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He also acted as an associate member of the Standing Committees on Canadian Heritage, Finance and the sub-committee on the Study of Sport.Mac Kay was re-elected in the 2000 federal election and was frequently touted by the media as a possible successor to PC Party leader Joe Clark.In his first term of office, Mac Kay served as Justice Critic and House Leader for the Progressive Conservative parliamentary caucus.Mac Kay was the PC member of the Board of Internal Economy and the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.On May 29, 2015, Mac Kay announced that he would not be a candidate in the next federal election, held on October 19, 2015.However, with the defeat of his party at the 2015 election, Mac Kay now a former MP is considered a potential candidate to succeed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper as permanent leader of the Conservative Party. His father, Elmer Mac Kay, is a former PC cabinet minister, lumber businessman, and lawyer.
He worked for Thyssen Henschel, steel producer, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Düsseldorf and Kassel, Germany.For much of the race, Mac Kay was the clear front-runner.Several opponents, including former PC Party Treasurer Jim Prentice, social conservative candidate Craig Chandler, and Red Tory Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison, painted Mac Kay as a status quo or "establishment" candidate who could effectively question the Prime Minister.Mac Kay entered the first ballot of the PC leadership convention held on May 31, 2003 with roughly 41% of the delegates supporting him.However, on the second ballot, Mac Kay's support dropped to 39%.
Mac Kay was largely seen as the assumed victor of the race from the outset of the leadership contest.