Petering out

I was never much impressed with Peter MacKay who has announced he will not be running in the October federal election. My lack of enthusiasm dates from the deal he struck in May 2003 to become leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. After the third ballot, MacKay was in first place, Jim Prentice (who went on to lesser things) was second, and David Orchard third. To obtain the support of Orchard and win the leadership on the fourth and final ballot, MacKay signed a four-point agreement with Orchard that included a promise not to merge the PCs with the Alliance, then headed by one Stephen Harper.

Within five months, MacKay reneged on the deal, and carried out the very merger he said he wouldn’t do thereby creating the Conservative Party of Canada. So much for MacKay’s word being his bond. Ever since, Harper has rewarded MacKay with portfolios well beyond his capacity.

MacKay’s time in Parliament will yield a handsome annual pension of $129,000 that begins in five years when he turns 55. Mackay joins about thirty Conservatives, including three cabinet ministers, who won’t be running this fall. Like MacKay, many are saying they want to spend more time with their families. Or do they think they might lose?

I wish Peter MacKay well but I won’t miss either his chiselled face or puzzled brow on Parliament Hill. In his nearly twenty years as an MP I can’t think of one thing he accomplished that matters.


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