OTTAWA (REUTERS) – Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird announced that he was resigning on Tuesday after 20 years in politics. Baird said he would step down as Member of Parliament in the weeks ahead.
Baird’s move leaves the Conservative government lack of a senior figure in the run-up to the general election set for this October.
Baird, 45, said that it was time to start the next chapter in his life. Since May 2011, he has served as foreign minister and has been a member of the Conservative government from early 2006.
Baird is a figure who was popular inside the party and had been particularly critical of Rusia over its involvement in Ukraine. He was also a strong defender of Israel.
Trade Minister Ed Fast will take over as foreign minister temporarily until Harper appoints a replacement for Baird.