Opinion: Harper Team Falling Apart by Harvey Oberfeld



By Harvey Oberfeld
Keeping It Real…
February the 3rd, 2015


When you make a career out of any given calling … you don’t usually quit at 45 years old, when you’re at the top of your game …but have not yet achieved all you likely can.

But that’s what John Baird, 45, did in resigning not only as Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister but also announcing he won’t seek re-election either.

That isn’t exactly a great tribute to your boss!

Baird entered the political game when he only 25, serving in the Ontario Progressive Conservative cabinets f both Mike Harris and Ernie Eves; in 2006, he moved to federal politics and served as Transport Minister, Environment and Foreign Affairs. Some have even considered him a potential successor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Baird will likely never say so, at least until he writes his memoirs …and likely nit even then … but I have little doubt Baird is another victim of Harper’s one-man dictatorial style of governing … and determination to hang on to power for at least five more years … or at least try to do so.

Who needs it …if you have other more independent possible professional avenues to travel … even likely more lucrative ones!

And Baird is not alone in quitting.

Here is the Toronto Star’s updated list of the more than TWO DOZEN Tory MPs not running again:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird; Diane Ablonczy: Calgary—Nose Hill; Mike Allen: Tobique—Mactaquac; Ray Boughen, Palliser; Garry Breitkreuz: Yorkton—Melville; Rod Bruinooge, Winnipeg South; Patricia Davidson: Sarnia—Lambton; Barry Devolin, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock; Peter Goldring, Edmonton East; Richard Harris, Cariboo-Prince George; Laurie Hawn, Edmonton Centre; Russ Hiebert: South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale; Gerald Keddy, South Shore—St. Margaret’s; Greg Kerr, West Nova; Ed Komarnicki, Souris—Moose Mountain; James Lunney, Nanaimo—Alberni; Colin Mayes, Okanagan—Shuswap; Rick Norlock, Northumberland—Quinte West; Gordon O’Connor, Carleton—Mississippi Mills; LaVar Payne, Medicine Hat; Joe Preston, Elgin—Middlesex—London; Gary Schellenberger, Perth—Wellington; Joy Smith, Kildonan—St. Paul; Brian Storseth, Westlock—St. Paul; and, Maurice Vellacott, Saskatoo—Wanuskewin.

That’s a LOT … especially for a party in power, looking to defend a majority government.

And remember, despite criticisms during terms of office, MOST incumbents ARE re-elected when they seek another term … so the fact that so many (and more to come?) have had enough … MUST reflect at least somewhat on what it’s like to be part of a “Harper team”.

I suspect it’s not fun or rewarding or easily tolerable for ordinary MPs who went to Ottawa full of dreams of fully expressing themselves, pushing their own honestly-held beliefs and voting their consciences.

Not that I expect ANY of them will say that … at least until AFTER the next election!

And don’t write Baird off from the federal scene … once Harper is gone.

Harv Oberfeld


  1. Great insight Harvey! I’m just wondering if the numbers aren’t normal considering the total number of MP’s? The ones not running again probably qualify for a pension and maybe they’ve just gotten tired of two residences and endless travel. I guess my point is that I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of retirees under Chretien, Mulroney etc would be similar. I’m also not sure you can read that much into Baird since he’s been serving for twenty years. Maybe he’s having a midlife crisis? You aren’t the first person to surmise that Harper doesn’t play nice with others so your analysis might be 100% correct. Regardless I always appreciate your thoughtful opinion. Keep up the good work!


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