John Baird gets job with mining giant that got government subsidies when he was a minister

John Baird, who resigned last month as Minister of Foreign Affairs, has landed a job as an advisor with Barrick Gold, a corporation that received subsidies for its mining operations from the government during the time Baird was in the Cabinet.

The announcement shortly after Minister Baird became the minister that Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was ‘partnering’ with Barrick Gold in Peru, where the mining company was facing growing protests from the locals, while slashing funds long standing foreign aid groups caused a stir three years ago.

More than 3,000 protested against Barrick Gold’s presence in the district of Quiruvilca in the department of La Libertad claiming that the company reneged on the promise to provide jobs for local residents.

“Barrick Gold is a modern example of a powerful economic giant that unscrupulously manipulates local politics and is skirting environmental and social controls to maximize profit, minimize investment risk, and ignore local cultures and communities to the detriment of the greater global objectives of sustainable development,” Romina Picolotti, President and Founder of Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA) and former Argentine Secretary for the Environment said. “As the former environmental secretary, I can personally attest to Barrick’s tactics of obstruction to the control and compliance powers of the state. I have seen Barrick’s use of forceful propaganda and traffic of influence on public officials and its intense marketing and PR gimmicks with the local communities.”

Dozens of people have been fatally shot at Barrick Gold Corporation’s North Mara Mine in Tanzania since 2011 for trespassing, the site where fourteen women were sexually assaulted by the company’s security guards.

Baird, who serves on Barrick Gold’s board as an international advisor alongside chairman former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, received visits from the corporations’s lobbyists during his term in office as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Baird, who was the MP for Ottawa West—Nepean, resigned from his ministerial post on February 2 saying that it was time for him to move on to the private sector after more than two decades in politics, to be replaced by Rob Nicholson.