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Top Canadian minister to announces he’s leaving politics

TORONTO (AP) — Another prominent member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government will not see re-election in Parliament in October.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, a former foreign affairs minister and defense minister, planned to make the announcement later Friday. The prime minister’s office said Harper would deliver remarks alongside him.

MacKay and Harper were instrumental in uniting the right in Canada in 2003. MacKay was leader of the Progressive Conservative party before it merged with the Alliance party to create the Conservative Party of Canada with Harper as leader.

The news comes after foreign minister John Baird unexpectedly announced he was leaving politics in February.

Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, said MacKay leaving is a blow to the Conservatives, who have been in power since 2006.

“The signal it sends, MacKay leaving after Baird, is that they are bailing,” Wiseman said. “They see the writing on the wall. It’s not going to be a majority Conservative victory. The likelihood of that is not great.”

Harper’s government has a majority of the seats in Parliament but Wiseman predicts that will change in October’s elections.

“Both MacKay and Baird have been in politics since they were pups. They both had senior positions, both foreign affairs ministers, and that opens up all kinds of corporate doors,” Wiseman said.

MacKay is also known for creating the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual forum in his home province whose participants include defense ministers and security officials from around the world.

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