Finally somebody tells the truth about resigned Tory minister John Baird. Leave it to Haroon Siddiqui to cut through the self-serving booswa on Baird.In another column the fine Star columnist Chantal Hébert got it right when she lauded Baird as a good “political operative.” That nobody can deny. But as far as being anything but a marionette for his boss’s regressive policies, Baird brought nothing to the table.
I have a couple of well-connected friends, one a longtime NGo worker abroad who told me people are in shock at Canada’s loss of global prestige,that of an honest broker.All gone under the Harperites. We are seen as a pale imitation of our once respected international self and a pathetic aper of american Republican values. what a climbdown. Here’s Siddiqui nailing Baird to the mast:
He himself is full of self-serving smugness — how he wrought wonders under the guidance of the Great Leader. Stephen Harper praised him for doing some heavy lifting for the Conservative cause. Both are entitled to mutual self-admiration. Critics are free to take the opposite view.
But it takes shamelessness, a.k.a. unmitigated gall — and/or blind faith in a make-believe world — to claim, as Baird does, that “I have seen the stature of this country grow in the eyes of the world.” Or that “Canada has stood up for the oppressed.” Or that he has taken “Canada’s strength, Canada’s compassion and Canada’s values in every corner of the world.”
The pronouncements are in inverse proportion to reality.
Canada’s status sank so low under Harper that, for the first time in our history, we suffered the ignominy of a loss in a bid for the rotating seat on the UN Security Council. That shameful episode preceded Baird at Foreign Affairs but he became lead spear carrier for the very policies that led to that fiasco, including disdain for the UN, principally because it tries to hold Israel’s feet to the fire of international law.
Canada is still isolated. It was in a minority of nine at the General Assembly when 138 states voted to grant Palestinians “non-member observer state.”
As for Ottawa standing up for the oppressed, ask the Palestinians, now in their 48th year of an oppressive occupation. Some of them pelted Baird’s motorcade with shoes and eggs when he visited the West Bank last month.
Ask the tens of thousands of Egyptians rotting in jails what they think of Canada cozying up to their tormentor, the military dictator Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Ask the dissidents in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain what they make of Canada lining up with the rulers who crushed their Arab Spring.
One should chuckle at two ironies.
First here’s a guy who has been at the public trough all his life. Tories love to mock people in the public sector.Now Baird will go out to the private sector and make a load of cash along with his gold plated pension which by the way kicks in at 55 not 65 if he waited for another election.
Why does this guy need the money? He has no kids. Can it be pure greed?
The second irony is this. Tories like Baird are described as having given twenty years of “public service.” Wrong right wingers like Baird have done their damnedest to destroy public service. They are all privatizers who hate unions, trees, lakes and clean air which stand in the way of their friends’ ability to pollute God’s creation.
Siddiqui nailed it when her referred to Baird’s essential shallowness.He had no great ideas about equity, the growing gap, the rape of the climate. he was simply a glib spear carrier for Stephen Harper.
Last word to Siddiqui:
On substance, Baird was seen as shallow by his own diplomats who found him glib and driven by pre-conceived notions. They resented being muzzled by him and Harper, and also the Conservative populist idea of selling off embassies and official residences, properties in choice locations that have long helped promote trade and attract investments to Canada.
Baird travelled a lot — like Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state — but with little to show for it. Whirling dervishes who went nowhere.
Baird was a great success as Harper’s megaphone — a classic case of serving the boss obediently. That’s not the same thing as advancing Canada’s interest or reputation.