Sunday, December 05, 2010
BREAKING NEWS: Premier Gordon Campbell to quit as Vancouver-Point Grey MLA after new BC Liberal leader chosen
BC Premier Gordon Campbell says he will likely give up his seat as the MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey after a new BC Liberal leader is chosen by the party on February 26, 2011.
Campbell told the Globe and Mail newspaper's Rod Mickleburgh today that: "I think it’s very difficult to stay on in caucus, when you’ve been the leader for 17 years."
While Campbell was not completely definitive, it's clear he will not stick around after making statements like that.
His resignation would leave the new BC Liberal leader two options - call a by-election or leave the seat vacant until an early provincial election takes place. The by-election option would potentially give a non-MLA chosen premier and party leader the opportunity to gain a seat without calling a full election.
Can you spell "Christy Clark"?
Alternatively, the seat can be left open for up to 6 months after Campbell officially resigns, according to the BC Constitution Act.
Therefore the exact timing of Campbell's resignation is of critical importance to BC Liberal Party election planning.
Were Campbell to date his resignation effective March 1, 2011 - a few days after his successor is chosen - that would mean either a by-election or general election would have to be called by September 1, 2011.
Another factor is the sitting of the BC Legislature, which resumes on February 14, 2011.
Campbell will still be presiding as premier and should his successor not be an MLA - hello again Christy Clark - then the legislative session would have to continue with the new premier absent from all debates - and question period. This would be an unusual and unhealthy development for democracy, though the BC Liberals could appoint a deputy premier to answer questions in the House.
All in all, yet another unprecedented day in BC politics - the envy of North America for all political columnists, reporters and observers who can't believe how much there is here to write, broadcast and pontificate about!