New Democrat Kennedy Stewart has continued to collect his MP's salary while campaigning for mayor of Vancouver.
Stewart says he will officially resign his House of Commons seat on Sept. 14 — the last day he can file his paperwork for the mayoral race — to ensure there is no overlap in being an official candidate and a member of Parliament. The campaign officially kicks off on Sept. 22.
Stewart has represented the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South since 2011. Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh announced that he will be the party's candidate in the byelection to replace Kennedy. Singh was elected leader of the federal NDP last year but does not have a seat in parliament.
Stewart's resignation will come three months after he delivered a speech in Parliament, in which he bade farewell to his colleagues and told them of his hopes to become Vancouver's next mayor.
Since then, Stewart says he has been trying to close cases and solve issues for constituents. He insists he's been working as an MP but his Twitter handle reads "Candidate for Mayor of Vancouver" and his website links to his campaign site.
A quick scroll through his timeline shows that Stewart has been tweeting primarily about campaign promises, meeting with voters and pictures of 'Kennedy for Mayor' posters and signs. There is no mention of his role as MP for Burnaby South.
When asked about collecting his MP's pay cheque while campaigning for mayor, Stewart said: "Well, most of my street campaigning has been before work hours." He said that means meeting voters in the morning in Nelson Park and "after work as well."
But he also said "there's quite a lot of overlap" between the two duties. At a number of events he attends as an MP during his "normal line of work," Stewart said he's also able raise the fact that he's a mayoral candidate.
Stewart said that overlap is OK, that "it happens during leadership races." He also made the point that he is quitting his job as an MP, so he's hoping to send a message to people in Vancouver that he's taking his candidacy seriously.
Last year, former Conservative MP Dianne Watts announced that she would step down as an MP to run for leader of the B.C. Liberals. Watts announced her leadership bid on a Sunday and resigned her seat the same week.
"For me I just couldn't have one foot in Ottawa and one foot touring the province. I just didn't feel it was the right thing to do," said Watts.
She would not comment on Stewart's decision, but said she suspects he is busy wrapping up work in his constituency office.
Another reason Stewart said he wanted to keep his title during the summer was to continue his "fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline."
"I've been a community leader in that sense, so my timing's pretty good because the court decision last Thursday means that I can fully focus on the mayoralty race," he said, referring to a Federal Court of Appeal ruling that quashed federal approval for the pipeline expansion project.
He added that the project will still be part of the discussion during the mayoralty campaign.
"That's a lot of the work I did all summer and that's what I mean by overlap with the mayoralty campaign ... After you get arrested, people kind of associate you with a particular issue, so when I've gone off to talk to community groups or go to rallies or protests, which I would do as an MP, I did [it] in kind of a joint role as an MP and mayoralty candidate."
Stewart said winding down his MP duties has also included dealing with "about 1,000" cases that he's trying to close before Sept. 14.
"I also had some pending legislation and outstanding order paper questions and those types of things," he said