BC Liberals celebrate easy win in Kelowna West by-election

Green Party supporters gathered Wednesday night in the Kelowna West byelection.- Image Contributed

Green Party supporters gathered Wednesday night in the Kelowna West byelection.- Image Contributed

The results of Wednesday's Kelowna West by-election will tip the balance of seats in the legislature.

Five candidates are vying for the seat left vacant when Clark resigned in August, including former MLA Ben Stewart (BC Liberals), Shelley Cook (NDP), Robert Stupka (Green), Kyle Geronazzo (Libertarian), and Mark Thompson (BC Conservatives).

Stewart won 7,692 votes - 56.46% of the vote.

Only about half as many people voted in Wednesday's byelection than in the 2017 general election - 13,624, compared to 26,661. He took office after forming a historic alliance with the B.C. Green Party after a tumultuous provincial election.

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Stewart was then appointed as the province's Trade and Investment Commissioner to Asia, an assignment that came with a $150,000 per year salary.

The BC Liberal candidate has a solid lead with 69 of 111 ballots counted.

Now the Liberals and NDP each have 41 voting seats.

Clark had won that riding - considered one of the safest Liberal seats in B.C. - thanks to Stewart, who resigned as MLA in 2013 in order to allow Clark, who had become a party leader without a seat, run in a byelection. There is one independent member, former Liberal and current Speaker Darryl Plecas.

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