Conservative Peter MacKay rallies Island Tories

Teresa Wright
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Former federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay, second right, shares a joke with former cabinet colleague Gail Shea and members of the provincial PC caucus, from left Sidney MacEwen, Steven Myers and Colin LaVie.

Former cabinet minister Peter MacKay may not be officially be in the race for leadership of the Conservative party of Canada, but an appearance he made in P.E.I. last week had all the makings of a stump speech.

MacKay was in Prince Edward Island as guest speaker for Tory MLA Steven Myers’ Progressive Conservative riding association dinner in St. Peters.

MacKay praised the Conservative party’s record in Ottawa and encouraged members to focus on rebuilding the party.

“Much of the challenge in rebuilding is also being honest about our record and being proud of our record as a government, being proud of the initiatives we’ve taken sometimes against all odds,” MacKay said.

“We have to be aggressive sometimes in talking about things we have done.”

He took a few lighthearted jabs at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying, “Glib one-liners and selfies aren’t going to fix the economy.”

He also elicited laughs when he joked that Cardigan MP and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has “saved repeatedly” the Wood Islands ferry service.

He then ventured into some core Conservative party issues, including defending mandatory minimum sentences for violent and sexual offenders and denouncing the Liberal government’s decision to end the combat mission against ISIS, including pulling Canada’s fighter jets.

“It’s coming to North America. It’s here, we’re on their list. Their stated intent is to destroy our way of life, and we’re pulling out.”

MacKay also raised concern about the Trudeau government’s plans for electoral reform as well as the future of the Energy East pipeline amid news the mayor of Montreal is officially opposed to the project.

MacKay did not seek re-election during the fall federal election, citing a desire to focus on his young family.

He is widely considered to be a leadership contender for the federal Conservative party and has publicly stated he’s not ruling out throwing his hat in the race.

His “rally the troops” speech in P.E.I. Friday evening only helped to fan the rumours of his potential candidacy for leadership.

“We have to present our party federally and provincially, as ready to govern again and to get back to what matters most, and that’s connecting with Canadians — not with sunny ways — but with practical and important policies that lead to the type of changes that will impact directly on people’s day-to-day lives,” MacKay said.

But if he is considering another stab at politics, it appears it may not be in the near future.

On Monday, MacKay announced he will join the global law firm of Baker & McKenzie as a partner in Toronto, expecting to advise on a range of matters, including government and regulatory enforcement and compliance matters.

Organizations: Energy East

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, Ottawa Wood Islands North America Montreal Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Jthames
    January 26, 2016 - 18:38

    The man who gave us ten years of Harper through deception. Sorry Pete, but you're finished... no more helicopter rides for you at my expense. Sure glad I don't have to listen to your lies anymore (F-35 anyone?).

  • Jimmy Buffet
    January 26, 2016 - 13:06

    I'm surprised the Ford brothers were not there or even Duffy to entertain the Teabag crowd .

    • ajakall
      January 26, 2016 - 18:06

      Why just the Ford brothers, why not Shamis O'Regan

  • kyle
    January 26, 2016 - 11:18

    2 of harpers puppets 1 lost the other quit .it was Gail backing of harper that hurt the island cons the most, on pei and they are still fawning over them.

  • In my Opinion
    January 26, 2016 - 08:30

    Mr. MacKay got out for one reason only - self preservation. The writing was on the wall that his boss was going and he didn't want to go down with a sinking ship. Are the kids & wife going to be in Toronto too so he can spend time with them & work at his new job.

    January 26, 2016 - 06:11

    This is the same Guy who sold out to Harper and Western Reform Party after Promising his Party it would never Happen...Up till now Every cent he ever made was from the Tax Payer ...Now collecting the Maximum Govt Pension along with a brand new job with a Toronto law firm...Perhaps Fools Forget.