Veteran cabinet minister John Baird, MP for Ottawa West-Nepean, has announced his resignation as Canada’s foreign minister and that he will not run in the federal election to be held later this year. He had been nominated as the Conservative candidate in the new riding of Nepean.
“I am eternally grateful for the trust and opportunity that the people of Ottawa West-Nepean placed in me as their representative for the past 10 years,” said Baird in a statement. “I also wish to thank the prime minister, my cabinet, caucus, and parliamentary colleagues for such a memorable experience.”
Since moving to federal politics – he was previously a provincial cabinet minister in Ontario – Baird has held several portfolios in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet including president of the Treasury Board (2006), minister of the Environment (2007, 2010), minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (2008), leader of the Government in the House of Commons (2010), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2011).
“I am excited for the next chapter of my life, but I will always be grateful for the experience I have earned at both the provincial and federal levels of government,” Baird continued. “There is no greater calling than public service to your country, and I am proud of what our Government has accomplished over the past nine years.”
It is believed Baird will pursue opportunities in the private sector.
A long-time and very vocal supporter of the State of Israel and the Jewish community, Baird reiterated his support – and that of the Canadian government – when he spoke forcefully to Ottawa’s Jewish community at the Rally for the People of Israel, held July 16, 2014 at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre during Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Baird was the honouree at a Jewish National Fund Negev Dinner, held in Ottawa November 20, 2012 at the National Gallery of Canada.
“It is with great regret and affection that I today accepted the resignation of one of the finest ministers that I have had the privilege of working with, John Baird,” said Harper in a statement.