By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 4, 2015
John Baird resigns in emotional House of Commons speech
Baird, 45, whose resignation caught Parliament Hill almost totally off guard, delivered the surprise announcement in the Commons on Tuesday morning. He is stepping down as foreign affairs minister and leaving politics, the Ottawa member of Parliament said.
“The time has come to start a new chapter in my life,” Baird said in an emotional speech to fellow MPs. He did not explain what he will be doing next, though it is expected he will take a job in the private sector.
Tearing up, Baird said, “I will miss this place very much.”
Baird said he informed Harper last night of his intention to leave Parliament Hill. Baird received a standing ovation from MPs and after his speech, members lined up and wished him well one by one, with handshakes and hugs on the floor of the Commons.
“John has always been willing to do a lot of heavy lifting in my various cabinets and has assumed daunting new responsibilities with unsurpassed energy, commitment and professionalism, never losing sight of the fact that he was serving the Canadian people,” Harper said.
But the unexpected resignation of one of Harper’s strongest performers was a blow to the Conservatives, who face the prospect of an election later this year. Without Baird, the party will have to refurbish its political operation in the Ottawa area. (Source: Toronto Star)