Parliamentarians of the Year (best orator): John Baird

As a speaker, John Baird has uncommon energy, eloquence and range

Recently in the House, when, at the end of question period, the Bloc Québécois’s André Bellavance asked the government about its plans for spending cuts, it wasn’t immediately clear who among the Tories would take the question—so ensued five or 10 seconds of awkwardness, until Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, despite having no responsibility in this regard, and without benefit of script, leapt up and spun a vague but applicable response: “Mr. Speaker, we are obviously seeking to ensure that every dollar of taxpayer money is spent wisely,” he intoned.

Not his finest hour, but in such workaday moments a man’s mettle is revealed: Baird is a masterful, and enthusiastic, orator. “The first rule of Canadian politics is, never ask him a question, because you’re going to get your head handed to you,” says NDP MP Pat Martin. “You couldn’t actually maintain that level of choleric, or it would eat you alive,” says Martin, who knows of bombast and faux indignation, as evidenced by last week’s profane Twitter tirade.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS OF MACLEAN’S PARLIAMENTARIANS OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Baird enjoys repartee with Martin; other MPs, not so much. “When I was government House leader and taking questions for the PM, I would always dread when I looked across the aisle to see Michael Ignatieff wasn’t there—and Bob Rae was,” he says. Baird, for his part, admires Ronald Reagan’s speaking style, but is in private more likely to quote The Simpsons.

RUNNER UP: Pat Martin




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Parliamentarians of the Year (best orator): John Baird

  1. John Baird best Orator?
    That is simply absurd or it just goes to show the lack of coherent speaking ability present in the House of Commons.
    John Baird is one of the most obnoxious individuals to grace the Parliament of Canada with his spiteful attitude and

    A good Orator should be able to connect with an audience and convince people to change their minds and method of thinking on a issue.

    This is not done by just raising his or her voice in order to shout down the individual asking the question as if often done by Baird.

    Martin Luther King was a good Orator
    Mahatma Gandhi was a good Orator

    John Baird is just a man with a loud voice.
    Although I can’t think of any other individual who would even be able to compete for this award as most politicians suck.

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