not the ad itself; the real issue is whether or not the Olympics are an appropriate venue for this type of saturation advertising? A simple ad highlighting the accomplishments of former Canadian Olympic greats would have been more appropriate.
08/09/2012 12:10 EDT
Of Course Harper Isn't Going to Meet the Premiers. Would Getty Images

Of Course Harper Isn't Going to Meet the Premiers. Would You?

I see the premiers are upset that Prime Minister Harper will not be attending their next session on the economy in Halifax next November. We can almost certainly guarantee that if the Prime Minister went to the November meeting each and every premier would find plenty of opportunities to go in front of the media to castigate the Prime Minister on a long list of issues. In turn the Prime Minister would then be forced to respond to their attacks during his media availability. Certainly that is not the best way to have reasonable well-thought out discussions on the economy or on any other issue for that matter. Why should Harper risk it?
08/02/2012 05:31 EDT
David Cameron Mingles With the AP

David Cameron Mingles With the Commoners

British Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding that his cabinet ministers essentially get in line like everyone else when it comes to upcoming Olympic traffic in London. In this case Cameron is being proactive and he is setting a good example in a time of restraint. Not only that, but it won't hurt his ministers to mix with the voting public; at the very least they will get to travel like the rest of us.
07/20/2012 04:22 EDT
Turns Out a Real Summer Shuffle Isn't in the CP

Turns Out a Real Summer Shuffle Isn't in the Cards

Wednesday, Stephen Harper conducted what can best be described as a micro shuffle as it really wasn't big enough to be called a mini-shuffle. With no warning to the media who cover such items, everyone was taken by surprise. And that's not even mentioning the inevitable disappointment of certain backbenchers.
07/05/2012 04:54 EDT
There's a New Dance in Ottawa: It's Called the Summer CP

There's a New Dance in Ottawa: It's Called the Summer Shuffle

One can tell it is summer in Ottawa because there is a never ending speculation about a cabinet shuffle. With Bev Oda resigning, what will happen next? Will Peter MacKay become justice minister? Will Vic Toews take a judicial posting in Manitoba? And what will happen to the Defence Department?
07/04/2012 12:20 EDT
When It Comes to Quebec, Harper's CP

When It Comes to Quebec, Harper's Short-Sighted

As we approach Canada Day, Stephen Harper is once again reaching out to Quebec and consulting with Premier Jean Charest and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. With the potential resurgence of separatist parties in the next provincial election, this is none too soon. Whether or not he follows their advice and whether or not he will be successful in expanding and building the Conservative brand in Quebec remains to be seen.
06/27/2012 12:03 EDT
(Liberal) Party's Over For CP

(Liberal) Party's Over For Bob

It doesn't come as a complete surprise that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the Liberal Party leadership. Every politician has his "best before date" and Rae must have realized that his best years and his best opportunity to lead the Liberal Party back to government have come and gone. Rae's stepping aside will leave open the opportunity for generational change in the party.
06/13/2012 01:35 EDT
Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Summer AFP/Getty Images

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Summer Politics

It is June; summer is here, although Ottawa's weather might make you doubt that. Outside of media-types and pundits, are Canadians breathlessly debating whether or not Bob Rae should break his previous commitment and run for the Liberal leadership? Somehow which brand of mustard to use on your hot dog or hamburger takes on more importance than the leadership of the third struggling party.
06/06/2012 07:29 EDT
It's Almost Summer, And No One Cares About

It's Almost Summer, And No One Cares About Parliament

Do our MPs honestly expect that the budget debate was on our minds while we enjoyed the weather this past weekend and fired up the BBQ to celebrate the arrival of summer? How many of us while flipping burgers were bemoaning the details about the omnibus budget bill to our assembled guests and neighbours?
05/23/2012 12:55 EDT
Is There a Giant Slayer Among the Liberal Leadership CP

Is There a Giant Slayer Among the Liberal Leadership Candidates?

