‘Barrick Gold’ Baird rules out Tory leadership run

John Baird, who resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs to take a job as an advisor with a corporation that received subsidies for its mining operations from the Harper government during the time he was in the Cabinet, has ruled out running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

“While I have indeed received expressions of interest and am tremendously flattered by the support, I will not be running for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada,” Baird said in a press release. “When I retired from politics, I spoke about starting a new chapter in my life. I am extremely happy with this new chapter and will remain dedicated to my work in the private sector.”

“I will not be offering further comment on the matter,” he concluded.

Shortly after Baird became the minister three years ago, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced a the establishment of ‘partnership’ with Barrick Gold in Peru, where the mining company was facing growing protests from the locals, while slashing funds long standing foreign aid groups.

While Baird claimed that his move to Barrick Gold has been cleared by the Ethics Commissioner, freelance investigative reporter Matthew Millar leaked documents showing how the Foreign Minister had a meeting with Barrick CEO Peter Munk at his private chalet in Davos, Switzerland days before taking up a job with the controversial mining giant.

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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 is serving 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.

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