Former Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart wants his old job back - InfoNews

Current Conditions


Former Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart wants his old job back

Ben Stewart casts a vote at the polling station at Emmanuel Church on Hebert Road in West Kelowna.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
January 18, 2018 - 7:00 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Ben Stewart wants his old job back as MLA of Kelowna West but he knows it might not be as easy to nail down as the last time around.

His time away from the spotlight since 2013 and a shift in the balance of power — the B.C. Liberals no longer rule — means returning the well-known local winemaker to Victoria puts the riding outside government.

“There is some vulnerability,” Stewart agreed in a telephone interview, the day after Premier John Horgan called the byelection for the riding left vacant by the resignation last summer of Premier Christy Clark.

The veteran politician insists his campaign will not be taking the opposition lightly and that he has nothing but respect for the NDP’s Shelley Cook and the Green’s Robert Stupka.

“Obviously, it’s easier to get things accomplished when you are in government in that you can usually access the minister,” Stewart said. “But getting anything done in government is not something that is easy. It takes hard work. I’m a consensus builder and a good leader.”

Stewart said he’s never been a hard party partisan and has good relationships from his own time in government with some of the current NDP ministers and backbenchers.

“I’m not one of those people who holds a grudge in politics,” Stewart added.

His hope however has to be that the voters of Kelowna West don’t a hold a grudge against him for his association with former Premier Clark.

Stewart famously resigned his seat after winning the riding for the second time in 2013 when Clark was shut out of her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.

Clark resigned last August after leading the Liberals through a lacklustre campaign to a minority government during the 2017 spring election.

Some voters have grumbled the two resignations have effectively forced the voters in Kelowna to endure four elections in as many years.

Others say Kelowna West has been without real representation for years since Clark was seldom seen in the riding, too busy as premier to offer the ground support provided by most MLAs to their constituents.

For his part, Stewart says he has no regrets about stepping aside for Clark, if only for the revelations provided by almost four years spent as B.C.’s special representative to Asia.

“It opened my eyes in a lot of ways as to what we can do as government,” Stewart says. “I learned a lot about cultures that I knew nothing about. The flip side is being away from friends and family so much, although you do make new friends.”

If elected, Stewart plans to work with local government on housing affordability, transportation and increasing agricultural productivity.

Kelowna West voters go to the polls Wednesday, Feb. 14.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile