Former MLA Ben Stewart returning from Asia

Premier Christy Clark named Stewart to new trade post after he resigned his seat to give her a place to run in a by-election

Former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart is wrapping up his three-year assignment as B.C. trade representative in Asia at the end of the year, and it’s not clear when or if he will be replaced.

Stewart has been based in Beijing since being appointed to the post after the 2013 B.C. election. He was re-elected but resigned his legislature seat to give Premier Christy Clark a place to run after she was defeated in Vancouver-Point Grey.

Stewart is returning to his family business in the Okanagan, which includes Quail’s Gate winery in West Kelowna.

“We wish Ben all the best as he returns to private life after three years in Beijing as B.C.’s special representative in Asia,” B.C. International Trade Minister Teresa Wat said in a statement. “In this role, he has helped 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.”

Stewart’s last day is Dec. 30. The ministry is “exploring options for a replacement and we will have more information available in the coming months,” the statement said.

Newly re-elected Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart fights off tears as he announces his decision to step aside in order to allow Premier Christy Clark to run in a 2014  by-election. (Wade Paterson photo).