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'Too soon to make a decision': but Peter MacKay deliberating on Conservative Party leadership bid

Peter MacKay, Minister for National Defence and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, announced three government Canada investments at Acadia University May 24.
Peter MacKay says he'll be talking to family and advisers before making a decision on whether to run to replace Andrew Scheer as federal Conservative leader. - File

Former Central Nova MP says it’s too soon to make a decision

NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

This time of year is one people often spend time with family, reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, says Peter MacKay.

That’s something MacKay says he will be doing a lot of this holiday season – especially given the recent job posting for Conservative Party leader.

In the spring of 2003, the Pictou County native was chosen as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. That federal party merged with the Canadian Alliance in the fall of that year to become the Conservative Party.

As someone who has topped a poll aof who Canadians would like to see lead the Conservatives, many will be waiting for his response to the big question. Will he go for it?

“It’s obviously too soon to make a decision of this magnitude,” MacKay said Dec. 13, the day following the announcement that Andrew Scheer would step down as leader once a successor is chosen.

But, MacKay's not closing any doors, and said he’ll be giving it some thought and talking to family and advisers.

Peter MacKay announces his retirement from politics on May 29, 2015. - Eric Wynne/ File
Peter MacKay announces his retirement from politics on May 29, 2015. - Eric Wynne/ File

When he left politics in 2015, MacKay said it was to spend more time with family and that’s still a priority for him. He and his wife Nazanin now have three children: ages six, four and one.

While he didn’t give a date of when he would make the decision by, he said for the sake of the party and others considering running, MacKay said he won’t drag it out.

MacKay said he wasn’t completely surprised by Scheer’s decision to step down, but offered praise for Scheer’s accomplishments as leader including: leading the Conservatives as they reduced Trudeau’s Liberals to a minority government, gaining seats and winning the popular vote in the Oct. 21 election. He describes Scheer as a decent and hardworking man who has a long career left in politics.

“I think Andrew deserves a lot of credit for where he’s led the party,” he said.

Whether or not he is in the running for the top spot, MacKay said he hopes to see the party continue to unite people of varying backgrounds.

“It has to be that classic big tent party,” he said.

MacKay said he wasn’t completely surprised by Scheer’s decision to step down, but offered praise for Scheer’s accomplishments as leader including— Michael deAdder/File
MacKay said he wasn’t completely surprised by Scheer’s decision to step down, but offered praise for Scheer’s accomplishments as leader including— Michael deAdder/File

MacKay will be home in Pictou County for the holidays, the place where he was MP for 18 years. During his time as MP, MacKay held several significant cabinet positions, including minister of Justice and attorney general (2013-2015),  National Defence (2007-2013) and Foreign Affairs (2006-2007).

He announced on May 29, 2015, that he would not be seeking re-election in that fall's election.

Since then, MacKay has been working at the Baker McKenzie law firm in Toronto, but has remained active on the political scene, attending many Conservative Party events and assisting Conservative candidates in the most recent election.

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With files from SaltWire Network staff.

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