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.
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:
BREAKING: John Baird to resign as foreign affairs minister as early as Tuesday, CBC News has learned http://t.co/eva8JSBiwQ #cdnpoli #hw
— CBC Politics (@CBCPolitics) February 3, 2015
John Baird is resigning? I”m not usually “shocked” by political resignations, but am very surprised by this one. — piya chattopadhyay (@piya) February 3, 2015
.@RobertFife reports Baird may be replaced by Jason Kenney or Chris Alexander but could also be Rona Ambrose or Tony Clemente. — Mercedes Stephenson (@CTVMercedes) February 3, 2015
On John Baird’s legacy:
Baird’s legacy as FM? Energetic promoter of Harper’s foreign policy. Loyal soldier, above all. — Roland Paris (@rolandparis) February 3, 2015
John Baird highlight was panicking the press by announcing Margaret Thatcher had died. It was the name of his cat http://t.co/OReZnsGJ2C — Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) February 3, 2015
Here’s how @Baird will be remembered. First enthusiastic guy to do PMO talking points, first to walk away from them. A lesson. #cdnpoli — Susan Delacourt (@SusanDelacourt) February 3, 2015
On the future:
John Baird isn’t running for Ontario PC leader unless the party is ex post facto changing the rules for him. Deadline is past. — Rob Silver (@RobSilver) February 3, 2015
If John Baird quits cabinet for #WHO position, I can explain why #cdnpoli It’s been my deepest research for 3 yrs ►http://t.co/jrsDiMMCDl — Amy MacPherson (@MsAmyMacPherson) February 3, 2015
I think it’s high time for Canada’s 3rd female Minister of Foreign Affairs. Finlay. Raitt. @MichelleRempel. #cdnpoli #WishfulThinking — Emmett Macfarlane (@EmmMacfarlane) February 3, 2015
Ed Fast to be named acting foreign minister after John Baird resigns. — Terry Milewski (@CBCTerry) February 3, 2015