Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 28, 2020
Peter MacKay launches his campaign promising to unify and expand Conservative Party
Peter MacKay officially launched his leadership campaign on Saturday with a speech that emphasized his experience on the world stage, and promised to unify and expand the Conservative Party ahead of the next election.
“Together we’ll expand outward that big blue tent, while strengthening its solid poles of conservative principle,” he said in a speech in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, the area which he represented in Parliament from 1997 to 2015.
“I stand here before you today with my heart on my sleeve for every Canadian, whoever you love, wherever you live,” he said.
The speech leaned heavily on MacKay’s experience in senior cabinet roles during Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, particularly his time as foreign affairs minister and defence minister. While pitching himself as a Prime Minister in waiting, he also took shots at Justin Trudeau.
He said Canada and the planet are facing “big challenges with big complicated questions,” but the current Liberal government is “shrugging and often doing more harm than good, virtue signalling without action.”
However, there were no specific policy proposals in the speech. Notably, the speech made no mention of climate change, instead discussing the general importance of protecting the environment.
“We’re stewards of the environment,” he said. “The greatest gift that we’ve received as Canadians, alongside our freedom and democracy, is our natural splendour of land and sea.”
MacKay is widely seen as the frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race, which will end June 27 in Toronto. His main competition, at least for the time being, is expected to be Ontario MP Erin O’Toole. O’Toole is launching is campaign Monday in Alberta.
Three high-profile potential contenders for the Conservative leadership race — Jean Charest, Rona Ambrose and Pierre Poilieve — all dropped out over the past week. However, candidates still have until Feb. 27 to enter the race, so others may come forward.
Other candidates who have declared their intention to run include Ontario MPs Marilyn Gladu and Derek Sloan, Alberta businessman Rick Peterson, and former Conservative staffer Richard Decarie. (National Post)