The Vancouver-Quilchena MLA announced Friday he won't be running in the May election, but said he's leaving politics satisfied to be part of Liberal governments that transformed B.C. from an economic basketcase into one of the top economies in Canada.
But Hansen, 59, said he did have one major career regret: the failed harmonized sales tax.
British Columbian's rejected the HST in a provincewide referendum in August 2011.
"We made mistakes and I have to take responsibility for them," said Hansen about the HST which was introduced in July 2009, barely two months after the Liberals' third consecutive election win.
The Liberals introduced the 12 per cent HST as a combined federal-provincial tax that was designed to ease tax regulations and burdens for businesses who would eventually pass on their savings to consumers.
But Opposition groups, led by former B.C. Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm, mounted a petition campaign that saw hundreds of thousands of British Columbians sign up to oppose the tax and forced a referendum under the province's direct democracy laws.
"One of my big regrets is that we didn't do an adequate communications job," said Hansen. "I was finance minister at the time. I'd have to take responsibility that we were not able to get the message across."
Hansen, who's been in the legislature since 1996, said he still maintains the government was not planning before the May 2009 election to introduce the HST following that election.
He also said the government never promised during the election not to introduce the HST.
Hansen's retirement announcement comes just weeks after a spate of senior MLAs, including Kevin Falcon, George Abbott and Blair Lekstrom, announced they would not run again.
So far, 15 Liberals have said they won't be running in the next election.
Hansen, a die-hard Liberal who rose through the party ranks with former premier Gordon Campbell, held major cabinet positions during his career at the legislature, including health, finance and the minister responsible for the 2010 Olympics.
He said he was part of a government that built a record of success from 2001 to the present.
"In terms of economic growth, we were the laggard province in Canada," said Hansen. "Fast-forward 11 and a half years and it's a totally different picture. We have an economy that is the envy of the world."
He said B.C. now leads Canada in job growth and when it comes to taxes, total cumulated taxes paid by families are now the second lowest of any province, second only to Alberta, and personal income tax is now the lowest of all provinces for incomes up to $120,000.
Clark called Hansen a passionate servant for his constituents whose tireless work ethic will be missed by the Liberal caucus.
"He has a remarkable ability to handle large portfolios with ease, and has worked selflessly to make the province a better place to live for all British Columbians," said Clark's statement.
Hansen said he understood why Clark left him out of her cabinet when she took over as Liberal party leader in February 2011.
"I'm very comfortable with that," he said. "I feel as good about what I've been able to accomplish in the last 18 months outside of cabinet as any year that I was in cabinet."
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