BC Greens representing

Kelowna West has been without a MLA for six months. Many, however, feel they haven’t been represented since Ben Stewart gave up the seat in 2013 putting his party ahead of his constituents.

As a resident and professional experienced in local and provincially-relevant work, I’ve been committed to sharing my voice, writing articles ranging in topics including transportation, energy, economic development, and infrastructure economics.

I presented at the BCUC hearings and numerous other government consultations. Knowledge sharing is critical to keep political agendas from trumping evidence. This is even more the case knowing BC’s politics has been highly influenced by big money.

Money from BC Liberal MLAs into the riding has also influenced voters to stick with the winning team. With the BC Liberals not in power, this is not applicable.

Still, money for politically-friendly projects doesn’t equate real representation especially when MLAs tow party lines over local needs. Loss of economic development from local energy projects, the housing crisis, decimation of watersheds and wildlife, and the lack of cooperation with local government on transportation are a few examples.

The lack of local representation has had a human toll. Many have told me it was impossible to meet their local MLA. A divorced mother owes $2,000 in MSP premiums for her ex-husband that doesn’t live with her and she needs a MLA to stick up for her. In November, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver defended a Kelowna tech company wrongly penalized $5 million from a BC Liberal tax credit change the BC NDP still haven’t fixed.

I’m running to offer new leadership that puts this region first. The BC Greens are the only party to lead important discussions about this region, hosting five events this year. The entire BC Green caucus visited recently, showing their commitment and giving real answers to the public’s questions. At all candidates forums I have challenged political rhetoric and bent truths with fiscally responsible, evidence-based solutions.

These actions by the BC Greens demonstrate the representation Kelowna West deserves. A BC Green MLA in Kelowna West will be in caucus, not a backbencher. I will have an important voice on committees and an influential voice on government policy. Kelowna West has the choice to join the 60% of other voters represented in decision-making.

If you want your voice and vote to matter, vote February 14th.

Robert Stupka

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