Baird's style was brash, blunt, and often confrontational, making him sometimes sound like the vocalization of the publicly staid Harper's unspoken thoughts.
Canadian foreign policy has shifted sharply during Baird's term in Foreign Affairs and that shift has pleased those who want Canada to take principled stands on global issues as much as it has infuriated those who wanted previous governments' stances of moral and cultural equivalence and equivocation.
Not since Brian Mulroney's Conservatives took the lead on opposition to South African Apartheid has Canada seen such international leadership in Foreign Affairs. Under Baird, Canada has stood at the forefront of its support for democratic Israel against the barbaric dictatorships that surround it in the middle east. Under Harper and Baird, Canada has been outspoken in his criticism of persecution of gays in Uganda and Russian expansionism in Ukraine.
The last few years and the Conservative government's policies have represented a drastic shift from a Foreign Affairs approach based on expediency to one based on principle. That shift has driven some people apoplectic with rage, particularly the apologists for Islamist totalitarianism that infest the media and academia. The government's approach has also presented tremendous difficulty for Canada's opposition parties in Parliament, who when attacking the government's policies often seem stupid, weak and confused.
That happened again just last week, when Justin Trudeau floundered and seemed almost incoherent in an interview with London radio host Andrew Lawton, in which the Liberal Party leader tried to play both sides of the issue of Canada's involvement in the fight against the terrorist Islamic State forces.
It took the Liberal Party's erudite Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau's forceful presentation to Parliament to salvage yet another of Trudeau's public blunders.
Garneau made it clear his party is behind the fight against ISIS, but wants the government to be forthright on what level of military support Canada provides. That left the NDP in a disadvantaged position of reinforcing the image of its leader Tom Mulcair, whose persona is one of a politician who is perpetually angry, reflexively obstructionist, and incapable of leadership in times of serious security challenges.
The change at the top post at Foreign Affairs also reiterates another advantage that the Conservative party has which the Liberals and NDP do not. That of having deep benches.
MPs like Jason Kenney, Chris Alexander, Lisa Raitt, and Tim Uppal, are all exceptionally bright and capable, each of whom could stand as national leaders in their own right.
|NDP Deputy Leader Megan Leslie|
But that's nothing compared to the NDP, who have an intelligent and articulate if inconsistent leader in the person of Tom Mulcair, but effectively, the party has no one else ready for prime time. The NDP has such a dearth of talent that it has had to employ utter dolts as its deputy leaders. It has the soon-to-retire Libby Davies from the west coast, who has made it her business to say idiotic things and champion deranged causes throughout her career. On the east coast, Mulcair's Deputy is Halifax MP Megan Leslie, whose level of seriousness might be suggested by the oral sex enhancer she had implanted in her tongue. As appealing a modification as that may be, it leaves something to be desired as a confidence-builder for national leadership.
Unfortunately for Mulcair, he has more than one MP in his caucus who has had their tongue pierced, but none who have done him the favor of having it totally surgically removed.
Despite John Baird's departure from Foreign Affairs, Canada will retain strength and good judgement in its international relationships and standing. The concern Canadians should have is the lack of gravitas and talent in our weak opposition parties should they ever form a government.
The common theme of our foreign affairs via @Baird: if you stand for individual liberty and the rule of law you will have an ally in Canada.
— Stephen Taylor (@stephen_taylor) February 3, 2015