Former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart to leave Asia gig

Former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart has decided to leave the Asia position he's held since 2013

  • Dec. 20, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart fought off tears as he announced his decision to step aside in order to allow Premier Christy Clark to run for the riding in a byelection.

Former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart has decided to leave the Asia gig he’s held since 2013 to “focus on his B.C. business and reconnect with his family.”

The announcement he’d be leaving the position of B.C.’s Special Representative in Asia came out of a statement from the Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, Teresa Wat.

“I want to thank Ben Stewart on behalf of government and all British Columbians for his excellent work promoting B.C.’s trade and investment interests in East Asia. British Columbia has been well-served by a representative with his experience and expertise,” said Wat in the release.

“We wish Ben all the best as he returns to private life after serving three years in Beijing as B.C.’s Special Representative in Asia. In this role, he helped build British Columbia’s government-to-government and business-to-business relationships that opened doors, attracted new investment and helped B.C. businesses enter new markets in Asia.

B.C, she added, is losing  a distinguished proponent of the province.

“We wish him the very best in his future endeavours as he focuses on his B.C. business and reconnects with his family,” said Wat, adding that Stewart’s last day as B.C.’s Special Representative in Asia will be Dec. 30, and the province is now exploring options for a replacement.

Stewart was elected MLA for Westside-Kelowna  in 2009 and again  in May of 2013, taking  58 per cent of the vote in Westside-Kelowna.

Less than a month later he announced he would be stepping aside so Clark, who lost her Vancouver-Point Grey seat in the election, could run in the riding in a byelection.

Clark had nothing but praise for Stewart, at the time saying she was “humbled” by his offer to give up his seat, a gesture she said represented the values he stands for—putting the interests of the province first.

In October he was appointed  B.C.’s Special Representative in Asia.

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