Former MP not ruling out run for leader of federal Conservative Party

Former Conservative MP Peter MacKay says he has not closed the door on running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

MacKay says family will play a role in his decision

Former federal Conservative MP Peter MacKay has not ruled out a run for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party. (CBC)
Former Conservative MP Peter MacKay says he has not closed the door on running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

"My focus right now is not only on my family, but the next phase of my life so I'm not fixating in any way on politics or the leadership. I follow it closely, I'm in touch with a lot of people, my former colleagues. But I haven't closed the door and why would I? I haven't ruled  anything out," said MacKay.

MacKay, who represented the Nova Scotia federal riding of Central Nova, made the comments in an interview with Compass host Bruce Rainnie Friday.

The former minister of defence was in Charlottetown to speak at an event for the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party.

MacKay admitted politics was something of a calling, having been first elected in 1997.  

"I think we need to have dedicated, honest, hard-working people enter politics."

MacKay said leadership contests are good for the party and good for the democracy of the country and turnover in the party is good.

"It generates new blood and brings new people into a party."

Time for change

When asked about the loss of 67 seats in the Oct. 2015 federal election, MacKay said the Conservative Party is resilient.

MacKay said while there are lots of ways to look at what happened, he says the feeling was it was time for change.

He added it was difficult to change people's minds once they wanted something different.

The former MP said a life in politics can be hard on a family. MacKay is the father of two young children.

"I was lucky. I entered politics without a family and left with a family. For some people, it doesn't always work out as well. "

MacKay said any decision he would make about running for the leadership or re-entering politics would be made in terms of what would be best for his family.

"That will always be the factor [in my decision]."

A new leader for the federal Conservative Party will be elected May 27, 2017.  MacKay says anytime within a year or less is ample time to mount a leadership campaign for anyone interested in running.

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