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The Hon. John Baird

June 12, 2019 by Speakers' Spotlight

Three Questions with Former Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, John Baird continually demonstrated his leadership on the world stage by championing freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

He was an instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, the Canada-China dialogue, and in building ties with ASEAN countries. He also worked closely with international leaders to strengthen security and economic ties with the United States and Middle Eastern countries.

Today, Baird is a senior business advisor with Bennet Jones LLP, and sits on the advisory board of Barrick Gold Corp. and the corporate boards of Canadian Pacific and Canfor. He also serves as a global strategic advisor to Hatch Ltd, a Canadian global engineering firm, and is a senior advisor at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

As we head towards a federal election, Baird sat down with us to answer three questions about issues impacting Canadians and making headlines, nationally and internationally.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a rise in populism globally. Canada hasn’t been immune to this. How may this impact the upcoming federal election and our political party system as it currently stands?

We have experienced populism on the right and the left. However, we have largely been immune from the growing anti-globalization trend that you see in the US and in Europe. Distrustful and disenfranchised populations will continue to fuel populist politicians in the upcoming federal vote.

A large percentage of Canada’s economy is resource-based. How do you see this being impacted as Canada responds to global climate change?

When government leaders present climate change as a moral issue, voters respond. When it is presented as an economic issue they start to respond negatively. A backlash against political correctness is also growing in Canada. This will be a central part of the upcoming federal election.

It’s been a turbulent year for trade relations, and Canadian consumers are starting to feel the ripple effects of it. Based on today’s trade landscape, what can we expect to see one year from now?

I am quite optimistic on the trade front for Canada. The re-negotiation of NAFTA, elimination of the steel and aluminum tariffs, and the coming into force of CETA and the TPP are good news. Growing protectionism in the US and the trade war with China are a huge risk to global economic growth. This could hurt economic growth in Canada and could even lead to a recession.

Having spent decades in Canadian politics, John Baird uses his insider’s perspective to breakdown today’s biggest headlines and how they impact Canadians.

Interested in learning more about John Baird and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at info@speakers.ca.