Peter Mackay's departure has generated a lot of commentary. Michael Harris writes that another brick has fallen out of the wall:
Fortress Harper has just seen another huge breach blown in the castle walls. Peter MacKay, the last of the former Progressive Conservatives serving at the time of the Canadian Alliance/PC merger, is walking away from the Harper government just months before the biggest battle of the party’s life.
And, in case you've forgotten, his exit mirrored Stephen Harper's:
Oddly enough, Stephen Harper did the same thing himself back in 1997 when he quit the Reform Party. Harper quit because he believed Reform was going to lose. (They actually became the Official Opposition.) And MacKay was the cabinet minister who said the Tory caucus was like a “morgue” after the recent Alberta election went to the NDP — perhaps a sign for him that big political changes were on the horizon.
Something is happening in Harperland. Over the last two years, the prime minister's A team has simply got up and walked away. Andrew Coyne, however, believes that Mackay really wasn't A team material:
Harper made him his first foreign affairs minister, an appointment that caused great puzzlement in Ottawa, though not nearly as much as in other capitals, where the notion that the foreign minister should be something other than a placeholder for the prime minister still holds. More importantly, he was given responsibility for ACOA, his father’s old firm, in which he carried on the family tradition with alacrity.
After 18 unmemorable months at Foreign Affairs, he replaced Gordon O’Connor at National Defence, where he oversaw a string of procurement bungles culminating in the F-35, whose costs the government understated by a factor of five, staving off Parliament’s demands for the real figures just long enough to win re-election.
Then it was off to Justice, where he was responsible for shepherding a number of bills through Parliament that seemed almost designed to be found unconstitutional, even as Justice department lawyers were losing case after case at the Supreme Court.
Mackay was, like Harper himself, all hat and no cattle:
That such a palpable cipher could have remained in high office for nearly a decade is a testament to many things: the thinness of the Tory front bench, the decline of cabinet, the prime minister’s cynicism, the media’s readiness to go along with the joke. The one thing it does not signify is his importance. He had all of the titles, but little influence, and less achievement.
He will long be forgotten.