MLA Barry Penner (left) is seen here on election night

Top Stories of 2011: Barry Penner leaves politics

Chilliwack homeboy Barry Penner, who went from park ranger to become B.C.’s Environment Minister called it quits in August.

Chilliwack homeboy Barry Penner, who went from park ranger to become B.C.’s Environment Minister and from small-town lawyer to become Attorney General of the province, called it quits in August.

And last month, Penner announced he was also stepping down as MLA, sparking a byelection in the Chilliwack-Hope riding.

The reason for this sudden change in an MLA regarded as the “Energizer Bunny of Politics”?

A little package named Fintry. A daughter, specifically, delivered courtesy of Penner’s wife Daris.

It’s families that pay the price for politicians who love “The Life” as much as he, Penner told The Progress in a recent interview.

And the new father wasn’t going to miss a minute more of Fintry’s childhood than absolutely required.

“My mom’s relieved,” he said, about his decision to quit politics. “She never got used to the personal attacks and the criticism that’s part of doing this job.”

But Penner also said he had “bittersweet” moments last week as he attended what are likely his last official acts as MLA before joining a law firm in Vancouver.

One act was finally getting cellphone service in the Fraser Canyon for Telus

customers as far upstream as Boston Bar, the other was a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project in partnership with the Kanaka Bar Indian Band.

Penner said he’d been working on the power project for 10 years, and the band for 25 years.

“To see it come together — that’s sweet,” he said.

But to be leaving politics and the chance to do more — “that’s bitter,” he said.

However, Penner said he’d never lived his life according to any plan.

Unlike many law students, Penner said he had no idea what kind of law he wanted to practice — so he just plunged headlong into everything.

He also dismissed his “hardworking” reputation, saying instead that it was more his “constant and relentless” need to gather all the facts he could going into any situation “to satisfy myself that I knew what needed to be known.”

“I am instinctively nervous about bold statements,” he said, with nothing to back them up.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

Chilliwack mom gives back to Royal Columbian Hospital NICU with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Wild Fishmas event in Chilliwack Sunday for salmon defence

It’s a fish-focused festive fundraiser Dec. 8 at the UFV Indigenous Student Gathering Place

Threats to the Fraser River at a ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Fraser Valley Regional District administration/government costs set to rise by 18%

Mosquito control and fire dispatch costs also set for increase

Chilliwack passes budget bylaw with 3.32% tax increase

Policing and public safety remain the highest budget priorities for several years running

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Province ‘reinforcing’ new rules for party buses as holiday season approaches

Ministry reminds the public that it’s against the law to consume alcohol, cannabis inside a vehicle

Most Read