Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Cabinet Minister Peter MacKay Says He Wants to Focus on His Family

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Cabinet Minister Peter MacKay Says He Wants to Focus on His Family

Article excerpt

Peter MacKay will not seek Tory leadership

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OTTAWA - Peter MacKay has decided against joining the Conservative leadership race.

"After much soul-searching, advice from trusted friends and weighing of the impact on my young family, I have decided not to seek the leadership of the party," the former cabinet minister from Nova Scotia said in a statement Monday.

"My family is my No. 1 priority," said MacKay, who has two small children, Kian, 3 and Valentia, 11 months, with his wife, human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

"While the opportunity is exciting and the reward compelling, I feel it would be asking too much of them to jump back into politics right now and the heat of a leadership campaign with all that it entails," said MacKay, 50, who did not seek re-election in 2015 and is now a partner at a Toronto law firm.

"I am full of admiration for those who will seek the leadership and I stand ready to work with whoever the new leader will be," MacKay said.

The decision by MacKay now makes it possible for others who were waiting for his choice to prepare in earnest for their own potential bids.

One of them is Kevin O'Leary, the celebrity businessman who was compared to Donald Trump when he started musing about joining the Conservative leadership race earlier this year.

On Monday, O'Leary was highly critical of Kellie Leitch for proposing a Canadian values test for potential immigrants and refugees.

"I'm writing her off," O'Leary said Monday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"That is totally un-Canadian. That is not how we work. I wouldn't be here if that kind of mandate existed," said O'Leary, who is of Lebanese-Irish origin.

His brash style, self-professed love for making money and appearances on reality TV drew comparisons to the U.S. Republican presidential nominee when O'Leary started grabbing headlines earlier this year by trashing the economic record of Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, then saying he would like to become a Conservative prime minister and run government like a business. …

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