The Hon. John Baird
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird demonstrated his leadership on the world stage by championing freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Holding the position in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2011 to 2015, Mr. Baird had previously served at the federal level as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, and Minister of Transport.
Prior to being elected as a federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Baird served as the Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995-2005. In the Ontario Provincial Legislature, Mr. Baird served in a number of capacities, including as the Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Children, Deputy House Leader, Chief Government Whip, Minister of Energy and Government House Leader. He was known for championing the cause of people with developmental disabilities, and greatly expanded the Ontario work-for-welfare program. Mr. Baird also served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Labour, Management Board, and Finance.
Mr. Baird was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Ottawa West-Nepean in 2006. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed to the Privy Council as President of the Treasury Board in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first cabinet. He later served as Canada’s Environment Minister, where he oversaw the largest expansion of protected areas in Canadian history.
In the 2008 General Election, Mr. Baird successfully returned as MP for Ottawa West-Nepean. He was soon sworn in as Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, where he spearheaded the design, negotiation and delivery of some 12,000-infrastructure stimulus projects across the country.
In 2010, recognizing Mr. Baird’s ability to reach across the aisle and work with Members of Parliament from all parties, Prime Minister Harper asked Mr. Baird to help make Parliament work by appointing him to serve as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister also asked Mr. Baird to serve once again as Minister of the Environment.
Mr. Baird was named as Minister of Foreign Affairs following the federal election of May, 2011. As Foreign Minister, Mr. Baird led international efforts to end the barbaric practice of Child, Early and Forced Marriage, and promoted the role of women in emerging democracies as an essential pillar in Canadian foreign policy. He was also among the world’s most outspoken critics of hateful and outdated anti-gay legislation in places like Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia.
Mr. Baird is currently a special international adviser to Barrick Gold Corp. as a member of its international advisory board. His presentations provide unprecedented insight into national and international issues, including geopolitical and strategic matters.