MacKay made the remark after the last federal election in referring to how Scheer was dogged during the campaign by questions about same-sex marriage and abortion.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney referenced MacKay’s comment in an email this week where Kenney endorsed leadership candidate Erin O’Toole.
During a stop in Regina — Scheer’s hometown — MacKay acknowledged that his comment “might have been a little raw at the time.”
He said if Conservatives want to return to government, they’ve got to be honest with themselves and be more forward-looking.
MacKay says he believes he represents the values of conservatives in Alberta and Saskatchewan and is offering a more moderate centrist message than Scheer.