John Baird, ex-Harper cabinet minister, won't run for Conservative leadership
Key figure in Harper government surprised many by quitting politics earlier this year
Former cabinet minister John Baird says he won't run for the Conservative leadership.
Baird surprised many earlier this year when he abruptly quit politics after two decades.
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He held a variety of federal portfolios, including environment and foreign affairs, before stepping down.
He began his elected career with the Ontario Progressive Conservative party in 1995 before making the successful jump to federal politics in 2005.
There had been brief speculation that he was contemplating a bid to replace Stephen Harper at the Tory helm.
In a statement on Monday morning, Baird put an end to that idea.
"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," he said.
"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."