With the expectation that Premier John Horgan will call the Kelowna West byelection this week or next week, the B.C. Green Party is sending its leader to the riding to help raise support for Green candidate Robert Stupka.
Stupka said party leader Andrew Weaver will be in town for a number of events, including a townhall meeting Thursday night in Westbank, an invite-only party fundraiser Friday night, two “business walks”—one in downtown Kelowna and one in Westbank—and some campaign door-knocking.
The townhall meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the Westbank Community Centre.
Stupka, a first-time candidate will run against former Liberal MLA Ben Stewart and the NDP’s Shelley Cook, who ran second to former premier and Liberal leader Christy Clark in last May’s provincial election.
Clark quite politics in August, prompting the byelection. Horgan has until Feb. 5 to call the vote, but told the Capital News last month he wants to have an MLA for the riding sitting in the B.C. Legislature in time for the next provincial budget. The budget will be handed down by Finance Minister Carole James the third week in February.
Once Horgan calls the date of the byelection, there will be a 29-day official campaign period. But Stupka is not waiting for the writ to drop. He said he has already been out campaigning and said for the most part he has had a positive reception from voters.
“I’m trying to make this about policy, not politics,” he said Tuesday, adding the election is important to the B.C. Green Party as it wants to build on the momentum it gained by getting three MLAs—including Weaver— elected in the provincial election last spring, and holding the balance of power that enabled the NDP to topple the former B.C. Liberal government.
“We’re offering voters (in Kelowna West) a chance not to have their voice taken for granted,” said Stupka.
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