The House

CBC Radio's The House: Test your knowledge with our 2020 quiz

How many headlines do you remember from 2020? It’s time to test your knowledge with The House’s annual end-of-year quiz! Play along with our panel of journalists as host Chris Hall pitches questions about the biggest political stories from January through to December.

How well do you remember 2020 in politics?

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at Rideau Cottage. How many times did Trudeau address Canadians from the front of his home this year? Take our quiz to find out! (Blair Gable/Reuters)

How much do you remember about 2020?

Host Chris Hall quizzes our panel of journalists on some of the biggest political headlines of the year, in a series of questions prepared by quizmaster Emma Godmere. Test your knowledge with contestants Salimah Shivji, Elamin Abdelmahmoud and Philippe-Vincent Foisy by following along with the questions below and compare your answers at the bottom of the quiz.

The Quiz

1) Let's kick things off with our first audio clue. Here's Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, speaking back in January:

Harry and Meghan's security 'coming to an end': Blair

Politics News

1 year ago
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tells CBC's Chris Rands that the RCMP has been providing RCMP security service to Prince Harry and Meghan - service which will soon come to an end. 1:20

Who is Bill Blair talking about?

BONUS: Where in Canada were Harry and Meghan living at the time?

2) Possibly the biggest story in January was the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 in Iran. The crash killed 176 people, including 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents. Once Iran reported that the crash was caused by its own missiles, fired due to human error, how did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau react? We're looking for the two words he used to describe how he felt.

3) In February, senators voted to suspend one of their fellow members of the upper chamber. This was the second suspension for this particular senator. What is: a) the name of the senator, b) the reason for the first suspension and c) the reason for the second suspension?

BONUS: No senator has ever been ejected from the Red Chamber before, but several have been suspended before this one. Who are they?

4) Later in February, protests and demonstrations spread across the country in support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, where members were fighting the construction of a natural gas pipeline on their traditional territory. Rail blockades forced CN and VIA Rail service to grind to a halt. When then-Opposition leader Andrew Scheer called on the federal government to enforce the law and end the blockades, what message did he have for the protesters — what did he suggest they do? 

A protester stands between Mohawk Warrior Society flags at a rail blockade in Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ont. in February. The protest was in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

5) Before he became Canada's ambassador to the UN, Bob Rae was named to another position earlier in the year. What was the title of that position?

6) Near the end of February, Teck Resources took the energy sector and environmentalists by surprise when it withdrew its application to develop a massive oilsands project. The move came just days before the federal government was expected to make its decision on whether to approve the $20.6-billion Frontier mine. What reason did Teck Resources give for its withdrawal?

7) In February, four Alberta MPs released a manifesto that accused Eastern Canada of treating the province as "a colony, rather than an equal partner." Those MPs also warned of the rising separatist movement in Alberta. What was the name of this document?

BONUS: Name two of the four Conservative MPs who wrote and signed the declaration.

8) What was the original date for the Conservative leadership convention, before it was cancelled and the race paused because of the pandemic?

9) The Conservative Party changed the timing of its leadership race to conclude in August, and Andrew Scheer's successor was chosen entirely by mail-in ballot. How many ballots were cast in the Conservative leadership race?

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O'Toole speaks after his win at the 2020 Leadership Election, in Ottawa, Aug. 24, 2020. Sean Kilpatrick/Pool via REUTERS (Sean Kilpatrick/Pool via Reuters)

10) Erin O'Toole won on the third and final ballot in the wee hours of the morning on August 24, after counting was delayed. What delayed the count?

11) Candidate Leslyn Lewis was knocked out of the race after the second ballot, but drummed up significant support in the first round of voting. In which province did Lewis finish first?

12) The Conservatives weren't the only federal party picking a new leader in 2020 — the Greens held their vote online in October. In what province had they originally planned to hold an in-person leadership convention?

13) Name four of the eight candidates who ran for the leadership of the Green Party.

14) In her victory speech, newly elected Green Party leader Annamie Paul called out the other federal parties, suggesting they are "simply out of ideas" and "intellectually" ... what?

Green party leader Annamie Paul celebrates after speaking at the leadership announcement in Ottawa, Saturday October 3, 2020. Paul succeeds Elizabeth May, who stepped down last fall after leading the party for 13 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

15) In what month did Canada's first laboratory-confirmed, documented case of the novel coronavirus surface?

16) The federal government moved quickly to repatriate Canadians in China after the city of Wuhan was placed under lockdown to try to stop the spread of the virus. Where in Canada did the first repatriation flight land?

