West Kelowna  

Stewart takes his seat

Newly-elected MLA Ben Stewart has taken his seat in the legislature.

Stewart, who won the Kelowna West byelection two weeks ago, was officially sworn in in the Legislative Chamber Tuesday morning.

He said he's looking forward to the challenges ahead and working with the Liberal caucus.

One of the top priorities for Stewart centers around damage from last year's floods.

During a brief media availability after being sworn in, Stewart said a lot of the damage has not yet been rectified, "and government hasn't been very clear in terms of how they are going to rectify it."

Stewart's victory means the Liberal party will again have more seats (42) than the ruling NDP (41).

Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says that will change the dynamics in the legislature, by highlighting the fact the Green Party, with three members, holds the balance of power.

"As long as they continue to support the NDP, no matter how ridiculous the NDP policies are, the onus is on the Green Party to show why they are doing this. The NDP will take advantage of this as long as they can," said Wilkinson.

"So far, Andrew Weaver and the Green Party have been the paper tiger. They've made quite a lot of noise about a number of topics, but they have voted with the NDP 100 per cent of the time, which makes you realize they are pretty much committed to being in the back pocket of the NDP."

Wilkinson added that the price for that support is this fall's referendum on proportional representation.

"The Green's are looking forward to that vehicle to long-term survival, because proportional representation will suit their interests and, in our view, it won't support the interests of British Columbians."

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