After two decades as a high-profile political operator, John Baird has bid adieux to public service.
He's moving on. Last week we learned he had signed on as an "International Strategic Advisor" to Barrick Gold, a "job" that pays well into the six numbers for the chore of attending one or two meetings a year.
When I told Peter Munk 15 years ago that I was willing to be a strategic advisor for a mere $75k a year, he laughed me out of his office.
I even gave him a bit of free strategic advice; a free sample as it were. Put Pascua Lama on ice, I said. It's gonna be a black hole, a money pit.
Get the fuck outta here, he says to me.
Woulda saved him billions to heed my advice.
Back to Baird. Last week Barrick Gold. This week Canadian Pacific. Yup, Bullshittin' Baird is now a director of the new and improved CPR, which also pays well into the six numbers for a couple meetings a year.
He'll feel right at home there. After all, when you listen to Hunter Harrison's bullshit 'n bluster, it's almost like you're listening to a more senile version of Baird.
And you can't blame Baird for looking out for his pocket book. After twenty-plus years of public service, his parliamentary pension is a paltry $65,000 per. Mind you, he must have something coming from Ontario, where he spent some time learning his chops at the feet of Mean Mike Harris, but still, he's gonna have hardly enough to pay for a decent bachelor pad on Bank Street.
But lets not fret. We're up to three or four meetings a year in return for half a million in the bank, and by my math I figure he can still squeeze a couple dozen more directorships into his schedule. A directorship with one of Sheldon Adelson's operations is a no-brainer; a thank-you for the yeoman's work he did promoting Likud and slandering Iran.
Plus, while he's never going to be an A-lister on the public speakers circuit, you can see him making a tidy 25-50k per engagement, mainly due to his extravagantly high profile as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a profile largely earned by being the most inept FM in Canada's history.
Oddly enough, at Barrick he'll be joined by the ultimate carpet-bagger, the Newtster, who managed to coax his net worth from twenty-nine dollars when he entered public service, to multiple millions today.
In the great US political system you don't have to retire before lining your pockets!