Gordon Campbell steps down as MLA

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell has officially resigned his seat in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey, clearing the way for new Premier Christy Clark to call a byelection in the riding and run for a seat in the legislature.
Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell has quit as an MLA, leaving his seat open for a byelection. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

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  • Premier Christy Clark yet to announce where she plans to run.

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell has officially resigned his seat in the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey, clearing the way for new Premier Christy Clark to call a byelection in the riding and run for a seat in the legislature.

But as she headed into her first cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Clark told reporters that she has not decided yet when she will call a byelection and if she will run in Gordon Campbell's former seat. But she said it seems like the most likely scenario and she would like a seat in the legislature as soon as possible. 

Clark could call the byelection immediately and hold it as early as next month, but the law says the premier has six months to issue the call. She was sworn in as premier on Tuesday along with her new cabinet.

No future plans revealed

Campbell also has not revealed his plans for the future, saying only that he intends to remain in public life, but not in politics. There have been rumours he is seeking a diplomatic posting of some sort, but he has only said he is waiting see what opportunities arise.

"It has been an honour to serve the people of British Columbia as an MLA, as the Leader of the Opposition and as Premier," said Campbell.

"There are few things more rewarding than serving in public life and I feel fortunate to have had such an opportunity to do so for nearly three decades in a province and a city that I love."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked about Campbell's retirement from politics at an appearance in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday morning.

"Obviously I want .... to thank premier Campbell for his many years of service, not just to British Columbia, but his strong support for a united Canada and his strong partnership with our government in moving Canada forward, and, of course, most vividly illustrated by his leadership around the Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics," Harper said.

Asked about a possible federal appointment or some relationship for Campbell with the federal government, Harper said had no comment on Campbell's future plans.

"Those are decisions for him to make," he said.

"I met Premier Christy Clark today, and I’m very hopeful that we will continue to move forward in a productive relationship for both the national government and the Province of B.C.," he added.

A life in politics

Campbell first entered politics  when he was elected to Vancouver city council in 1984. He served as the mayor of Vancouver for three successive terms from 1986 to 1993.

He was the first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a 1994 by-election, winning the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena and serving as the leader of the opposition Liberals. He was then re-elected in Vancouver-Point Grey in 1996 and elected premier in 2001, 2005 and 2009.

Then in November of last year, he stepped aside as leader of the B.C. Liberal Party after public outrage erupted over the introduction of the HST.