Kevin Falcon leaving politics
Aug 29, 2012 / 10:30 am
British Columbia Finance Minister Kevin Falcon is quitting his cabinet post and won't run in May's election.
Falcon has been signalling since last spring he was reconsidering his future since getting married and becoming the father of a daughter. He announced Wednesday he and his wife are expecting their second child.
He said he told Premier Christy Clark of his decision this morning, saying he wanted to ensure she had time to choose a successor as the party heads toward a difficult May 2013 election.
"I think it's very important for the premier to have a minister of finance who, throughout the fall, is putting together an administrative agenda. . . that they are prepared to fight for during an election."
Last March at the legislature in Victoria, he candidly discussed what he was pondering.
"I care a lot about the (Liberal) party,'' he said.
"I've invested a lot of time in it. But I also care a lot about my family. I have a young child at home. Before I make a major decision like that, I want to make sure I spend the time thinking about it and talking to my family and thinking about our future.''
Falcon was a key member of Clark's government and the coalition that she must maintain to have a hope of winning the next election.
Falcon, who placed second to Clark in last year's leadership campaign, comes from the side of the party that leans Conservative federally, while Clark had always been federally aligned with the Liberals.
The Liberals have been badly faltering in the polls as some of her right-of-centre supporters flee to support the fledgling B.C. Conservative Party and the NDP surge.
After the leadership vote in February 2011, Clark appointed Falcon finance minister, giving the Surrey-area politician the daunting task of trying to sell the hated harmonized sales tax to British Columbians.
Voters dumped the tax in a provincewide referendum and Falcon was dutifully overseeing the dismantling of the HST and guiding the return to the previous provincial sales tax, which he often referred to as a "stupid tax."
Falcon represents the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale, was first elected in 2001 and then re-elected in 2005 and 2009. He previously served as the minister of health and the minister of transportation.
Prior to Clark's return to B.C. politics after her stint in private life as a radio host, it was perceived that Falcon was being groomed as Campbell's replacement.
He excelled as transportation minister, where he managed major projects, including the new William Bennett Bridge across Okanagan Lake in Kelowna.
Campbell then promoted him to the often difficult health ministry where Falcon introduced controversial changes to residential care and new information technologies.
During the leadership campaign, Falcon courted the business community and often touted tax cuts as the way towards a flourishing B.C. economy.
"That has always been the lesson of tax cuts: we end up generating more revenues back to government,'' Falcon said last year. "I've always been a believer in that and I think the numbers bear that out very, very clearly.''
Falcon also gained a reputation as a fierce debater in the legislature, always willing to take on the New Democrats in verbal jousts over free enterprise versus social engineering.
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