Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart (Hansard TV)

B.C. Liberal MLA leaves caucus as donation examined

Kelowna’s Ben Stewart ‘confident there is no wrongdoing’

Kelowna West MLA Ben Stewart has voluntarily excluded himself from the B.C. Liberal caucus after an undisclosed issue with a political donation was brought to the attention of Elections B.C.

The B.C. Liberals declined to offer details, other than that Stewart sent a letter to Elections B.C. on Thursday advising them of the situation.

“Sorry to advise I voluntarily left the B.C. Liberal caucus last evening while Elections B.C. rules on a request I sent them to investigate an irregular donation under new election financing rules,” Stewart told Black Press Friday. “I have to sit out of caucus until Elections B.C. rules on the matter. I’m confident there is no wrongdoing and this is purely an administrative matter.”

Stewart was elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, then stepped aside for former premier Christy Clark to run for a seat. Clark was defeated in Vancouver-Point Grey in the 2013 election where the B.C. Liberals won a fourth straight majority.

Stewart regained Kelowna West in a by-election after Clark resigned from the seat in 2017, her government having been toppled by the B.C. Green Party supporting the NDP minority.

RELATED: NDP caps party donations at $1,200 per person

RELATED: Political donations drop after new rules in B.C.

The NDP government moved to ban corporate and union donations to political parties after taking office in 2017, with personal donations limited to $1,200 per person per year. The NDP legislation also provides for a public subsidy to parties with a minimum number of votes, a “transitional annual allowance” that started at $2.50 per vote in 2018. It is reduced to $2.25 per vote this year, and is to decline to $1.75 in 2021, the year of the next scheduled B.C. election.

The allowance paid close to $2 million to the B.C. Liberal Party and NDP in 2018, after their neck-and-neck finish in the 2017 vote. The B.C. Greens collected $830,000 in 2018.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sunken Gardens bloom from deeply seeded efforts

Garden club members are rooted in dedication

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

City to request conservation officer

Predatory wildlife appear to be bolder

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read