B.C. Green Kelowna West byelection candidate Robert Stupka.—Image: contributed

B.C. Greens name candidate for Kelowna West byelection

Robert Stupka will run for the party in the riding vacated by former Liberal premier Christy Clark

The B.C. Green Party has named its candidate for the Kelowna West byelection.

Robert Stupka, an engineer, house designer and Kelowna resident was named the candidate Monday morning by B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

“The Kelowna West riding is one of Canada’s fastest growing regions with some of the best economic performance,” Stupka said. “The exceptional quality of life attracted me to live here.

Stupka does not live in the Kelowna-West riding but said he works in it. He returned to the Central Okanagan four years ago after first coming here to live and work in Kelowna in the early 2000s.

He said with the riding—which includes both West Kelowna and the downtown portion of Kelowna—experiencing growing challenges like congestion, high housing costs and the opioid epidemic, maintaining local values requires listening to community needs, pragmatic solutions and a provincial representative who can enable supportive action.

“I want to find solutions to these challenges and I have what it takes to listen and to act,” he said.

Facing what could be a formidable task of winning in a riding that has traditionally elected right-of-centre candidates, Stupka said it will be important to show voters the B.C. Green Party, while being fiscally conservative, is determined to create policies based on evidence, not politics. And to show its policies will work.

He said in the short-time the three Green MLAs have been in the B.C. Legislature, they have helped steer the conversation in a more balanced direction, something needed in B.C. politics today.

“The Green Party (MLAs) has proven to be incredibly effective in holding government to account and implementing policy objectives well beyond their bench weight,” he said. “They have elevated debate with evidence, not politics. They are the only party that can be trusted to bring back economic, social and environmental balance to B.C. That’s what motivated me to run as the B.C. Green candidate in the Kelowna West byelection.”

Weaver said Stupka is driven by a vision of sustainability and leadership and is keen to share his passion for building the economy of the 21st century and strong evidence-based policy for B.C.

“As a professional engineer, he is keenly aware of how new technologies and a creative and innovative approach to policy development can turn the most daunting challenges into our greatest opportunities.” said Weaver, adding he is confident the Greens can make a breakthrough in an area that has sent two former Social Credit premiers—WAC Bennett and his son Bill—to Victoria, and was the riding of former Liberal premier Christy Clark.

Clark quit politics in August prompting the byelection.

On the weekend, Premier John Horgan said he will call the byelection in early January, meaning voters will head to the polls in early February.

Stupka will face Liberal candidate Ben Stewart, a former MLA for the riding and the NDP’s Shelley Cook, who ran against Clark in the the last provincial election.

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