Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield is officially joining the race to become the next leader of the BC Liberal Party.
Since being elected to public office for the first time in 2020, Merrifield has taken the position of opposition health critic and says she is working towards meeting B.C. residents to discuss issues and challenges that have occurred during the pandemic.
“I’m running because I believe in the potential of this province, I’m running because I want to build a better belonging for all British Columbians. That starts right here, in how we build our party. I believe that no matter who you are or where you are from, there is a place for you in the BC Liberal party,” said Merrifield in an Aug. 2 announcement.
In June, Merrifield introduced a petition in the B.C. Legislature opposing mask mandates within schools.
She brought the matter up on behalf of what she called an organization comprised of 4,500 parents spanning all B.C. school districts, despite saying she disagreed with the premise herself.
“These parents are opposed to the current provincial health order in relation to mandatory masking of school children. They oppose the mandate for all children in grades 4 through 12 and do not support further measures to extend masking to lower grades,” she said at the time.
Before being elected, Merrifield started Troika Management Corporation, which would become one of Kelowna’s largest development firms, and she was named three times by Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women.
She took over the Kelowna-Mission riding from long-time politician Steve Thompson, who served the office for 11 years before retiring.
Merrifield joins five other BC Liberals in the leadership race: Vancouver business consultant Gavin Dew, former finance and transportation minister Kevin Falcon, Vancouver-Langara MLA Micheal Lee, former CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce Val Litwin and MLA for Skeena, Ellis Ross.
The election is scheduled for February 2022.