John Baird does it again as Stephen Harper’s most irreplaceable political asset, by just proving to be Baird himself. He has energized the front benches in Parliament and shown himself to be a worthy parliamentary performer. He’s one part strategist, one part bridge builder and one part political bulldog.
He is gifted with a politician’s memory—that ability to instantly recall the connections of names, faces and events. In conversation, he is a succession of anecdotes and jokes and kind words. He enthuses about the process of negotiation. Dewar, a fellow Ottawa-area MP who has collaborated with Baird on capital issues, calls him “pragmatic” and “straight up.” “He understands that if you’re going to move things along that you need to engage,”
“Every now and then I want to say, ‘Who is the real John Baird?’ ” says Liberal MP Rob Oliphant. “Is he that charming, boyish kind of person who is trying to win over the hearts of people? Or is he the pit bull?” The answer is both. Because both are politics. And John Baird is politics.