George Baker (politician)

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The Honourable
George S. Baker
Senator for Newfoundland and Labrador
Incumbent
Assumed office
March 26, 2002
Appointed by Jean Chrétien
Preceded by Raymond Squires
Member of Parliament for Gander—Grand Falls
In office
1988–2002
Succeeded by Rex Barnes
Minister of Veterans Affairs
In office
1999–2000
Preceded by Fred Mifflin
Succeeded by Ron Duhamel
Member of Parliament for Gander—Twillingate
In office
1974–1988
Preceded by John Lundrigane
Succeeded by First Member
Personal details
Born (1942-09-04) September 4, 1942 (age 71)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Political party Independent
Children Annelle, Averill, Eli, Joscelyn, and granddaughter Annelle.
Occupation Canadian Senator
Religion United [1]

George S. Baker, PC (born September 4, 1942) is a Canadian politician and member of the Senate of Canada.

Baker was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1974 election as the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Gander—Twillingate, in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was re-elected in every subsequent election (representing Gander—Grand Falls after 1988) until his appointment to the Senate by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in 2002.

Although a popular and articulate MP, he was hurt by the tradition of appointing no more than one Canadian Cabinet minister from Newfoundland at a time, and by his reputation as a maverick who said what he thought rather than what the party leadership would like him to say. Fred Mifflin's and Brian Tobin's appointments to cabinet following the 1993 election meant Baker had to remain on the backbench. Tobin's resignation from the cabinet to become Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador opened the way for Baker to be appointed as Minister of Veterans Affairs. But when Prime Minister Chrétien lured Tobin back to Ottawa for the 2000 election, Baker was removed from Cabinet. He was appointed to the Senate in 2002.

On January 29, 2014, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau announced all Liberal Senators, including Baker, were removed from the Liberal caucus, and would continue sitting as Independents.[1] According to Senate Opposition leader James Cowan, the Senators will still refer to themselves as Liberals even if they are no longer members of the parliamentary Liberal caucus.[2]

Baker lives in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, with his wife Averill Baker. He has four children; Annelle, Averill, Eli, and Joscelyn, and one granddaughter named Annelle.

Bloc Newfoundland controversy[edit]

In March 2009, as a Liberal Senator for Newfoundland and Labrador, he was the first among Newfoundland's federal parliamentarians to overtly call for the foundation of a new sovereigntist party, based on the Bloc Québécois, largely in response to the $1.7 billion cuts in equalization payments that represented no less than 20% of the province's budget, due to a change of how natural resources are factored in the calculation of equalization transfers.

This prompted a rebuke from the Prime Minister's office and political commentators in Toronto and Ottawa. Some Conservative MPs demanded that Michael Ignatieff kick him out of the Liberal caucus, that he refused to do. However, this action caused little outcry in his home province.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-removes-senators-from-liberal-caucus-1.2515273
  2. ^ "Trudeau’s expulsion catches Liberal senators by surprise". Globe and Mail. January 29, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 

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