Some thoughts on O’Toole Question Period Strategy. View From the Hill. By Keith Beardsley

FEBRUARY 18, 2021 – In the midst of a deadly pandemic and with a risk of a third wave plus a botched vaccination plan by the Trudeau Liberals, who would have guessed that the most important question facing the nation yesterday was the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank?

That is correct folks, if you have never heard of it before, you have now.

There must have been one of those headline blockbuster stories that no opposition part can resist to warrant the leader of the Conservative Party to lead off Question Period with this issue.

Here minus the blah, blah of the lead in section to each question are the actual first 5 questions O’Toole chose to ask. I say chose to ask because no leader has to ask this stuff- they have staff or should have staff capable of putting together tough media savvy questions.

The first five questions asked by O’Toole yesterday:

  1. Will the Prime Minister wake up and remove Canada from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank?
  2. When will the Prime Minister start prioritizing Canadian workers?
  3. Why are Canadians paying the price for the Prime Minister’s planning failures?
  4. Why did the government abandon Canadian businesses and embrace Chinese state-owned firms?
  5. That is all well and good, but can the Prime Minister tell us how many Canadians will be vaccinated next week?

Seriously, I am not making this up.

Who writes this Stuff?

Every question is so open-ended that Trudeau can pick and choose his perfect answer to broadcast how great his government is doing? None of these questions will pin him down or cause a reporter to pay attention. They might create a few yawns in the press gallery, but that is all they will do.

No party leader should be asking such poor-quality questions in Question Period. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank questions were not even worth asking in the second round. They are third tier questions.

I don’t know who drew up this Question Period strategy, but it does leave one shaking their head that they would not have the Leader focus on the one key issue on the mind of Canadians and the one issue that has cost the Liberals voter support. They even skipped over the genocide issue.

By the way it would also have been far better to have Deputy Leader Candice Bergen ask the second set of two questions in the first round. She is a skilled questioner and a high-profile female MP.

To play on a previous Conservative attack line- they were just not ready.


Keith is a former Conservative political staffer with over 50 years of active involvement in Canadian politics. During that time, he has held quite a few party positions as well as political staff positions. Most recently, Keith was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Issues Management with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2003-2008). Prior to that he worked as an advisor in the Leader’s Office for Peter Mackay, Joe Clark and Jean Charest. Keith also served as the Chief of Staff to the minister in three Federal departments during Brian Mulroney’s government (1984-89). Additional political experience came as the staff person in charge of Question Period from 1997-2008 where he served in both the Opposition and Government roles. Keith is also known for having created one of the most effective political rapid response teams in Canadian politics. He also has municipal experience and he was a city councilor in a suburb of Montreal. Known for his bluntness and to the point comments, this blog is also known for its fairness and respectful treatment of politicians from all parties. A well-known political pundit, Keith has appeared many times on Canadian political panels and he has been interviewed by major Canadian networks including CTV, CBC, Global. He has also given presentations/speeches in various parts of Canada and the USA.

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