17) The day before the WHO declared a global pandemic, Health Minister Patty Hajdu acknowledged that modelling numbers suggested a percentage of the Canadian population could end up infected with COVID-19. What was the range she gave?

a) between 25 and 50 per cent

b) between 30 and 70 per cent

c) 40 to 50 per cent

d) 60 to 90 per cent

18) The very next week, Canada and the U.S. agreed to restrict non-essential travel between the two countries. Who was the first person to announce the closure of the Canada-U.S. border?

BONUS:  How was it announced?

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

19) As March wore on, health officials in several provinces put out a call to retired doctors and nurses to come back to work in the early days of the fight against COVID-19. Which MP signed up to return to service as a registered nurse in Ontario?

BONUS: Why was she ultimately unable to take up health care work?

20) In early April, applications opened up for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, which paid out $2,000 a month to eligible Canadians. Nearly one million people applied for the benefits on day one of the program. How many Canadians received the CERB throughout the entirety of the program's run?

21) At the end of April, MPs took part in their first special virtual sitting. It was not an official sitting of the House — a hybrid Parliament would come later — but it was the first time all members were invited to gather via Zoom for the inaugural meeting of the COVID-19 special committee. Which minister was called on to speak first in this first-ever "Zoom Parliament"?

a) Health Minister Patty Hajdu

b) Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough

c) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

22) On May 1, less than two weeks after the mass shooting in Nova Scotia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an immediate ban on some 1,500 types of military grade, assault-style firearms. While gun owners cannot use these firearms, the government indicated there would be an amnesty period to allow for their disposal. By what date must these banned firearms be disposed of or returned?

23) Later in May, it came out that several political parties had applied for and received the federal wage subsidy — one of the emergency economic support programs set up at the beginning of the pandemic, which still continues today. Which major political party did not apply for the wage subsidy?

BONUS: Which leader pledged to pay back the subsidy received by their party?

24) At the start of June, Justin Trudeau was asked to comment on U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to use military force on protesters — people who were demonstrating across the country in reaction to George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis. How long did Trudeau take to come up with an answer?

BONUS: Which American public figure took a dig at Trudeau for that pause?

25) Systemic discrimination and systemic racism continued to come up in political conversations throughout the summer. Which top official initially talked about "struggling" with the term, and took several days before admitting that systemic racism exists within that person's organization?

26) NDP leader Jagmeet Singh put forward a motion in June that sought to recognize the existence of systemic racism in the RCMP, review the organization's budget and review the use of force by its officers, among other things. Singh tried to get all parties in the House to support the motion. Which MP refused, prompting Singh to call him a racist?

BONUS: After Singh was heard calling that MP a racist, what happened next in the chamber?

EXTRA BONUS: What reason did the Bloc give for not supporting the motion?

27) Let's hear another audio clue. Here's Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne:

'The result may not be the one we had hoped for': Champagne

Politics News

10 months ago
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada had no guarantee of victory in a tight race for a UN Security Council seat, but argued the campaign allowed Canada to renew and strengthen its bilateral relationships around the globe. He spoke to reporters from New York. 2:00

"Lessons learned …" What is Champagne reacting to?

28) In July, then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered his government's "economic snapshot" describing levels of federal spending not seen since the Second World War. What level was the federal deficit projected to hit at that time?

BONUS: What's the deficit projected to be now, according to the fall economic statement?

29) For months, the political discourse in Ottawa centred on a federal contract, awarded to the WE Charity, to administer a $912 million student grant program. The government's decision fell under immense scrutiny due to the Trudeau family's ties to the charity organization.

How many days passed between the prime minister's launch of the Canada Student Service Grant program and the announcement that the WE Charity was ending its partnership with the program?

30) When Morneau was answering questions at a Commons committee, he revealed he had just repaid travel expenses to the WE Charity organization — expenses that he and his family incurred during two trips they took with WE in 2017. What was the exact amount Morneau wrote his cheque for?

BONUS: How many days later did Trudeau name Chrystia Freeland to the finance role?

EXTRA BONUS: At the same press conference, what other two announcements did Trudeau make, immediately after announcing Freeland's new job?

31) How many House of Commons committees were investigating, or were about to start investigating, the WE Charity controversy before prorogation pulled the plug on committee business? We're looking for the number and the names of these committees.

32) As always, the new session of Parliament began with a speech from the throne. And as always, opposition parties readied their responses. But two party leaders were forced to delay the delivery of their responses in the House of Commons. Which two party leaders had to delay, and why?

33) The speech from the throne was followed by a rare televised address to the nation from Prime Minister Trudeau. In it, Trudeau warned that Canada was at a "crossroads" as COVID-19 cases began to spike in certain provinces. A sitting prime minister has requested such time from television networks on only a handful of occasions. Name two other times a PM has delivered a televised address to the nation over the last 25 years.

34) In early September, the federal government announced it would recognize two former residential schools as national historic sites, five years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended the commemoration of residential school sites. In which two provinces are they located?

