PETER McKay, who lost to Erin O’Toole in the Conservative leadership race, announced on Monday that he will not run in the next federal election.
Ina statement, McKay said: “After much reflection and discussions with my family, I have made the difficult decision not to run in the next federal election.
“After spending almost nine months as a leadership candidate in the middle of this pandemic, much of it away from my family and full time job, my focus must be to return to both.
“There are many people for whom I owe my gratitude and my eternal thanks. First, and always, I am grateful to my wife Nazanin and our children, and entire extended family, for their love and support, and their patience and understanding of the demands of political life.
“I thank the people of Central Nova who elected me to go to Ottawa to represent them six times over the 18 years I spent as their MP and who now have warmly welcomed me back home to Nova Scotia. I also extend profound appreciation to the EDA [Electoral District Association] and individuals too numerous to mention who were with me on this recent democratic journey of pursuing the leadership of our Party.
“Finally, I am forever grateful to the countless Canadians across the country who gave their time, energy, and finances to support both me and the Conservative Party during the recent extended Leadership Campaign.
“Earlier today I spoke with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole to inform him of my decision not to run in the next federal election.
“I expressed my ongoing commitment to our party and to doing everything I can to ensure that the next election results in a Conservative victory, with Prime Minister Erin O’Toole at the helm. I look forward to working with all Conservatives as I have for the last 40 years to defeat this Liberal government.”
Conservative Party Leader O’Toole said in a statement: “On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, I want to thank Peter MacKay for his decades of commitment to our country and to the party.
“Peter has played a major role in Canadian politics. He served 18 years as the Member of Parliament for Central Nova. For a decade he served as a senior member of the Harper Cabinet, serving as Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of National Defence, Minister responsible for the Atlantic COA [Canada Opportunities Agency] and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“In our call earlier today, Peter and I pledged to do everything possible to ensure our party remains united and strong. Peter’s devotion to the Conservative Party, which he co-founded, is strong and I am grateful for his support as we work together to win the next election.
“Rebecca and I, on behalf of all members of our Conservative family send our warmest best wishes to Peter, Nazanin and their children as they move forward with the next chapter in their professional and family life.”