Departure not a concern

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster isn’t concerned the departure of a high-profile politician will negatively impact a possible election call.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster isn’t concerned the departure of a high-profile politician will negatively impact a possible election call.

Barry Penner has resigned as B.C.’s attorney general and he will not run as Chilliwack-Hope MLA in the next election. An election could possibly come as early as this fall according to media speculation and even comments from Premier Christy Clark.

“I don’t know if it means a whole lot,” said Foster of Penner’s decision.

“Nobody should read anything into this. People make these decisions all of the time.”

Penner says he wants to spend more time with his wife and young daughter, and the decision to step down was partly triggered by Liberal Party documents asking him to identify his election campaign team.

“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.

Under provincial legislation, there doesn’t have to be an election until 2013.

Foster says he has not received any election-related documents and says the only ones really focused on a possible election is the media.

“There’s talk about it everywhere but there’s more discussion about the fall agenda at the Legislature than anything else,” he said.

The government is also awaiting the outcome of the referendum of the harmonized sales tax.

Foster wouldn’t speculate on whether the final results will dictate whether there is an election this fall.

“It will certainly make a difference on how we move forward policy wise,” he said.

The results of the referendum could be known Thursday.

As a result of Penner’s resignation, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond will also serve as attorney general.

— with files from Black Press reporter Tom Fletcher