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John Baird rules out running for Conservative leadership

Former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird has ruled out running for the party’s leadership.

He made the announcement in a series of tweets on Thursday evening, two weeks before the deadline for candidates to join the race.

Baird said he wanted to “provide some clarity” on the issue.

“I sincerely appreciate all the emails, phone calls, and offers of time and energy,” he said just after 6 p.m.

“When I left politics after 20 years of elected office, I committed myself to an equally rewarding career in the private sector. I am incredibly happy with my post-political life and enjoy my work.”

Last week, Baird told Global News he had been taking calls and “weighing his options” with respect to the contest to replace Andrew Scheer.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had called on Baird to join the race.

“I really appreciate the comments made by Premier Kenney,” Baird told Mercedes Stephenson on The West Block.

“He’s doing a phenomenal job in the province of Alberta and was a good friend and colleague when we served together in Ottawa.”

The Conservative leadership contest is taking place on June 27 in Toronto.

Former cabinet minister Peter MacKay and current MPs Marilyn Gladu and Erin O’Toole are among those looking to replace Scheer.

Baird is the latest in a series of high-profile Tories who have decided against pursuing the leadership, including Rona Ambrose and Pierre Poilievre, as well as former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

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