This is a pretty good profile by Linda Diebel in today's Toronto Star of federal Tory cabinet minister John Baird.
I once shared drinks with Baird back in 2004 along with my then-young Tory boyfriend and a few other gay Tory acquaintances at Toronto's Byzantium. He's a sweet guy and obviously very talented at his chosen profession as political pit bull. Before then, I had little awareness of the large numbers of gay Tories out there. Those in the know will be aware that the friends of Baird quoted in the piece are gay themselves: Jaime Watt, Bob Richardson...
Yet the article remains decidedly in the closet - there's no clear indication that Baird is gay himself. Too bad. Instead, we only get the following lines:
"[Baird]'s single, lives in a Nepean townhouse characterized by Richardson as "a permanent bachelor pad" with his grey tabby, Thatcher."
And most interesting is how Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no problem letting Baird escort his wife Laureen to events in the capital.
"Mrs. Harper is fantastic," says Baird. "We get along fine."
It's interesting that Harper, with a reputation for being quite regressive on gay issues, seems to have no problems with such an arrangement.
Baird states that he has no plans to run for Conservative leader one day: "I don't have any plans. I think some people probably think about that. I don't."
A possible leadership bid would be one major reason for Baird to remain discreet about his queer sexuality, with his party still dominated by Stockwell Day types. Yet if running for leader isn't in the cards, why can't Baird just come out publicly? It would do the queer movement enormous good to have such a high profile and capable politician come out in the Conservative Party.