Peter MacKay says he regrets how 'stinking albatross' comment was viewed

Former federal cabinet minister Peter MacKay announced his candidacy for the leadership of the federal Conservative party.

Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay says he regrets how some people interpreted his comment that current leader Andrew Scheer's socially conservatives values were a "stinking albatross.''

MacKay made the remark after the last federal election in referring to how Scheer was dogged during the campaign by questions about same-sex marriage and abortion.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney referenced MacKay's comment in an email this week where Kenney endorsed leadership candidate Erin O'Toole.

During a stop in Regina, Scheer's hometown, MacKay acknowledged that his comment "might have been a little raw at the time.''

He said if Conservatives want to return to government, they've got to be honest with themselves and be more forward looking.

MacKay says he believes he represents the values of conservatives in Alberta and Saskatchewan and is offering a more moderate centrist message than Scheer.