MacLean still considering PC leadership, despite contract extension

Teresa Wright
Published on February 15, 2013
Doug MacLean is still considering a run at the P.E.I. PC leadership.
Guardian photo

Former NHL coach and sportscaster Doug MacLean has signed a multi-year contract extension to continue as a hockey analyst, but says he still is not ruling out a run for the PC leadership.

In an interview with The Guardian Friday, MacLean said his contract with Sportsnet has been extended by two years.

He says this extension does not change the fact he is considering putting his name forward for the permanent leadership of the Progressive Conservative party of P.E.I.

But it’s not a priority consideration for him at this time.

“It’s not really on the top of my mind… I haven’t even talked to anybody any further since the last time I spoke with you and some other (media) about it,” MacLean said.

MacLean is the most high profile of several names being floated as potential candidates for the permanent leadership of the Tories in P.E.I. He is currently the only person who has publicly stated he is even thinking about the job.

This is likely due to deep divisions within the party that have led to very public struggles over the question of leadership for the last few months.

The party’s troubles were evident again on Friday when it was announced to party members PC field organizer Jordan Fraser is resigning from this position at the end of the month.

Sources have told The Guardian he is leaving in frustration over internal squabbles that plagued the party for some time.

“While I am pleased for Jordan and supportive of his decision to pursue new career opportunities, I acknowledge the association will be challenged with his absence,” party president Blake Doyle wrote in an email to the PC membership.

“The executive have been advised of Jordan's interest to pursue new opportunities, and we are grateful he maintained his commitment to stay in his role until the party began the process of renewal and formal unification.”

MacLean said Friday he is aware of some of the problems that have faced the party since he first announced his interest in the permanent leadership in December, but admitted he has not followed the issues very closely.

Nonetheless, he said he is not concerned over the Tories’ current struggles.

“I think when you’re not in power, you’re always in turmoil, aren’t you?” MacLean said.

“Anytime there’s a leadership situation you always have challenges, I don’t see it as a big deal. They’ll eventually come together at the right time.”

In the meantime, MacLean said he will continue to mull over the possibility of putting his name forward as a leadership candidate.

“I’m not going to sit and say today that I’m totally focused on it because that’s not true. When the time comes to really make a decision, prior to that I’m going to talk to some people and go from there and just see where things sit at that particular time,” MacLean said.

“Who knows? A year from now when the decision probably has to be made there could be a total change and they may have someone else they really and truly want to lead. Then that would change my decision making.”