Canada: As poll reveals support among general public, Peter MacKay denies Conservative leadership bid - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada As poll reveals support among general public, Peter MacKay denies Conservative leadership bid

15:40  20 november  2019
15:40  20 november  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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a man wearing a suit and tie: Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay.© Peter J. Thompson/National Post Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay.

Peter MacKay, the former Conservative cabinet minister, says he is not organizing a run for the party leadership, despite the wide expectation he is an inevitable frontrunner in the race to replace Andrew Scheer after the mandatory leadership review next year.

MacKay’s firm denial that he is organizing a bid comes as a new poll suggests he is the most favoured of several possible Conservative replacements among Canadians in general.

“Polls are a snapshot in time,” MacKay said in an interview with the Financial Post at the Toronto Stock Exchange, without elaborating on why his own support might be so high in these latest numbers.

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The survey tested the support for nine potential Conservative Party leadership contenders. MacKay , who handled the key cabinet portfolios of foreign affairs, defence, and justice, has the The former federal PC leader also sits at 15 per cent among centrists, 11 per cent among Tory voters

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A new Abacus Data poll showed seven of nine potential Conservative replacements would be preferred by Canadians nationwide to Scheer. MacKay topped the list at 60-40 over Scheer. That puts him slightly ahead of Caroline Mulroney, Stephen Harper, Brad Wall and others, all of whom bested Scheer by approximately 55-45.

Among Conservative voters only, Scheer has far more support than MacKay at 68-32, according to the poll. Harper is the only potential candidate in the poll who fared better than Scheer among Conservative voters.

This current moment in time is also particularly awkward for Scheer for reasons that MacKay himself has highlighted. Soon after the Liberal victory, MacKay publicly compared the Conservative loss to missing an empty net on the breakaway, but later walked this back in a series of tweets after it was taken as a direct dig at Scheer. He said he meant the party in general had missed the easy victory.

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However he did not say much to undo his cutting observation at a panel talk in Washington when he said that no voters wanted to hear about abortion or same-sex marriage, and “yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn’t able to deftly deal with those issues when opportunities arose.”

Peter MacKay in a suit and tie:  Peter MacKay with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at a campaign rally in Little Harbour, N.S., Oct. 17, 2019.© Carlos Osorio/Reuters Peter MacKay with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at a campaign rally in Little Harbour, N.S., Oct. 17, 2019.

The gossip about recruiting MacKay as a leadership contender has been especially hot since the final days of the election, when senior Conservative organizer John Capobianco told the Globe and Mail of a co-ordinated effort by friends of MacKay to recruit him. MacKay denied ever being approached, and Capobianco said he had “mistakenly speculated.”

In the interview Tuesday in Toronto, MacKay also said Canadians in general and Conservatives in particular are especially hard on Conservative leaders after losses, citing Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark, and Stephen Harper as examples.

“There’s a period of reflection happening in the leader’s office,” MacKay said. “This consultation period, a post mortem, if you will, of what took place in the last campaign, will be instructive for Mr. Scheer. I certainly believe that, as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Leader, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure, but a tremendous importance on Mr. Scheer’s performance in the House when it resumes.”

• Email: jbrean@nationalpost.com | Twitter: josephbrean

How solid is Andrew Scheer's Conservative caucus support? .
Most caucus members did not back Scheer in 2017 and those from Ontario and Quebec held on to their seats despite a loss of support.Most of the Conservative incumbents who won re-election in Ontario and Quebec did so despite a drop in their share of the vote — a drop that risked costing some of them their seats.

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