Help Peter MacKay pay off leadership race debt, Harper urges Conservatives
OTTAWA – Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper will once again stand up for Peter MacKay in an effort to help him pay off his debt in the Conservative Party’s leadership race in 2020.
Sixteen months after the contest, MacKay still owes about $ 500,000 and in a letter to party members and supporters this week, Harper said people must help him pay that sum.
“I understand times are tight, but I don’t want to see the future of Peter and his family weighed down by debts incurred in the service of our country and our Conservative Party,” Harper wrote in the letter, including one. copy was obtained by the star.
MacKay was considered the frontrunner before the leadership race, which began after Andrew Scheer announced in December 2019 his intention to step down.
The COVID-19 pandemic began a few months later, forcing the lion’s share of campaigns and fundraising into the virtual sphere and delaying the vote.
The winner was ultimately chosen in a mail ballot using ranked ballots. MacKay lost after supporters of candidates Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis backed Erin O’Toole.
In his letter, Harper called MacKay’s leadership bid a “strong and thoughtful campaign” and highlighted his long-standing ties to the party.
MacKay was the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada when it merged with the Harper Canadian Alliance to create the current Conservative Party.
In the letter, Harper acknowledged Mackay’s role in founding the modern party, as well as the ministerial positions he later held in Harper’s Conservative government.
“I believe that the people who serve the country deserve our support,” he wrote.
“That is why I am asking you today to help in the effort to pay off Peter’s remaining leadership campaign debt.” “
This is not the first time that Harper has come to support MacKay.
Harper and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney organized private fundraisers to help with MacKay’s campaign expenses. In the letter, he notes that the pandemic means such events will not be possible in the foreseeable future.
MacKay spent roughly $ 4.6 million on his leadership bid and ended the race with roughly $ 1 million in debt, a figure that his campaign said was pushed up by the need to ” initiate private security following threats against his family during the race.
He has been dwelling on it ever since, and with a new calendar year meaning a clean slate for donation limits, his campaign hopes to see the final $ 500,000 further reduced in the months to come.
MacKay moved his family from Toronto to his home province of Nova Scotia after the leadership race, and chose to stay on the sidelines after considering running in last year’s federal election.
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