View From the Hill. By Keith Beardsley – O’Toole Gag Order on Bill 21 is Weak Sauce

December 19, 2021 – If media reports are correct, O’Toole has prohibited his MPs from speaking out publicly about Quebec’s racist Bill 21.

While O’Toole says he is personally opposed to this law, he refuses to say that it should be challenged in court. Instead, he lets it continue to fester as a Quebec based issue while both the Liberals and NDP have shifted their positions.

A gag order on this topic is surprising considering the size of the social conservative base in the party’s membership. Religious freedom should be important to the party. Religious freedom was included in Conservative Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s Bill Of Rights passed in 1960,

“Affirming also that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law.”

“It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,……

  • (c) freedom of religion;

Anyone who has been inside the party won’t be surprised that the Conservatives have been ordered to sit this one out and keep their mouths shut. Afterall, they continue to tilt at windmills in Quebec believing that a huge election win there is always just an election away. Then it is another election and another election and another election. Neither do they get that they are increasing the negative image of the party in most major urban areas where we have large pools of multicultural and visible minority voters. So, to win just 10 seats out of 78 in Quebec they sit this important issue out.

This is not the first time the party has done this. I can remember when discussing the banning of asbestos was not permitted. Why? Because we had an MP from there and we took negative hit after negative hit in the media for no logical reason other than putting one MPs riding ahead of health.

I also remember meetings with ministers when attacking supply management was off the table- I bet it still is- again we didn’t want to upset the Quebec dairy industry etc. The party preferred to keep prices paid by consumers artificially high in the hope that they just might win that next mythical election.

MPs who are part of a party that claims to value an individual’s rights and freedoms- can’t talk about Bill 21. Amazing stuff, but not when you have a weak leader hoping to win that next election with all those Quebec seats just waiting to be won. O’Toole is dreaming if he things that will happen.


Keith is a former political staffer with over 50 years of active involvement in Canadian politics. He is a former Deputy Chief of Staff to a Prime Minister for Issues Management and he was a senior political advisor involved with political research, Question Period, political attack teams and election war rooms for over 20 years. A well-known political pundit, Keith has appeared many times on Canadian political panels.

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