As we approach the month of June, the Liberal party will soon be making a decision on when to hold their next leadership convention. With roughly a month to go, there doesn't seem to be much interest from the public in what they do or, for that matter, what they decide. Clearly at this point in time the NDP offers voters the biggest contrast with the governing Conservatives; the Liberals still don't seem to fit in anywhere.
05/08/2012 04:11 EDT
Two NDP Ads Show Two Sides of

Two NDP Ads Show Two Sides of Mulcair

This ad campaign is important as it signals that the NDP is becoming much more professional in how it conducts itself. After a dismal, and boring leadership campaign, the NDP are finally getting back into the game. This is welcome news to that large body of Canadian voters who voted against the Conservatives in the last election.
05/04/2012 06:14 EDT
NDP's Back and There's Gonna Be CP

NDP's Back and There's Gonna Be Trouble

The real battle begins today with Mulcair's chosen team in place. Let us not forget the NDP are supposed to be the government-in-waiting and it will be interesting to see how Mulcair's shadow cabinet performs in a head-to-head match up with Conservative ministers.
04/30/2012 01:43 EDT
Answers to F-35 Fiasco Lie in a Black Box of AFP/Getty Images

Answers to F-35 Fiasco Lie in a Black Box of Bureaucracy

The DND released information on the total cost of the program but failed to include billions of dollars in long term costs, a significant item. Who made the decision to release inadequate information? Did no one object internally? When the minister used these released figures, did no one in the department red flag it for the minister to say the number was not completely accurate?
04/04/2012 04:28 EDT
Attack Ads are the Best Form of

Attack Ads are the Best Form of Flattery

Bob Rae should be patting himself on the back for being the Conservatives' latest target. Liberal MPs should be applauding their leader for a job well done. It is not as though the Conservatives would waste money on ads attacking the leader of a third party unless they were concerned about his success.
03/20/2012 02:57 EDT
Iggy Nails Nasty State of Canadian

Iggy Nails Nasty State of Canadian Politics

Earlier this week, former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff gave a presentation to some law students and much of what he said about present day Canadian politics rings true. Today it is meaner and nastier and you are either on side and "right" or opposed and "wrong." You are my brother or my enemy.
03/17/2012 11:58 EDT
Thomas Mulcair's Identity

Thomas Mulcair's Identity Crisis

In the latest NDP leadership debate, Thomas Mulcair as the perceived front-runner was the target of a number of barbs thrown his way, all of which imply he isn't a true believer in the NDP. Questioning Mulcair's NDP credentials makes for an interesting attack point in a debate, but what happens if your pseudo NDPer wins?
03/12/2012 03:50 EDT
Rae's Robotic Response to AFP

Rae's Robotic Response to Robocalls

Bob Rae's latest harangue, in which he accuses Harper of being responsible for "robocalls" directing voters to the wrong polling locations, really doesn't suit a man of his intelligence. It is pure political B.S. in its finest form. As for a culture of attacks, that has been a part of politics since time immemorial.
02/25/2012 11:42 EST
Tories Object to Their Own Stalling

Tories Object to Their Own Stalling Tactics

The Government is too often using motions to stifle debate in the House of Commons, as they did this week with the gun registry. Parliamentary debate is essential in a democracy and yes, at times it is inconvenient for the party in power as it delays the passage of legislation, but that is what opposition parties do.
02/09/2012 03:55 EST
Government Blindsided Seniors on Retirement AFP/Getty Images

Government Blindsided Seniors on Retirement Reform

The way this government chose to deliver the issue of reforming Old Age Security (OAS) was what surprised Canadian seniors. There was no build up to it, nor was it raised during the recent election. Canadians, especially those nearing retirement age rightly want to know what is going on and when these decisions were made.
02/07/2012 01:18 EST
They'rrre Back -- and Already AP

They'rrre Back -- and Already Fighting!

With the House of Commons returning today we can expect a raucous session. The Prime Minister's office is already in full damage control mode insisting there are no immediate plans to make changes to pensions. Adding fuel to the fire are Jason Kenney's comments on revamping the immigration process.
01/30/2012 12:49 EST