Former cabinet minister Peter MacKay announces Tory leadership bid

In a 23-minute long speech, MacKay touted his experience as a former defence minister

After a more than four-year hiatus from politics, former cabinet minister Peter MacKay officially launched his bid to capture the leadership of the federal Conservative party before an enthusiastic hometown crowd in Nova Scotia.

MacKay made the announcement at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton, N.S., in front of a large Canadian flag and before more than 200 supporters bearing signs with his name.

He said he is running because the current Liberal government is making the lives of Canadians harder and he doesn’t want to stand by and hope someone else can get the job done.

“I am here to stand up and do my part to help unite this country, to put shoulder to the wheel and with others to help build a better life for all of us,” MacKay told the gathering.

In a 23-minute long speech, MacKay touted his experience as a former defence minister and stressed the need for leadership that will assert Canada’s place in the world.

He also took a swipe at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Leadership on the world stage, serious diplomacy to advance Canada’s interest requires authenticity of actions, measured by outcomes, not selfies or photo-ops. Canadians have had enough of posturing that produces no results.”

MacKay served in a number of positions under prime minister Stephen Harper and was the leader of the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party when it merged with the Canadian Alliance in 2003, creating the current Conservative party.

He stepped away from politics ahead of the 2015 election, the year the Harper Tories lost power and Harper himself resigned as leader.

MacKay addressed the need for party unity and highlighted his past role in its creation.

“I have played my part in uniting the conservative family into one big tent,” he said. “All conservatives belong in this party and have a voice and a place at the table.”

MacKay also addressed national unity and included a message to Quebec.

“I am here to speak to you of hope. Of the hope of electing a national government that shares your Quebec values, respects your jurisdiction, and is proud of Quebec’s place as a nation in Canada.”

MacKay used the speech to launch an attack on the governing Liberals’ record signalling that past controversies haven’t been forgotten.

“The concentration of power in the PMO has interfered with justice, has failed Canadians and has empowered only those close to the PM and his cronies. The Liberals have broken Canadians trust, and let’s be clear, we need to earn the trust to govern with confidence for all Canadians.”

MacKay’s announcement came as current party leader Andrew Scheer was meeting with Conservative MPs and senators in Ottawa.

Many of those MPs have already thrown their support behind MacKay, and he’s expected in the capital for a campaign event on Sunday.

Scheer became leader of the party in 2017, beating out 14 other candidates. He will step down in June once the next leader is elected, a decision he announced in December.

He said he looks forward to watching the race unfold.

“We’re the party of competition so it’s good to have a healthy competition”

MacKay did not speak to reporters following the speech, leaving it to others to bolster his candidacy.

His father, former longtime Central Nova MP Elmer MacKay, said his son will bring strengths to the party when it comes to the national unity front.

“I think too often this country has been unbalanced because of the historical dominance of the centre, Quebec and Ontario,” he said. “I think Peter like (Brian) Mulroney has a better sense of nation-wide development.”

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale said the time is right for MacKay to run because of the varied experience he would bring to the job. Dunderdale said she even sees his time away from politics as an asset.

“He’s … had the experience of being in the private sector and being focused on raising his family, so it brings a whole new dimension on what he brings to the table.”

MacKay is the first high profile Tory to announce for the leadership after Jean Charest, Rona Ambrose and Pierre Poilievre announced they wouldn’t be running.

Current MP Erin O’Toole is expected to launch his bid on Monday.

He released a pre-launch video on Saturday entitled “Let’s go” showing a smiling O’Toole driving to work. O’Toole doesn’t speak in the video, which simply ends with his announcement date 01-27-2020.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital

Total of 10 patients and four staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Virtual challenge to benefit Delta-based guide dogs charity

Funds raised to help BC Alberta Guide Dogs provide people with free guide dogs, autism and PTSD service dogs

PHOTOS: Shots fired in Cloverdale Thursday night

Police say nobody was hurt after shooting at 19000-block of 64 Avenue

Wind warning for White Rock, South Surrey

Gusts up to 90 km/h expected from Richmond to Langley Friday (Sept. 25) morning

PHOTOS: Another Fleetwood BIA grant cleanup ‘great for business and security’

Cleanup creates makes area at 152nd Street and Fraser Highway “neater and more inviting”

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

B.C. VOTES 2020: Speculation tax misses speculators, B.C. Liberals say

Andrew Wilkinson, John Horgan clash over housing costs, solutions

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Most Read