Become a Supporter

Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs resigns

John Baird confirmed his resignation Tuesday in Ottawa. Early reaction to the news was full of surprise, early analysis and predictions.

By: /
3 February, 2015
Baird.width-646.jpg

Late Monday evening, the CBC reported Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird is set to resign this week, and subsequent reports stated that Baird would likely make the announcement in the House of Commons Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.

Update as of Tuesday, Feb. 3: Minister Baird made his stepping down official in front of his parliamentary colleagues Tuesday morning, after two decades of political life, saying “the world continues to see the best Canada has to offer.” He did not state his future plans or explicit reasons for leaving office. Watch his full speech here.

Monday’s breaking news came on the heels of Baird’s meeting in Boston with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Antonio Meade, where he praised the recent renewal of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. It is also in the midst of negotiations for the “imminent” release of imprisoned Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, a dual Canadian-Egyptian national, who was said to have given up his Egyptian citizenship in order to return to Canada.

Baird, who has been Foreign Minister since 2011 and was first elected as MP in 2006, was expected to confirm his departure Tuesday. However within minutes of the report Monday night, Canadians on social media began discussing Baird’s possible reasons for resigning, his political future and legacy, and the next candidate who may take his place.

Commentary on his role in boosting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s foreign policy can surely be expected from all sides of the spectrum in coming days —already, Maclean’s Paul Wells was quick to call Baird a “breath of fresh air” who “travelled constantly, met everyone who’d talk to him, kept his eyes open, and radically expanded the breadth and complexity of the Harper government’s foreign policy.” Meanwhile, University of Ottawa’s Roland Paris said Baird “leaves behind a demoralized, beaten-down foreign service.”

Here is recap of Monday night’s commentary, in 10 tweets.

On the surprising move: 



On John Baird’s legacy:



 

On the future:



Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter