A little more than two months after losing out in the Conservative leadership race, Peter MacKay has announced he will not return to federal politics.
In a statement issued by the Conservative Party of Canada on Monday, MacKay announced he 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,” said MacKay in the statement.
The 55-year-old informed CPC Leader Erin O’Toole, the man who beat him in August’s leadership race, of his decision on Monday morning.
In a separate statement, O’Toole thanked MacKay for his “decades of commitment to our country and to the party.”
“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,” O’Toole said.
MacKay served as an MP for the riding of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough from 1997 to 2004 and as MP for the riding of Central Nova from 2004 to 2015.
During his 18 years in federal politics, MacKay served as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and helped merge the party with the upstart Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada.
As a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet, he served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Foreign Affair and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Since choosing not to run in the 2015 federal election, MacKay has been a partner with the law firm of Baker McKenzie.
In the statement, MacKay said he was grateful to his wife Nazanin, their children and their extended family for the love and support they’ve offered.
“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,” MacKay said.
“I look forward to working with all Conservatives as I have for the last 40 years to defeat this Liberal government.”