Gordon Campbell apologized to his family — but not to British Columbians — as he announced his resignation yesterday, ending his almost decade-long stint as premier of B.C.

He also called on the B.C. Liberal party to hold a leadership convention immediately.

“Politics can be a very nasty business,” said Campbell, 62, thanking his wife, Nancy, and sons Geoffrey and Nicholas, and apologizing for the toll his political career had taken on them.

But Campbell did not apologize to British Columbians, and maintained confidence in his decision to introduce the widely criticized HST earlier this year.

“It’s not always popular to do what you believe in your heart is right,” he said.

“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.”

Campbell was elected to his third term as premier on May 12, 2009, but fell to an abysmal nine per cent approval rating last month.

Critics continued to skewer Campbell and the HST despite a 15 per cent income tax reduction, which he announced last week in a televised address.

He made the surprise announcement yesterday morning and took no questions from the media.