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BC Attorney General Penner steps down, won't run again

BC Liberal Attorney General Barry Penner has suddenly resigned and will not run in the next provincial election, increasing speculation that Premier Christy Clark will call a snap vote this fall.

Penner says he's quitting to spend more time with his young family after 15 years as an MLA for the Chilliwack area, most recently in Chilliwack-Hope riding.

"Spending more time at home this summer, and going on short hikes with my young family in recent weeks, has reminded me how much this job takes me away from home," Penner said in a statement.

"Now that I have a beautiful wife and a baby daughter, being away is a price paid not just by myself, but by those I love the most. And while I certainly have loved doing the work that comes with this job, I believe this is the right decision for me and my family."

Penner became environment minister in 2005 and attorney general last year, continuing in that role after Clark took over from ex-premier Gordon Campbell.

Penner was not a supporter of Christy Clark's bid for leadership of the BC Liberals -- he remained neutral for that campaign as a member of the convention committee -- but has been a mainstay in cabinet. 

Penner survived a bout with cancer in 2007.

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper.

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