Beleaguered British Columbia Premier resigns

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

File photo of Campbell, Premier of British Columbia.
Image: Mary McNeil.

British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell unexpectedly announced his resignation today, calling for a party leadership convention as soon as possible. He will remain until the Liberal Party caucus members select a new leader.

The Liberal Party premier gave his resignation during an unscheduled, hastily arranged press conference in Vancouver just one day ahead of a caucus meeting characterised as an emergency meeting at the city's airport. A full party convention, planned for later this month, is to be held in Penticton.

The Liberal government has been under increasing pressure since its 2009 re-election. A particularly contentious point is the introduction of a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) only weeks after their election victory with a campaign commitment never to implement HST.

Other scandals have dogged the party over the past year; allegations of corruption in the sale of BC Rail – itself another broken campaign promise. This was further aggravated by recent guilty pleas and convictions of David Basi and Robert Virk, and the announcement the government would pay the six million CAD (3.7 million GBP, 4.2 million EUR) defense bills of the disgraced government aides as part of their plea-agreement to lesser charges.

It was admitted post-trial the total bill for the case was CA$ 18 million (£11 million, €12.7 million), excluding the undisclosed Canadian police investigation costs.

As yet, no other Liberal party members have announced plans to stand for the Premiership.