'Smile and never, never walk away': Peter MacKay addresses terminated interview
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2020 5:19PM MST Last Updated Friday, February 7, 2020 3:02PM MST
RED DEER -- Two days after his public relations team abruptly ended an interview with CTV News' Heather Wright, Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay addressed the incident.
MacKay was in Red Deer, Alta. as part of his campaign where he was asked by CTV News Edmonton about the interview.
"I had been speaking with CTV I think at that point for close to 45 minutes, maybe more like an hour and then as a courtesy I was asked, ‘Would you sit and answer a few questions?’ Which I did," MacKay said in a post-appearance scrum.
When asked if there was a lesson to be learned from the incident the former cabinet minister said: "Smile and never, never walk away ... so I’m not leaving until you turn off your camera," he told reporters.
The awkward exchange happened Monday where MacKay said he wanted to raise the bar for political discourse.
“I'm at a point now with some further private sector experience and some reflection that I'd like to do politics a little differently,” he said.
“Everybody says that but having been in it and left and coming back to it, I think I bring a new level of compassion, a new level of understanding of perhaps how things could work on a practical level and I'd also like, and everybody says this, but I would like to see some civility."
In response, CTV News questioned MacKay about a tweet his account sent out on Saturday, which criticized Trudeau for using $876.95 in Liberal party donations for yoga sessions, spa visits and other health club expenses.
MacKay said he did not agree with the tweet.
“That was something that happened that I'm not proud of,” he said. “I don't have the opportunity always to vet every single thing that goes on that social media account and so we are going to do better.”
It was then that MacKay’s media handlers shut down the interview.
“I think we're done,” said one. “You just went way over. I'm sorry,” another one added.
“She's just doing her job, she's a journalist” MacKay said.
MacKay is one of seven candidates -- including fellow frontrunner Erin O’Toole -- who’ve officially declared their intent to run for the Conservative leadership.
The party will select their new leader during a convention in Toronto on June 27.
With files from Jay Rosove, Heather Wright and Ben Cousins