B.C. premier appoints former MLA to investment and trade post in Asia

VANCOUVER – The man who resigned his legislative seat so B.C. Premier Christy Clark could run in a byelection to enter the house is now the province’s investment and trade commissioner in Asia.

But Clark dismissed suggestions the job is a patronage appointment, saying Ben Stewart will be selling B.C. in Asia’s capitals every day, not hosting dinner parties.

Stewart stepped aside in Westside-Kelowna shortly after Clark lost her riding in last May’s provincial election, allowing the premier to run and win with more than 60 per cent of the vote.

Clark says the province has a gap when it comes to government-to-government relationships in Asia.

She says Asian leaders need to know those working in the province’s trade offices can pick up the phone and have their calls answered in Victoria.

Clark says Stewart is an entrepreneur who helped build the province’s wine industry, has a sterling record as a minister and is closely connected to every cabinet minister, including her office.