On Monday, former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart was appointed by Christy Clark to the latest government posting (and likely, waste of taxpayer dollars), the Investment and Trade Commissioner to Asia.
Here’s why this is obviously troubling to British Columbians:
- Ben Stewart gave up his seat in the legislature in June so Christy Clark would be able to run in a by-election there.
- The public was virtually assured that this was in good faith and that Stewart would not be receiving anything in return.
- Christy Clark won the by-election handily.
- Ben Stewart is now the recipient of a nice, perk-filled job in Asia.
What Does Ben Stewart Get?
A sweet $150,000 per year salary with all the other perks of a high-profile government position. Not only that – he gets a nice trip to Asia and presumably with permanent luxury accommodation all covered by the taxpayer.
Is Ben Stewart Even Qualified For This Role?
Ben Stewart’s foray into politics was marked by his original trade as a winery owner. That’s right – a winery owner. Does being the owner of a winery qualify him to represent the province overseas on investment and trade? I don’t think so. He has no qualifications for the position. A Vancouver Sun editorial from yesterday asked why the BC Liberal government didn’t open up the position to the public to lure qualified candidates to the position?
I’d expect a qualified candidate for this position is someone who:
- Has an actual background in investment and trade
- Is multi-lingual with a good level of proficiency in Mandarin, Cantonese or Japanese
Ben Stewart has none of those. He isn’t qualified for a position based in that area of the Asian continent that pays $150,000 per year.
BC Politics As Usual For A Former MLA
These sketchy, inside deals seem to be normal in British Columbian politics. Stewart steps down in what seemed like some sort of extremely generous decision out of the goodness of his heart. It makes way for Christy Clark to run in the Westside-Kelowna by-election. Stewart gets later rewarded in an equally generous fashion. But this isn’t the first time this has happened! Rob Shaw posted and tweeted a running list of BC Liberal job appointments since the May 14 election. Ben Stewart becomes the 15th BC Liberal appointment to a high-profile position. You heard it right. That’s 15 in under 6 months. Talk about rewarding your friends to positions they aren’t qualified for. If any business did this, they’d go under…fast.
The underlying question behind this all is whether taxpayers can trust this government anymore? Christy Clark is willing to put her friends first and qualified candidates not even second – they’re not even being considered! If the BC Liberals were really committed to deep trade and investment roots in Asia, they wouldn’t have made this appointment and they definitely wouldn’t have made Teresa Wat, the rookie MLA from Richmond-Centre, as Minister of International Trade. Remember her? A few months ago, I compared Teresa Wat to Sarah Palin. Yikes!
It’s that level of unqualified candidates that the BC Liberals seem to be going for – whether it’s Teresa Wat or Ben Stewart – it’s bad news for you and I. They want to put their political friends first and British Columbians a distant second. It’s all part of Christy Clark’s War on the Middle Class of BC. And for all that, I fear for the next 3 1/2 years. You should too.