Speculation on a MacKay departure beginning. Would expect to hear the usual denials, of course, but the circumstantial factors surrounding the story make it sound plausible. We well know what happened this past week when Foreign Affairs issued a public and embarrassing rebuke to MacKay. Would not be surprised in the least if "loyal" MacKay associates were putting the word out and causing such speculation as a result of that little Conservative upper-echelon-directed slap:
Recent grumblings out of Atlantic Canada indicate that current Conservative Defense Minister Peter MacKay may be looking to resign his post and as MP for Central Nova, the Nova Scotia riding he has held since 2004.
In some political circles it has been quietly suggested that MacKay may be looking for a way out of the Conservative Party, an 'honourable exit'. Speculation includes MacKay anticipating a collapse in the Conservative vote in the next election, losing Government, and having no desire to be there to when it happens. Leaving for a position in NATO, for example, would allow him to escape the possible mess of a Conservative Party reeling after its loss of power and of its strong and tight-fisted leader.
Giving the story of MacKay's possible departure from Government more credence are whispers that following the current provincial election in Nova Scotia, MacKay may be interested in overtaking the leadership of the provincial Tories. The leadership of the party would allow the 43-year old MacKay to build his resume and perch himself in an advantageous position for a possible future run at the Conservative leadership, all the while avoiding culpability for the potential electoral collapse of his party and staying clean through the mud-slinging in the wake of Harper's departure.(h/t stratosphear)
While the story is still raw and no official statements are likely to emerge in the short-term, it should make for interesting weeks and months ahead. If MacKay steps down, many Canadians will know why.
Update (Sat 2:20 p.m.): A view from N.S.:
There have been rumours before of Elmer's boy looking to lead the Nova
Scotia Tories. They will certainly be needing a new leader on June 10 as
the current group seems headed for election oblivion on the 9th. The
major campaign promise of Rodney's team is to impose a curfew for those
16 and under (since they proposed 1AM, they didn't even attract the
"keep off my lawn" crowd, who were hoping for something earlier, like
7PM). Intellectually and financially bankrupt actually turns out to be a
negative for once in John Buchanan land. But given the distribution of
the votes outside Halifax and Dartmouth (all ridings there firmly in
competent NDP hands except for Diana Whalen's suburban Clayton Park
liberal seat), I guess it is still possible for the Tories to come back
with a minority government while finishing a distant third in the