Despite Stephen Harper's insistence that he will lead the Conservative Party in the 2015 election, chatter about his future continues.
In that regard, a new poll by Forum Research is very interesting.
As reported by the Hill Times, Forum recently asked Canadians to register their approval of several high-profile Tories. (The list didn't include Stephen Harper).
On top of the approval rating rankings is none other than Peter MacKay:
- Among leaning or decided Conservative supporters:
Justice Minister Peter MacKay: 53 per cent
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird: 45 per cent
Labour Minister Jason Kenney: 37 per cent
Treasury Board President Tony Clement: 34 per cent
Saskatchewan Premier: Brad Wall: 26 per cent
Former cabinet minister: Jim Prentice: 23 per cent
Industry Minister James Moore: 16 per cent
Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier: 16 per cent
The full Hill Times article can be seen here.
For sometime, the common refrain has been that Jason Kenney would be the person to beat in a Conservative leadership race — when Harper decides to step away.
From 2009 to 2011, as immigration minister, Kenney criss-crossed the country with the sole purpose of wooing visible minority voters over to the Tory tent. Conveniently, he did a great job wooing the demographic for himself; he's achieved rock-star status within ethnic communities across the country.
It's widely believed that the ethnic support gives him a significant leg-up against all other potential leadership rivals.
[ Related: Is Jason Kenney preparing for a leadership race? ]
But, as the Forum survey suggests, MacKay's popularity runs deep with the Conservative Party base and, if at some point he chooses to run for the leadership, he should also be considered a frontrunner.
Talk about MacKay residing at 24 Sussex isn't really new; he was once seen as prime minister material. But, over the past couple of years, his stock has dropped substantially after a series of gaffes and blunders as defence minister.
He was forced to defend himself over a 10 minute trip on a search-and-rescue helicopter in July 2010. The helicopter picked up MacKay from his personal fishing trip in central Newfoundland at a cost to taxpayers of $32,000.
In 2011 , reports surfaced that MacKay incurred pricey hotel tabs during conference stays in Europe, which saw one bill reach $1,452 per night.
He was also blamed for the F-35 boondoggle and other military procurement nightmares.
Now, as justice minister, it seems that MacKay's reputation is on the mend.
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