Rumours fly about another Tory cabinet minister joining the “Toronto elite” (somewhere, John Baird’s ears are burning)

Rumours fly about another Tory cabinet minister joining the “Toronto elite” (somewhere, John Baird’s ears are burning)

Peter MacKay: Bay Street bound? (Image: Benjamin J. DeLong) 

Being a Conservative MP must be tough these days. There’s the boss, who doesn’t make winning elections easy. Then there’s the pay ($150,000 doesn’t go as far as it used to). Add to that the frustrations of a year of minor political crises in Ottawa, and anyone can see why some cabinet ministers would be beating a path to the doors. First there was Jim Prentice, who abruptly announced he was done with politics and heading to work for Bay Street bank CIBC. Now there are rumours swirling about Defense Minister Peter MacKay ditching the capital for Toronto.

According to the Globe and Mail:

At a Toronto charity dinner for military families Wednesday evening, Mr. MacKay rejected the suggestion that he was thinking about jumping ship, despite reports from credible sources that such conversations have taken place.

“I’ve got the best job in this country and I’m thrilled to be here,” the Defence Minister told reporters. “I have no plans to leave this job.”

He declined to answer further queries, including whether he was in talks with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP – the firm in question.

Anyone can understand the desire to escape the Harper cabinet, but this has to smart for certain ministers. John Baird, for example, spent a chunk of the summer railing against “Toronto elites,” only to have two of the most highly placed members of the party (both Prentice and MacKay are former leadership contenders) either defect to the elite or apparently get courted by it.

And not just the Toronto elite: if MacKay’s being courted by Gowlings, that means he could be an international man of mystery the next time he takes a former Miss World contestant out on the town; Gowlings has offices across Canada, but also in London and Moscow. (What, doesn’t everyone get dates with Miss World contestants?)

Of course, the cycle will only be complete when John Baird takes his position as a VP at Starbucks’ Monocle Division.

• At pivotal moment for military, MacKay is grilled about his future [Globe and Mail]
• Peter MacKay denies reports he is leaving politics for Bay Street [Globe and Mail]
• MacKay fuels questions on his future — and love life [Toronto Star]
• MacKay not leaving politics [Toronto Sun]
• Defence Minister Peter MacKay not leaving politics, spokesman says [Vancouver Sun]