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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

New president for Silver Star Rotary Club

Vernon club swears in new president and executive board amid COVID-19

New home for Vernon Search and Rescue set for public hearing

After outgrowing their current location, VSAR looks to move to Silver Star Road

COVID-19: Coldstream council ready to welcome back public

Seven individauls can attend council meetings as of July 6 amid pandemic

Noose graffiti not tolerated by Vernon resident

Woman, son paint over hateful image painted on neighbourhood fence

Normal water use can resume in Vernon

Emergency repairs on major water main complete, water quality advisory in place for some residents

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

HERGOTT: The right to resist unlawful arrest

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

‘We have your grandson’ – Princeton seniors scammed out of thousands of dollars

Two elderly Princeton men are saying they were robbed of thousands of… Continue reading

Finale of seven-week food drive arrives at FreshCo Kelowna

The new grocery store has partnered with the organization for a food drive

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

‘We need to re-think our systems’: Kelowna mayor on RCMP Southeast Division statement

The RCMP held a news conference on Thursday, July 2 to address concerns in the force

Most Read