John Baird to give up Ottawa West-Nepean riding in coming weeks

Ottawa West-Nepean MP John Baird officially resigned as foreign minister and will give up his riding in the coming weeks, Baird announced Tuesday in front of the House of Commons.

Baird stood up in the House just after 10 a.m. Tuesday to make the news official after word of it broke on Monday night.

In his speech, Baird thanked Ottawans and the people in his riding for their support.

"I am grateful for your continued trust, your vision, your community. Your support over these past 20 years means more than I can ever say in words," Baird said.

"Being foreign minister was a tremendous experience, but I never took your trust for granted. I never forgot about our city. Every day I was reminded that it was you that put your trust in me and gave me this incredible opportunity."

'Always respected his desire to fight for what he believed in,' mayor says

In an emailed statement issued while Baird was addressing the House, Mayor Jim Watson thanked Baird for his years of service.

"I always respected his desire to fight for what he believed in and for the residents of Ottawa whom he represented," Watson wrote. "I wish him all the best in wherever this next chapter of his career takes him."

"Locally, John Baird's achievements have had an enormous impact on our city," wrote Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod in a statement.

"The completion of the Vimy Memorial Bridge, the ... Queensway-Carleton Hospital land deal with the National Capital Commission and the renaming of Highway 416 to the Veterans Memorial Highway are just a few examples of John's local contributions. As a mother, I will always be grateful to John for his efforts to expand newborn screening in the province, opening the Ontario Early Years Centre and working to build new schools in Nepean-Carleton," she wrote.

'John Baird stood out,' constituent says

Some constituents in his riding had good things to say about Baird Tuesday, even those who otherwise don't support the Conservative party.

"I commend him. He got things done," said Dave Cox. "I wish him well, I really do ... and I'm not a Harper supporter, just to put that in perspective. John Baird stood out, I thought."

"I think he's been very proactive for this community," said Cheryl Sik. "I've never had any negative reactions to anything that he's done, or heard anybody who doesn't have a very good opinion of him. So it's unfortunate."

"I'll be concerned as to who's taking over, and if they'll have someone as good as him and someone as dedicated to this area," said Lucille Kennedy.

"I guess we can just hope that the right person replaces him."

While Baird represented Ottawa West-Nepean, he was nominated last March as the Conservative candidate in the newly-created riding of Nepean for the next federal election.