Peter MacKay running for Conservative leadership
OTTAWA -- Prominent Conservative Peter MacKay is running for Conservative party leadership.
MacKay made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm in. Stay tuned," MacKay said in a tweet. He tweeted the news in both official languages.
He is expected to make a formal leadership announcement next week in Nova Scotia.
"A lot of people are just really excited to see him confirmed," said Michael Diamond, who will handle MacKay's communications for the campaign.
Diamond added that a "lot of people" are "ready to move now."
Diamond previously worked on Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative leadership bid and went on to help Ford win the provincial election.
Former Conservative MP Alex Nuttall will be MacKay's campaign manager. It isn't Nuttall's first time helping with a leadership bid – the former MP worked with Maxime Bernier when Bernier sought the Conservative party leadership in 2017.
Another key organizer of Bernier’s leadership bid, Emrys Graefe, is also helping with MacKay's campaign. The firm Graefe works for, Rubicon Strategy, has been enlisted to help with MacKay's leadership bid – though founder Kory Teneycke will not participate.
MacKay held a Nova Scotia seat in the House of Commons from 1997 to 2015. Before leaving politics, MacKay held multiple cabinet positions including justice minister, national defence minister and foreign affairs minister.
MacKay was also instrumental in the creation of the Conservative Party of Canada. While serving as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, MacKay negotiated a merger with Stephen Harper’s Canadian Alliance in 2003 to create the modern-day party he now hopes to lead.
MacKay's name is frequently raised in discussions about the Conservative leadership, and his name was invoked when outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced his intention to step down on Dec. 12.
MacKay's expected announcement means he will be joining several prominent Conservatives who are running to lead the party.
CTV News has confirmed Conservative MPs Pierre Poilievre and Erin O’Toole both plan to enter the race, and Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu has already announced her plans to run.
Former NDP leader and CTV political commentator Tom Mulcair has said former Quebec premier Jean Charest is also considering a bid.
The Tory race has also had one drop out. Unelected Conservative organizer Bryan Brulotte, who was the first to announce his bid, left the race on Tuesday. He said the race's tight rules pushed him out and went on to throw his support behind MacKay.
Contenders must abide by the official rules of the race to be considered, and that includes gathering the signatures of 3,000 supporters by March 25. The supporters will have to have been party members for 21 days before signing a hopeful’s leadership nomination papers.
The race also requires candidates to pay a $200,000 entry fee and a $100,000 compliance deposit.
Leadership hopefuls have until Feb. 27 to submit their applications.
I'm in. Stay tuned.— Peter MacKay (@PeterMacKay) January 15, 2020