Ben Stewart. (Photo by John Lehmann)

Ben Stewart. (Photo by John Lehmann)

Meet the candidate: Kelowna West — Ben Stewart (Liberal)

Liberal candidate was elected MLA for Westside-Kelowna in 2009 and 2013

Ben Stewart was elected MLA for Westside-Kelowna in 2009 and 2013.

He was re-elected in a by-election in 2018 in the riding of Kelowna West. Ben is currently the Official Opposition trade critic for the ministry of jobs, economic development and competitiveness.

Ben previously served as minister of agriculture, minister of community and rural development (municipal affairs) and minister of citizens’ services.

In October 2013, he was appointed British Columbia’s Special Representative in Asia to act as the province’s official on-the-ground representative to further strengthen B.C.’s government-to-government relationships in China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia.

He also has extensive experience serving the community as a board and advisory member with UBCO, Okanagan College and Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. He also served on the regional district’s advisory planning commission and Westside governance committee.

The Stewart family has farmed continuously in Kelowna since 1908.

Having grown up in Kelowna, Ben has farmed vineyards and a diverse mixture of orchards and tree fruits with his family for over 40 years and is regarded as a pioneer of today’s premium wine industry.

In 1989, he founded and built Quails’ Gate into one of Canada’s leading estate wineries.

Later, under his leadership as chair of VQA Canada, the organization successfully resolved a significant number of National and International Trademark and Trade issues.

Ben lives in West Kelowna and has three children and five grandchildren.

What is the most important issue in your riding?

Restore Confidence and Rebuild BC

• Current economic recovery lacks strategy and certainty.

• NDP’s 26 new and increased taxes make business in BC highly uncompetitive

Tackle crime and addictions

• New complex health care treatment for mental health and addictions

• Increased funding for policing

What have you done to benefit your community in the past?

Improved Health Care

• Medical School at UBCO – 32 new doctors every year

•Southern Interior Heart and Surgical Centre at KGH

• KGH expansion of Centennial Wing

Improved Education

• Okanagan College expansion and rebuild of trades and health faculties – increased student population over 50 per cent to 10,000+

• UBCO Medical School and Engineering Management School establishment

• Student services building, library expansion and housing expansion

Improved Infrastructure

• Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

• CORD Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion

• Rapid Transit – UBCO to West Kelowna

• Westside Road ongoing widening and safety improvements

• Highway 97 safety improvements – lighting, barriers, advanced left-turn lights, Westside Road overpass completion

Economic Development and Trade

• Innovation Tech Centre – City of Kelowna and Province of BC partnership

• Agriculture – increased trade on value-added tree fruits

Supportive Housing

• Willowbridge Mental Health Supportive Housing

• NOW Canada Women’s Transition Housing

• Pleasantvale Affordable Senior’s Housing

• Cardington Apartments Transition Housing

What will you do to represent your community in Victoria?

Restore Confidence

• Elimination of PST for 1 year followed by a reduction to three per cent in year 2

• Speculation Tax elimination

• Return B.C. to a competitive tax and regulatory regime

• Reduce red tape and streamline regulation

Tackle Crime and Addiction

• Investment in mental health and addiction treatment

ICBC

• Bring in competition and offer choice for British Columbians

Environment Leadership

• Re-establish BC as a global climate leader

• Utilize evidence-based research for decision making

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Advance voting begins today in West Kelowna

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
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