Baird brings clout, baggage to his new job

Combative style and Harris-era recordmake some environmentalists nervous.


He’s a hyper-aggressive pit bull, whose main job will be to get under the skin of fledgling Liberal Leader St?phane Dion.
Or, he’s an effective political mover and shaker, close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who will get big things done.
You could take your pick yesterday, after John Baird, 37, a one-year member of Parliament and former Ontario cabinet member, was named Canada’s new environment minister.
Like Rona Ambrose, the relieved-looking Albertan he replaces, he comes to the job with almost no green credentials. The few connections he’s had with the issue make environmentalists nervous.
He was, for example, a core member of Mike Harris’s administration when it slashed environmental regulations. Last fall, he helped to kill a light-rail transit project in Ottawa, his life-long home.
He was energy minister under Ernie Eves, at the time the province flip-flopped on privatization of the electricity supply. That work experience doesn’t appear on the resum? handed out yesterday.

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