By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 4, 2015
John Baird resigns in emotional House of Commons speech
John Baird, a veteran of Queen’s Park politics and one of the shining lights of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, has confirmed he is leaving public life.
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.”
He praised the economic and diplomatic efforts of the Harper government, saying “the world continues to see the best that Canada has to offer.”
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.
“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,” Harper said in a statement .
“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)
Also published at Yahoo News Canada, iPolitics and the Regina Leader Post