POLITICS

Some of what was said about the departure of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird

02/03/2015 02:21 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Some comments on the sudden resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird:

"I will miss this place very much and many of the people in it, on all sides, but the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life." — Baird, in Tuesday's farewell speech.

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"Parliament was better for his presence, the country better for his service. His many achievements will be honoured and remembered." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement.

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"It was always interesting working with John. It could be fun, he had a good sense of humour, but it could also be very passionate and he took his politics extremely seriously, but he also didn't take himself too seriously." — NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar.

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"What always drove the minister, as far as I can tell, was — like many in this place — to make a genuine difference. To make a difference in his country, to make a difference in this place and obviously, recently, on the world stage." — Dewar.

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"As parliamentarians, I think that we develop a bit of an instinct to know when some of our colleagues perhaps one day lose the sacred fire, that the passion begins to wane. This is a very demanding profession. And yet I think this is why we we all so surprised to find out last night that John Baird was leaving us, because if there is one person in this chamber whose passion never seems to have abated one second, who always had fire in his eyes and who still has fire in his eyes, it is surely John Baird." — Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau.

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"The public knows the minister of foreign affairs, who has sometimes been called a bullhorn, to be ultra-partisan. He has done that job very well. I have had the privilege of also discovering the minister of foreign affairs who the public knows less well." —Garneau.

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"He has his whole life ahead of him. I urge him to enjoy it. Have a wonderful life." — Green party Leader Elizabeth May.

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"It is a loss, because I think he was a person who was not only central to issues of foreign policy but he was central to the government's overall mandate and operation. He was a central figure in government. I think his voice will be missed and I think his presence will be missed." — Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.

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"Look, I think he's one of the people that understands that we can disagree without being disagreeable, so he had excellent relationships with his counterparts and other members of the house and opposition benches. I watched that and tried to emulate that. I thought that was a good thing to do as a human being." — Treasury Board President Tony Clement.

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There have been, I think, four moments in this Parliament that have caused all of us to think about our future. The first was the passing of Jack Layton, the second was when Bob Rae stepped down from public life. Last year when Jim Flaherty passed away and now with John Baird. It happens from time to time when people leave public life everybody stops and realizes this is a room with 308 people who all have their own life story, their own life journey and their own decisions to make about what's in the best interest of themselves and their families. John's made that decision today." — Industry Minister James Moore.

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