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Business in Vancouver

B.C. trade minister stuck in China with broken hip

Teresa Wat supposed to return to Canada within a week

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 11:16am

By Bob Mackin

A British Columbia (BC) Liberal cabinet minister remains in China, more than two months after suffering a serious injury, BIV has learned.

A source told BIV that International Trade Minister Teresa Wat, the MLA for Richmond Centre, broke her hip.

Wat did not accompany Finance Minister Mike de Jong on a B.C. trade mission to India and Malaysia that began October 20. Neither Wat nor her chief of staff, Jay Denney, responded to BIV. Ministry spokeswoman Courtney Carne sent BIV a prepared statement, which did not deny the hip injury.

“Minister Wat sustained the injury in late August while on personal vacation in China. Since, Minister Wat has been in regular communication with Ministry and constituency staff via phone and email. The Minister is expected to return to Canada within a week,” Carne wrote.

Wat’s Twitter account contains an August 16 photograph of her at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Food Expo. She was not in the group photo from her August 28 community barbecue in Richmond.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton stood-in for Wat September 19 to welcome a trade delegation from Heilongjiang, China. Representatives for both Anton and Wat have refused to give BIV the names and affiliations of the members of that delegation.

The government’s Flickr photo gallery includes a photo uploaded November 1 of Wat and a group of people at the Canadian pavilion of the Airshow China convention running through November 6 in Zhuhai, near Hong Kong.

The scheduled fall sitting of the Legislature was cancelled on October 3.

It is not known whether Wat will return in time for this weekend’s BC Liberal Party convention at the Westin Bayshore.

Later this month, she is scheduled to co-headline with Premier Christy Clark a party fundraiser at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond. Tickets for the “Annual Winter Celebration and Fundraising Gala” on November 28 are C$388 (US$290) a plate or C$3,880 (US$2,896) for a table.

Democracy Watch filed a petition October 25 in BC Supreme Court demanding a new conflict of interest investigation into Clark’s campaign fundraising. The party admitted earlier this year that she receives a C$50,000-a-year (US$37,322) party stipend on top of her C$195,000 (US$145,557) salary as premier and Westside-Kelowna MLA.

Deputy Premier and re-election committee co-chair Rich Coleman told members at a September 20 fundraiser that the party is “fully funded for a campaign.”