(EDITOR’S NOTE: An email received from the Central Nova Conservative Association last night has confirmed that country music star George Canyon will be running in MacKay’s place)
Conservative Party candidate Roger MacKay has stepped down from running for the Conservative Party in Central Nova.
“It’s with regret today that I’m announcing I’m stepping aside as the Conservative Party’s candidate in Central Nova. It’s been a busy couple of months getting this campaign up and running, and building a team. While I consider the reason for this personal, I assure you it’s not a decision I took lightly,” MacKay announced.
His sudden withdrawal — announced Monday evening via social media — caught the Central Nova Conservative Association by surprise.
President Ryan Sharpe said, “Yes, I was surprised by the announcement.”
The local association executive has called a meeting for Wednesday night with representatives of the Atlantic Canada association to discuss next steps. Sharpe is not sure what those steps will be and what conclusions will be reached.
MacKay said he remains fully supportive of party leader Andrew Scheer and the Conservative’s vision for people in Central Nova.
“I want to thank everyone that supported me as I campaigned across this riding, and I know I’m leaving this in good hands for whoever takes up the challenge after me.”
When contacted on Tuesday morning MacKay reiterated his decision for stepping aside was “personal” and said, “I hope people respect our privacy.”
Just hours before Monday night’s announcement MacKay was encouraging people, via Facebook, to support a campaign kickoff of sorts. “Please join my friend Peter MacKay and I on Tuesday August 27th at the Westville Civic Hall Gym! Looking forward to seeing you there.”
Earlier this month MacKay took a three-month leave of absence as mayor of Westville so he could focus on his federal election campaign. He was elected as the Central Nova candidate during a nomination meeting in May when he defeated Wes Surett, Luke Young and Harvey Henderson.