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Veteran MLA Colin Hansen won't run for BC Liberals in 2013

Long time BC Liberal MLA Colin Hansen announced this morning that he will not run in the May, 2013, provincial election.

Hansen has represented Vancouver-Quilchena for 17 years, and served in several senior cabinet posts under former premier Gordon Campbell.

"It is with very mixed emotions that I announce that I will not be seeking re-election," Hansen said in an emailed statement that detailed his history in government, but failed to give a reason for leaving politics now.

As finance minister before and after the 2009 election, Hansen was the government's lead on the HST, a move B.C. voters reversed through a successful initiative campaign. "With regards to the HST issue, we did not do an adequate job in how decisions were made and how they were implemented and, as the Minister of Finance at the time, I take the responsibility for that," Hansen's statement said.

"Many became convinced that we had planned the HST from before the election and that we had explicitly promised during the election that it would not be introduced," he said. "Neither of these perceptions is true and I accept responsibility for not being able to correct the public perception."

Hansen said he's found the last year and a half outside of cabinet fulfilling, including his work to improve the access to health data for "responsible researchers." He also mentioned he's proud of what's been accomplished under Premier Christy Clark's leadership.

Clark released a statement praising Hansen's passion and integrity. "He’s been an important voice in our caucus, and we’ll miss his keen intelligence, quick wit, and tireless work ethic," she said. "His decision not to seek re-election is not only a loss to his constituents but to the entire province."

In recent weeks several BC Liberals with cabinet experience have said they won't run in 2013, including Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Blair Lekstrom and Mary McNeil.

NDP MLAs Gary Coons and Diane Thorne have also joined those retiring from provincial politics.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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