View From the Hill. By Keith Beardsley- O’Toole Convention to Lead to Trudeau Victory

MARCH 21, 2021 – I almost feel sorry for Erin O’Toole today. I say almost because it was his political organization and his staff’s work on the policy convention that has pretty much handed him a loss in the next election. Losing the fight for pro-O’Toole delegates at the riding level selection meetings, cost O’Toole dearly at the convention.

Just think four more years of Trudeau because a majority of Conservative delegates cannot see climate change as a reality.

The Conservative spin machine is in overdrive doing damage control. They need to understand that no one is listening to them.

After losing the vote they are trying to say that adding these few words “we recognize that climate change is real. The Conservative Party is willing to act.”  was just tinkering with what was already in the platform etc. is BS. You do not move a motion at a national policy convention unless you really believe those few lines are essential to the party’s success.

The spin team is also reaching back to past leaders for proof that the Conservatives are tough on climate issues. Well, the Conservative team lost back then and in the last election as well. Come to think of it, isn’t it a standard Conservative talk point to criticize the Liberals for reaching back in time to the Harper era?

The issue for O’Toole and the next Conservative leader and the next one after that will always be how to attract more voters to the party. It will be tough going as the Liberals have successfully framed the Conservatives as climate deniers and on other issues as well.

Perception in politics is reality. Just as the Conservatives successfully framed Dion as incompetent and Ignatieff as just visiting, the Liberals have successfully framed the Conservatives on the climate issue. Thanks to the convention delegates, O’Toole is now a wounded leader with a tough road ahead of him.

The Liberal platform is taking shape- run on climate change (try and grab some Green Party and NDP votes), abortion (the one issue Conservatives can never seem to shut down), a national day care program (which will appeal to millennials) and maybe toss in some type of universal basic income program.

Good luck Erin, you are going to need a lot of it.


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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