A delight to see retiree John Baird at the Politics and the Pen beanfest at the Chateau Laurier last week, snorkelling back one more complimentary meal before embarking on his next adventure.
Sadly, the much-bruited “next chapter” of Beardy’s career arc does not seem to be unfolding quite as he—and we–had anticipated.
With nine years and change before he turns 55 and can start tapping his $64,381 pension from a grateful nation, the career politico is finding life outside the bubble that has sustained him from age 26 a mite inhospitable.
While Frank is certain the talented and well-connected statesman will eventually find a suitable colour of parachute, the rejections are beginning to pile up.
One of Rusty’s first calls was to Derek Vanstone, his pillow-biting crony from Queen’s Park and the PMO, now ensconced as VP of government relations at Air Canada, to sniff out the likelihood of a berth on the AC board. No joy.
Ditto at Toronto Dominion, where Beard’s reputation preceded and defeated him.
The lack so far of corporate swells eager to bump Beard onto the board merely reinforces the perception among Hill gossip queens that Rusty’s abrupt retirement announcement was about fleeing his past, rather than pursuing his future.
As Foreign Affairs Minister, the peripatetic bon vivant never seemed to be having anything other than the time of his nightlife, whether commandeering diplomatic residences with his party-hearty pals or prowling the clubs of Brazil, Shanghai and Thailand.
Certainly, whatever happened on his last toot to Israel in January that so titillated his RCMP minders has, so far, stayed in the Promised Land.
Stateside, Frank hears reports that D.C. police paid a visit to the Canadian embassy in Washington in September with some questions and concerns about a Canadian dignitary’s off-hours diversions in the capital, which one complainant had deemed rather more spanky than hanky.
And speaking of baseless, sniggering homophobia, a retired CIA agent, Jason Matthews, has turned to typing espionage thrillers. His debut, Red Sparrow, includes a character named Anthony Trunk, flamboyant Canadian assistant trade minister with a “predilection for men in their early 20s.”
Next chapter indeed!