Penner quits cabinet, won’t run again

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner has announced he is resigning as B.C. attorney general and won't run in the next B.C. election.

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner holds his daughter Fintry

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner holds his daughter Fintry

VICTORIA – Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner has resigned as attorney general and won’t run in the next B.C. election.

After telling Premier Christy Clark of his decision Thursday morning, Penner said the time he has spent with his family this summer convinced him it is time for a change after 15 years as a politician.

Speaking to reporters as he packed personal items in the attorney-general’s office at the B.C. legislature, Penner said he will miss the challenging job. What he won’t miss are the two Blackberrys with a constant stream of messages and “a phone that never stops ringing.”

His government duties caused him to postpone holidays this summer, dealing with issues such as courtroom backlogs, the Stanley Cup riot and a gangland shooting in Kelowna. His last official meeting as attorney-general was on the ongoing investigation of polygamous relationships in the Kootenay village of Bountiful.

The decision point was the B.C. Liberals’ election preparations. Penner said he received papers from the party a few weeks ago, asking him to name his campaign team for the next election. That could be called as soon as this fall.

“I believe the premier and government would be better served having someone in cabinet who will be working with them, shoulder-to-shoulder, through to and after the next election,” Penner said.

At age 45, Penner has been an MLA for the Chilliwack area since 1996. He was appointed to cabinet as environment minister in 2005, and served briefly as aboriginal relations minister before being appointed to the attorney general role in December 2010. His political experience started in 1989 when he served as a legislative intern.

Penner said he will continue to serve as MLA for Chilliwack-Hope until the next election, and doesn’t know what he will do after that. He expects to contact the Law Society of B.C. to reactivate his licence to practise law.

Penner was treated for cancer in 2007, but he said he was clear of any problems at a checkup in June and health concerns were not a factor in his decision.

The top law officer in the province is traditionally a lawyer, but non-lawyers Colin Gabelmann for the NDP and Russ Fraser for Social Credit have served in the post previously.

The remaining two lawyers in the B.C. Liberal caucus are Health Minister Mike de Jong and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Op-Ed: Modernizing forestry and prioritizing reconciliation

Doug Routley writes on Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley old growth deferrals

The log retaining wall that supports the access road to the Ladysmith Community Marina is failing and needs to be replaced. (Cole Schisler photo)
Remediation work for community marina access road expected to be costly

A log retaining wall between the access road and the parking area is failing and must be replaced

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read