Peter MacKay Biography

(50th Minister of Justice Attorney General of Canada)

Birthday: September 27, 1965 (Libra)

Born In: New Glasgow, Canada

Peter MacKay is a Canadian lawyer and politician who served in various ministerial positions in the administration of 22nd Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. These included Minister of Justice and Attorney General (2013–2015), Minister of National Defence (2007–2013) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006–2007). For eighteen years – 1997 to 2015 – he was a Member of Parliament, first representing Pictou–Antigonish-Guysborough (1997 to 2004) and later Central Nova (2004 to 2015). He was the leader of Progressive Conservative Party of Canada for a short period of time and led its merger with the Canadian Alliance headed by Stephen Harper. The merger resulted in the formation of a new party called Conservative Party of Canada of which Peter MacKay became the deputy leader. Earlier, he studied law and established a private law practice before being appointed the Crown Attorney with the Nova Scotia government. He then turned towards politics and got elected for the House of Commons of Canada for the first time in 1997. In 2015, he took a hiatus from federal politics and returned to law profession. In 2020, he returned to fight the election of Conservative party leader; however, he was defeated.

Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In September

Also Known As: Peter Gordon MacKay

Age: 58 Years, 58 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Nazanin Afshin-Jam

father: Elmer MacKay

mother: Eirene Macha MacKay

siblings: Cethlyn MacKay, Mary Louise MacKay, Rebecca MacKay

children: Caledon Cyrus MacKay

Born Country: Canada

Political Leaders Canadian Men

Notable Alumni: Acadia University, Dalhousie University

More Facts

education: Dalhousie University, Carleton University, Acadia University

Childhood & Early Life

Peter Gordon MacKay was born on 27th September, 1965 in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada as the second child of Elmer and Eirene Macha MacKay. He has three siblings.

His father served as the Member of Parliament for more than two decades and is also a lawyer and a businessman. His mother worked in the area of international justice and peace as well as women’s health. His parents divorced when he was eight years old.

For his education, he went to a one-room schoolhouse near the family farm in Lorne, Pictou County and later attended Horton High School in Nova Scotia.

He then joined Acadia University/Carleton University from where he completed his Bachelors in Arts in 1987. He then pursued law from Dalhousie University and completed his Bachelor of Laws in 1990.

While still in high school, he worked at a gas station and served as a linesman and a stevedore on supply ships to the High Arctic.

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After completing his studies, he was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1991. He became a general practitioner and public defender and started his law practice in New Glasgow above a local pizzeria.

The same year, he worked for a steel producer Thyssen Henschel, first in Nova Scotia and then in Germany.

Upon his return, he took up the position of Crown Attorney with the Nova Scotia government in 1993. He prosecuted cases at all levels; however, the flaws and weaknesses of the justice system disappointed him immensely. It was this frustration that made him turn towards politics and seek changes in the system.

In 1997, Peter MacKay contested and got elected to the House of Commons of Canada for the first time. He was Progressive Conservative MP for Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough (up till 2004) and was amongst the young MPs who were considered for future leadership roles in the party.

His first term in the office saw him serving as the House Leader for the Progressive Conservative (PC) caucus (1997-2001) and dealing with issues related to management and operations of Parliament. He also became the justice critic in the PC party.

Additionally, he served as the PC member of the Board of Internal Economy and the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. He worked as an associate member of the Standing Committees on Canadian Heritage, Finance and the sub-committee on the Study of Sport too.

He was re-elected in 2000 federal election and was seen as the future leader of the party succeeding Joe Clark. The following year, he successfully held talks with disaffected Canadian Alliance MPs and became the House Leader of the new PC-DR Parliamentary Coalition Caucus. The Coalition Caucus lasted just few months.

In 2003, he assumed the leadership of Progressive Conservative Party after signing an agreement with fellow candidate David Orchard. As per the deal, Orchard agreed to back MacKay and in return asked the latter to review the North American free-trade agreement and avoid a merger with the Canadian Alliance, then headed by Stephen Harper.

Later om, Peter Mackay encouraged talks between Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives members leading to a merger to form the new Conservative Party of Canada headed by Stephen Harper. Peter MacKay was appointed deputy leader of the new party in 2004 and continued in the position till 2015.

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In the 2004 federal election, he represented the Conservative party of Canada and won the Central Nova constituency, a seat that he retained till 2015.

Following the non-confidence motion passed against the Liberal government in 2005, elections were held in January 2006. The conservative party formed the new government with Stephen Harper as the Prime Minister.

MacKay was given the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was named Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Additionally, he was assigned to be the political minister for both his home province, and for neighbouring Prince Edward Island.

In 2007, Stephen Harper shifted him from the ministry of Foreign Affairs to Defence. As Minister of National Defence, the following year, he announced the launch of a broad and expensive program to upgrade Canadian military equipment.

In 2010, he also announced the government’s plan to buy 65 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin to replace the old CF-18s. However, he and the government received criticism for underestimating the actual expenses for the program.

He also received criticism for misusing public funds when it came to light that he ordered a Canadian Cormorant military helicopter to pick him up from a fishing trip in Newfoundland. Peter MacKay, on his part said, that it was meant to demonstrate the helicopter’s search-and-rescue capabilities.

In 2013, he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, a position in which he continued till 2015.

In 2015, he announced his intention to step away from federal politics and hence did not contest the year’s federal election.

The following year, he returned to law profession and joined Baker McKenzie as a partner.

In 2020, after a five-year break from politics, he fought Conservative Party of Canada leadership election; however, lost to Erin O’Toole.

Family & Personal Life

In 2012, Peter MacKay wedded Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian-Canadian human rights activist and author who is a former Miss World Canada. The couple have three children – two sons, Kian Alexander MacKay and Caledon Cyrus MacKay, as well as a daughter Valentia Makaja MacKay.

The Canadian newspaper and daily news website The Hill Times named Peter MacKay Canada's Sexiest Male MP every year from 1999 to 2007 and then again in 2009. In 2008, he bagged the second position behind Maxime Bernier.

He is the co-chair of Boost-Child Youth Advocacy Centre and is one of the board of directors of Special Olympics Canada.

He has been on numerous volunteer boards including New Leaf and Tearmann House.

He also spends his time with Children's Aid Society, Covenant House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, and the Canada-United States Law Institute.

He is the founder of Halifax International Security Forum.

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