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Peter MacKay says he will not run in the next federal election.

The well-known former Nova Scotia MP had left elected office in 2015 after years as a senior cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s government. He returned to practice as a lawyer and then, earlier this year, announced he would run for the leadership of the Conservative Party. He came in second.

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He and his family – wife Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay and three children – moved back to his N.S. home from Toronto in September, and Mr. MacKay seemed poised to run again for his former Central Nova seat, now held by Liberal Sean Fraser.

But in a statement released today, Mr. MacKay, who still has a substantial campaign debt, said he continues to support the Conservatives but will not run again.

“After spending almost nine months as a leadership candidate in the middle of this pandemic, much of it away from my family and full-time job, my focus must be to return to both," Mr. MacKay said in the statement.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he spoke to Mr. MacKay and wished him well.

“Peter’s devotion to the Conservative Party, which he co-founded, is strong and I am grateful for his support as we work together to win the next election,” Mr. O’Toole said in a statement.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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Winnipeg, which may have reached its intensive-care capacity on the weekend, is set to move into a new stage of lockdown as COVID-19 cases in the city surge. The Manitoba government is being urged to do more to help residents of a care-home that is the site of the province’s biggest outbreak.

The federal government’s side-deals to secure possible COVID-19 vaccine doses is undermining the ability of smaller countries to access the medicine, a new report warns.

Anti-poverty advocates say provinces saved money on social assistance when low-income residents got emergency benefits in the early months of the pandemic – and they say that money should go to other social services.

The Liberal government has not yet committed any money to a campaign promise to plant two billion trees.

The Canadian Forces is moving closer to setting up a new public-affairs organization that uses propaganda and other techniques on target audiences that include the Canadian public.

More public servants have left Rideau Hall amid a workplace-harassment investigation, and Governor-General Julie Payette has hired on more exempt staff than her predecessors, sources tell CBC.

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And a senior analyst at the Privy Council Office is being investigated for allegedly sharing anti-Semitic comments on social media. “We are shocked and disappointed with this content and we are taking immediate steps to determine the facts surrounding the involvement of this employee to enable us to respond quickly and appropriately,” a PCO spokesperson said.

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on why the G20 should not be expected to lead on the economic recovery: “Not only is the G20′s rotating presidency currently held by Saudi Arabia, a repressive regime that’s responsible for the oil price war that devastated the global energy industry earlier this year, but the international economic forum has so far bungled its response to the pandemic and economic crisis.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland: “Ms. Freeland seems to believe that setting fiscal targets is somehow contradictory to committing to the pandemic-fighting task at hand. As if the second you identify where you want to take your fiscal balance down the road, you are implicitly starting to withdraw necessary stimulus. It defies logic, and it flies in the face of prudent fiscal and economic planning.”

Jessica Davis (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s counter-terrorism failures: “We need to ask hard questions to understand the source of the problem in counter-terrorism policing in this country. Is it a lack of resources? Expertise? Bad management, as has been alleged in the case of Cameron Ortis, a senior RCMP intelligence official arrested last year for allegedly sharing classified information with a foreign entity? Lack of specialization amongst both investigators and prosecutors?"

Adam Radwanski (The Globe and Mail) on what the U.S. election means for climate policy: “While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his government have diplomatically kept quiet on their U.S. election preferences, it’s a safe assumption that – among other reasons they would rather see Mr. Biden in the White House – they would welcome a continental partner who shares their view that climate is a top priority.”

Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on why turnout will be critical to the U.S. election result: “U.S. Census data, meanwhile, show us that while young people do vote, they do so at a rate far lower than their parents and grandparents. Think back to 1992 and 2008, elections where respective Democratic presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were (at the time) as hip, woke and made for mass media consumption as young voters could want. In 1992, only about 40 per cent of eligible 18-to-29-year-olds bothered to cast a ballot, compared to nearly 70 per cent of those 45-to-59. In 2008, young voter participation increased to just half of those eligible. It has not been met or exceeded since. It was still nowhere close to older voter participation.”

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Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Canada watching the U.S. election: “Officially, the Canadian government is preparing for the potential of postelection chaos in the United States. In reality, there is not much the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be able to do about such chaos, except watch it on CNN like the rest of us.”

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