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.

Just Posted

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates talk climate change and environment at recent forum

Forum on Tuesday grilled candidates about plan to bring about low carbon emission economy

Celgar says equipment failure won’t affect production next week

The chip dumper collapse on Oct. 6 is still under investigation

Greater Trail at odds with BC Hockey

Greater Trail Bantam Rep players left without a league

Kootenay-Columbia riding candidates have Canada’s highest expense limit

Facebook data also shows who is buying ads on the social media website

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Most Read