Penner quits cabinet, won’t run again

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner has announced he is resigning as B.C. attorney general and won't run in the next B.C. election.

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner holds his daughter Fintry

VICTORIA – Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner has resigned as attorney general and won’t run in the next B.C. election.

After telling Premier Christy Clark of his decision Thursday morning, Penner said the time he has spent with his family this summer convinced him it is time for a change after 15 years as a politician.

Speaking to reporters as he packed personal items in the attorney-general’s office at the B.C. legislature, Penner said he will miss the challenging job. What he won’t miss are the two Blackberrys with a constant stream of messages and “a phone that never stops ringing.”

His government duties caused him to postpone holidays this summer, dealing with issues such as courtroom backlogs, the Stanley Cup riot and a gangland shooting in Kelowna. His last official meeting as attorney-general was on the ongoing investigation of polygamous relationships in the Kootenay village of Bountiful.

The decision point was the B.C. Liberals’ election preparations. Penner said he received papers from the party a few weeks ago, asking him to name his campaign team for the next election. That could be called as soon as this fall.

“I believe the premier and government would be better served having someone in cabinet who will be working with them, shoulder-to-shoulder, through to and after the next election,” Penner said.

At age 45, Penner has been an MLA for the Chilliwack area since 1996. He was appointed to cabinet as environment minister in 2005, and served briefly as aboriginal relations minister before being appointed to the attorney general role in December 2010. His political experience started in 1989 when he served as a legislative intern.

Penner said he will continue to serve as MLA for Chilliwack-Hope until the next election, and doesn’t know what he will do after that. He expects to contact the Law Society of B.C. to reactivate his licence to practise law.

Penner was treated for cancer in 2007, but he said he was clear of any problems at a checkup in June and health concerns were not a factor in his decision.

The top law officer in the province is traditionally a lawyer, but non-lawyers Colin Gabelmann for the NDP and Russ Fraser for Social Credit have served in the post previously.

The remaining two lawyers in the B.C. Liberal caucus are Health Minister Mike de Jong and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey council sets new rules for Good Citizen of the Year award

Candidates have more hurdles to jump before getting nominated for the prestigious local title

EXPLORE SURREY: Tee up some adventures in the city

Also: A walk through Surrey’s public art collection

In honour of player killed in crash, Surrey soccer team becomes BB5 United

Brandon Bassi died a few months before CCB won the national title last fall

North Surrey rink to reopen first as part of city’s phased schedule for facilities

Councillor pushes for Surrey’s pools and aquatic centres to reopen this month

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ to find Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

FoodMesh taking its emergency food recovery project nationwide

Pilot project in Chilliwack helped show that food surpluses could be diverted to charities in need

Most Read