Pro-Israel Canada FM to Step Down

Pro-Israel Canada FM to Step DownPro-Israel Canada FM to Step Down

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird plans to step down from his post, according to a person familiar with the decision, just months before the ruling Conservatives face the country’s voters to seek a fourth-straight mandate.

 The official who is close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper said late Monday that Baird simply felt it was the right time to move on after a successful career in both the Ontario provincial legislature and federal parliament. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, AP wrote.

Baird had little international experience before becoming foreign minister in 2011. He is known as a staunch supporter of Israel. Palestinian protesters hurled eggs and shoes at Baird’s convoy last month during a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian foreign minister.

Baird, 45, is one of Harper’s most trusted and loyal cabinet ministers. He previously served in Harper’s cabinet as house leader, environment minister, transport minister and treasury board president. He has a reputation for being hyper-partisan. He often escorted Harper’s wife, Laureen, to official events when Harper couldn’t attend. The official said Baird won’t be running for parliament in the next federal election, scheduled for October.

It is still unclear where Baird is headed, and International Trade Minister Ed Fast appears poised to take over as acting foreign minister.

He has been the voice of Harper’s foreign policy, one that is resolutely pro-Israel, outspoken against Russia and critical of the United Nations.