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BC Premier Gordon Campbell quits, calls for leadership convention

Gordon Campbell has announced he is stepping down as the Premier of British Columbia.

"After considerable soul searching and discussion with my family I've decided to ask the B.C. Liberal Party executive to hold a leadership convention at the earliest possible date to select a new leader," Campbell said at a press conference in Vancouver.

"It's time for a new person to lead the province," he said. Debates on policy issues have become overshadowed by the public's dislike for him personally, he said. "When that happens it's time for a change."

Campbell left a cabinet meeting to make the announcement. He did not take questions, but an official said Campbell will speak to media tomorrow in Vancouver.

Campbell said he would work on a smooth and orderly transition and thanked his supporters, colleagues, the public service and particularly his family.

"They have all paid a price for my 26 years of public service," he said. "Politics can be a nasty business." Sometimes that nastiness has spilled over into his family members' personal lives as well, he said. "I am sorry for that and I want to thank them all for their support and love."

His time as premier has been exciting yet challenging, he said. "I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in this position longer than most of my predecessors."

See also 'Politics can be a nasty business': Campbell Steps Down on The Tyee main page.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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