CALGARY – Regrets? He’s had a few, but outgoing Justice Minister Peter MacKay says he’s ready to leave the day-to-day politicking behind and focus on family.
MacKay on Thursday made what will probably be his final visit to Calgary as a cabinet minister if Prime Minister Stephen Harper does the expected and calls an election this weekend.
MacKay, who announced in May he would not be running again after 18 years in politics, presented the Sheldon Kennedy Advocacy Centre $160,000 to develop expertise in specialized child abuse forensic interviewing.
“Politics is about very personal contributions in many, many ways and my only regret is I couldn’t get more done. I think most people leaving public office feel that way. They wish they could have done a little more,” he said.
“I’ll certainly miss the feeling of being involved in the important events and issues of the day. It’s required of a person to take part in the great issues and causes of the day on pain of being judged as never to have truly lived.”
But he doesn’t intend to just sit on the sidelines either in the next campaign and said he will do whatever he can to help get his party re-elected.
“Make no mistake about it. I will be supporting actively Conservatives in the coming days, most probably in my province of Nova Scotia, when and where I’m requested.”
The Conservatives hold four seats in the province. The Liberals have four and the NDP three.
MacKay who represents the riding of Central Nova and was first elected as an MP in 1997, was at the helm of the Progressive Conservatives when they merged with the Canadian Alliance in 2003. He chose not to challenge Stephen Harper for the leadership of the newly formed Conservative party.
MacKay was placed in cabinet immediately after the Conservatives formed government in 2006, beginning at foreign affairs and then shuffled to defence.
He became justice minister in 2013, in a sense coming full circle as his career as a lawyer was what prompted him to enter politics.
MacKay, who turns 50 this fall, is expecting a daughter, his second child, later this year with his wife Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a human-rights activist he married 3 1/2 years ago.
“It’s really about spending more time with my family,” he said. “Right now I’ve put my country first and now I’m going to put my family first.”
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