Gordon Campbell announced his surprise resignation Wednesday, ending his nine-year reign as premier of British Columbia.
Campbell has been under increasing pressure as a result of a number of policies, including the introduction of the HST. Though he won three consecutive elections his approval rating had recently fallen below 10 per cent.
"After considerable soul searching and discussion with my family I have decided to ask the BC Liberal Party executive to hold a leadership convention at the earliest possible date to select a new leader for our party," Campbell said.
"Over the last few weeks, our government has continued to move forward with initiatives that will create jobs, build a stronger economy and support families across British Columbia. We made the second-largest reduction in personal income taxes in B.C. history. We launched new initiatives that will tailor our education system so that children get the best possible opportunity to succeed.
"Yet it is clear to me that those initiatives are being overshadowed. When public debate becomes focused on one person, instead of what is in the best interest of British Columbians, we have lost sight about what is important. When that happens, it's time for a change.
"This decision is what I believe is in the best interest of British Columbia, our government, our party and the people of our province. At a time like this, everyone's attention should be focused on helping our economy rebound from the global recession and moving forward with an agenda that families can see is in their long-term interest.
"It's time for a new person to lead. I am asking the party to move as quickly as possible to organize a leadership convention."