Justice Minister tops popularity survey
By Patrick Vaillancourt, Contributor
While the campaign to replace Stephen Harper as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada has not yet started, a poll conducted by the Huffington Post Canada reveals that a plurality of Canadians would favour Justice Minister Peter MacKay as the next leader of the governing Tories.
MacKay has been the de facto deputy leader of the Conservative Party under Harper since 2004, when the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties merged to form the Conservative Party of Canada. MacKay was the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives.
The survey, which was put into the field shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s summer cabinet shuffle, revealed that MacKay has some support from across the political spectrum. Eighty per cent of the more than 3,308 respondents indicated they were not Conservative supporters, while 20 per cent were Tory supporters.
MacKay received 999 votes (30.2 per cent) from respondents in the survey, besting all of his opponents by a wide-margin, winning a plurality of votes in every Canadian province. Jason Kenney, the Minister of Employment and Social Development, garnered 12 per cent support in the poll, good enough for second place. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird rounded out the top three with nine per cent support.
Prime Minister Harper has given no indication that he’s ready to step down as Conservative leader, but speculation of his retirement from politics has been sparked by the numerous scandals plaguing his government.
MacKay served as Canada’s defence minister from 2007 before this summer’s cabinet shuffle, when he was made Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada.