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Despite shrugging off suggestion that he should run, CPC stalwart and former Harper minister John Baird is reportedly considering a leadership bid, according to the National Post.
Baird, however, is still leaning against running for the party’s leadership, although he has yet to rule himself out. Speaking to the National Post, a source close to Baird said “It’s possible but it’s a long-shot.”
Much of Baird’s support comes from party members who are disgruntled by MacKay’s perceived “coronation.” Western Conservatives, in particular, feel alienated in this contest after Rona Ambrose chose not to run, and Pierre Poilievre—who was seen as a successor in the image of Harper—dropped out of the competition.
Baird is a deeply respected figure within the Conservative Party: he started campaigning for Conservative parties at the age of 16, has held ministerial office in both Queen’s Park and Ottawa, and served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs alongside other prominent cabinet positions in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
It is worth noting that Baird speaks French fluently, and despite hailing from Ontario, receives significant support from the large, western faction inside the Conservative Party.
Before Poilievre dropped out of the competition, Baird served as the Albertan’s campaign chair, which, instantly provided credibility to Poilievre’s campaign.