February 2, 2015 11:02 pm
Updated: February 3, 2015 11:36 am

John Baird resigning as foreign affairs minister to seek ‘new opportunities’

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014 .


TORONTO – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to resign from his position and will not run for re-election in the next general election, Global News has confirmed.

Baird, 45, has held several high-profile positions in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, including the transport and environment files. Baird represents the riding of Ottawa-West Nepean in the House of Commons, and previously held the riding in the provincial legislature.

READ MORE: Ex-Aussie PM wants John Baird to help him fix WHO and other UN organizations

A source close to the minister told Global News Baird is leaving to pursue “new opportunities” in the private sector.

“He’s had a successful career in both provincial and federal Parliaments, this was simply the right time to move on,” said the source speaking on condition of anonymity. “The minister is looking to turn the page on 20 years of public service, and like anyone in public office is looking for new opportunities at the young age of 45.”

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WATCH ABOVE: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is in the prime of his political career – so why are there reports he’s considering stepping down? Mike Le Couteur reports.

Baird has recently been working to secure the release of Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy in Egypt. According Fahmy’s family the Egyptian-Canadian journalist will renounce his Egyptian citizenship in the hope of being released.

READ MORE: Why does Mohamed Fahmy have to give up citizenship for freedom?

Baird’s departure from cabinet, along with last year’s resignation of Jim Flaherty before his death, will mean Harper has lost two powerful ministers in less than a year.

“He has always been a loyal and faithful supporter of the Prime Minister and this government, and he looks forward to campaigning for their re-election,” the source close to Baird said.

Ontario MPP Lisa MacLeod tweeted her support for Baird, who was elected to Queen’s Park at the age of 25.

*With files from Amy Minsky

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