35) John Turner, Canada's 17th prime minister, died in September. Before he became prime minister in 1984, he was a cabinet minister in Pierre Trudeau's government. Name two cabinet positions Turner held.

Former prime minister John Turner looks on during a photo to mark the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the first Parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2017. Turner died this year in September, at age 91. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

36) The fall brought three provincial elections — all of them historic simply because they happened during a pandemic. But for British Columbia NDP leader John Horgan, history was made when he became his party's first consecutive two-term premier after winning a decisive majority. When did the B.C. NDP previously win a majority?

37) What other two provinces had elections this year, and who won them?

38) Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil announced he would be stepping down as premier, marking an end to a long career in politics. This is a multiple choice question: for how many years has McNeil been in politics?

a) 17 years

b) 22 years

c) 13 years

d) forever

39) Closest without going over wins the point: as of the day we're recording this, December 14, how many times did the prime minister address Canadians from in front of Rideau Cottage this year?


1) Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

(BONUS: British Columbia/Victoria)

2) "Outraged and furious"

3) Senator Lynn Beyak; first suspended for refusing to remove racist letters from her website; suspended the second time for failing to complete the anti-racism training she was directed to undergo after her first suspension

(BONUS: Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau; also not mentioned in the broadcast: the very first senator to ever be suspended was Andrew Thompson, in 1998)

4) "Check their privilege"

5) Special envoy on humanitarian and refugee issues

6) The company said customers want to see policies in place that reconcile resource development and climate change, and added, "this does not yet exist here today." 

7) The Buffalo Declaration

(BONUS: The four MPs were Michelle Rempel Garner, Blake Richards, Glen Motz and Arnold Viersen)

8) June 27

9) 174,849 ballots were cast, roughly a 65 per cent turnout; the party's 2017 turnout was 54 per cent

10) A malfunction in the machine that opened the ballots

11) Saskatchewan

12) Prince Edward Island

13) All eight candidates were: Annamie Paul, David Merner, Amita Kuttner, Glen Murray, Dimitri Lascaris, Meryam Haddad, Andrew West and Courtney Howard

14) "Intellectually exhausted"

15) January (January 27, to be precise)

16) CFB Trenton

17) b) Between 30 and 70 per cent

18) U.S. President Donald Trump

(BONUS: in a tweet)

19) Liberal MP Kamal Khera

(BONUS: because she contracted COVID-19)

20) 8.9 million Canadians

(BONUS: $81.6 billion)

21) Health Minister Patty Hajdu

22) April 2022

23) Bloc Québécois

(BONUS: Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole)

24) 21 seconds

(BONUS: Rev. Al Sharpton)

25) RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki

26) Bloc MP Alain Therrien

(BONUS: Singh refused to apologize; the Speaker kicked him out of the chamber for the rest of the day)

(EXTRA BONUS: The Bloc agreed that discrimination against Indigenous communities and cultural minorities is a major issue, but noted the public safety committee had begun its study on systemic racism in the RCMP and said it did not want to impose findings before the committee had a chance to do its work)

27) Canada losing its bid for a UN Security Council seat

28) $343 billion

(BONUS: $381 billion)

29) Just eight days. Trudeau detailed the launch of the program on June 25 (after initially announcing the service opportunity in April), and WE Charity parted ways from the feds on July 3

30) $41,366

(BONUS: just one day — technically less! Trudeau announced Freeland as Morneau's successor the day after he resigned)

(EXTRA BONUS: Dominic Leblanc as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister and Parliament would be prorogued until September 23)

31) Four (three were underway, a fourth was about to begin) and the committees were Ethics, Finance, Government Operations and Estimates, and Official Languages (which had just held a meeting to discuss the request to open a study before Parliament prorogued)

32) Conservative leader Erin O'Toole and Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet, because both had tested positive for COVID

33) There are four options: Stephen Harper in 2014, following the attack on Parliament Hill's Centre Block and the National War Memorial; Stephen Harper in 2008, amidst political turmoil and ahead of a looming no-confidence vote (and a move by opposition parties to come up with a coalition); Paul Martin in 2005, apologizing for his party's missteps and asking Canadians to give his government a chance following the sponsorship scandal; and Jean Chretien in 1995, days before the Quebec referendum, making a plea for national unity

34) Manitoba and Nova Scotia (specifically, Portage La Prairie Residential School in Manitoba, and Shubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia)

35) Minister of Justice and minister of Finance (he was also minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and at one point a minister without portfolio)

36) 1996

37) New Brunswick (Blaine Higgs) and Saskatchewan (Scott Moe)

38) a) 17 years

39) 82 (first was March 13, and they ran somewhat steadily through to July 13. Trudeau returned to his front steps for a few more appearances beginning November 20)