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BC political leaders say farewell to Kevin Falcon

B.C. political leaders were quick to praise outgoing Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, who today announced his resignation from cabinet.

In a statement, Premier Christy Clark said:

"This morning Kevin Falcon advised me that he would be stepping down as Finance Minister and Deputy Premier and that he will not seek re-election in the next provincial election in order to spend more time with his family.

"I have asked Shirley Bond, Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to serve as Acting Finance Minister in the interim. Minister Bond already serves as Deputy Chair of Treasury Board and alternate Finance Minister.

"Kevin Falcon has been the hardest working Finance Minister in the country and I want to thank him for keeping us on strong fiscal footing, with a triple A credit rating despite the worst global recession in generations. He has made a remarkable contribution to our province and his public service is beyond distinction.

"I know how hard it can be to balance the needs and aspirations of family life while wanting to serve publicly. I wish Kevin and his growing family continued success and happiness and thank him for his incredible tenure."

Adrian Dix, leader of the B.C. New Democrats, tweeted: "Best wishes to @Kevinfalcon and his family on his retirement from politics. Disagreed often with Kevin but respected him very much as well."

John Cummins, leader of the B.C. Conservative Party, commented on his party's website:

"I want to acknowledge, first, Kevin Falcon's selfless public service since he won election to the legislature in May 2001.

"While he and I have not always agreed on public policy issues, I know that his intentions always were good and his actions always honourable.

"To that end, and on behalf of the BC Conservative Party, I sincerely thank Kevin and his family for their service in the interests of British Columbia, and I wish them good health and every success in their future endeavours.

"Second, I offer an observation on the manifest deterioration and on-going decline of the BC Liberal Party.

"It is evident that both the government and the governing party are in turmoil. In part that is because of internal dissension, but, more importantly, it is because British Columbians desire a fundamental change in how our province is governed, and a change in the government. ... Kevin Falcon's announcement today signals the beginning of a dramatic change in British Columbia politics and government, one welcomed and embraced by the BC Conservatives."

Falcon himself posted a statement on his website. It said, in part:

"Today I advised the Premier that I will not be a candidate in the upcoming Provincial election. I also informed the Premier that I will be resigning as Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance effective immediately. I will remain in my role as MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale.

"I have made these decisions for both personal and practical reasons. On the personal level, I wish to spend more time with my wife Jessica and our 2 ½ year old daughter Josephine. Of equal importance, I am pleased to publicly disclose that Jessica and I are expecting another baby due in February 2013. Those familiar with the role of a Minister of Finance know that the lead up to a budget and its delivery in February, is a time of great stress and pressure. I am looking forward to participating in this exciting event, unburdened by the demands of the office.

... "I want to thank Premier Christy Clark for her support and dedication as leader of our party and Government. Over the last 18 months, I have witnessed firsthand how well she can connect with individual British Columbians in communities across the Province. I also firmly believe that she is a great campaigner and communicator who will aggressively promote the Free Enterprise cause.

"I also wish to acknowledge the leadership of former premier Gordon Campbell, who I had the privilege of working with for almost 10 years. We all know that BC politics is tough on premiers and most leave office followed by much criticism. This was certainly the case with former premiers WAC Bennett and Bill Bennett, though the passage of time allows for a better perspective. The Bennetts are now viewed, appropriately, as visionary builders who guided British Columbia through challenging decades. Gordon Campbell repeatedly made difficult decisions to secure a better province for the next generation. I want to publicly thank him for providing his strong support and backing for numerous projects and causes I had the privilege of leading. ..."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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