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Peter MacKay, then a leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, and his wife Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay watch a broadcast show that will announce the party's new leader with their children Kian, 7, Valentia, 4, and Caledon, 2, in Ottawa on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Peter MacKay says he will not seek the leadership of the Conservative party when one is chosen this September.

MacKay announced the news in a video message posted to social media on Saturday, saying he came to the decision after consulting with friends, colleagues and family.

The cabinet minister in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government placed second to former leader Erin O’Toole in 2020, and noted in the video that he’s still paying off debt from that contest.

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MacKay was also leader of the Progressive Conservatives when the party merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

Four candidates are in the race so far – Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, former 2020 leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis, Independent Ontario MPP Roman Barber and former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

MacKay says he will continue to support interim leader Candice Bergen and will also support the eventual winner of the leadership vote.