Peter Gordon MacKay, PC, QC, MP (born September 27, 1965) is a lawyer and politician from Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the Member of Parliament for Central Nova and currently serves as Minister of National Defence in the Cabinet of Canada.
He is married to Nazanin Afshin-Jam an Iranian-Canadian model, singer, and human rights activist, and a former Miss World Canada. MacKay was the final leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (PC Party). On October 15, 2003, he and Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper agreed to merge the two parties, forming the Conservative Party of Canada. In December 2003, members of both parties ratified the merger.
MacKay was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. MacKay grew up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia with his three siblings. He graduated from Horton High School in Greenwich, Nova Scotia, and then went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Acadia University/Carleton University in 1987, MacKay then studied Law at Dalhousie Universityand was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in June 1991. Crown Attorney for the Central Region of Nova Scotia.
He worked for Thyssen Henschel, steel producer, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Düsseldorf and Kassel, Germany. In 1993, MacKay accepted an appointment as
MacKay was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the June 2, 1997 federal election for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, a riding in northeastern Nova Scotia. MacKay 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 August 2001, he was one of several PC MPs to engage in open cooperation talks with disaffected Canadian Alliance MPs in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. MacKay entered the first ballot of the PC leadership convention held on May 31, 2003. MacKay won the final ballot with nearly 65% of the delegates supporting him.
On October 15, 2003, the merger talks culminated in MacKay and Alliance leader Stephen Harper signing an Agreement in Principle on the establishment of the Conservative Party of Canada, whereby the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance would merge to form a new Conservative Party of Canada. On March 22, he was named deputy leader of the new party by newly-elected leader Stephen Harper. He was easily re-elected in the June 28, 2004 federal election in the newly redistributed riding of Central Nova.On September 29, 2005, the Premier of Nova Scotia, John Hamm, announced his intention to resign.
Following the Conservative victory in the 2006 election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named MacKay as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; he was also tasked to be the political minister for both his home province, and for neighbouring Prince Edward Island, just as his father Elmer had done between 1988 and 1993.
On August 14, 2007, Stephen Harper shuffled MacKay from Foreign Affairs to Defence, replacing Gordon O'Connor. In 2008, MacKay announced a broad exhaustive and very expensive program to upgrade the Canadian military's equipment, spending over $400 billion over 25 years.
During the 2011 election, MacKay retained his seat with some 56% of the vote. The Conservative Party of Canada won the election, gaining a majority of the seats in the House of Commons.
On January 4, 2012, MacKay married Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian-born former beauty queen, in a ceremony in Mexico. Afshin-Jam holds degrees in international relations and political sci
ence. She is co-founder and president of Stop Child Executions, a human rights group whose aim is to focus world attention on the plight of young people on death row in Iran.
March 29, 2012