Kelowna MLA Renee Merrifield is looking to become the new leader of the BC Liberals

Merrifield's leadership bid

It appears that Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield will be making a bid for the leadership of the BC Liberals, less than a year into her first term in provincial politics.

The homepage of Merrifield's personal website now boasts that she's the best person to take on the leadership role for her party, following a disappointing 2020 election for the Liberals that saw them lose 13 seats under the leadership of Andrew Wilkinson. The loss gave John Horgan's NDP a strong majority.

“As BC Liberals, we have an opportunity to build on the success of our past, and establish a new way of doing politics,” her site states. “We need a leader with a positive and hopeful vision that can connect with people from every walk of life and every part of our beautiful province ... Renee Merrifield is that leader.”

Rumours of Merrifield's leadership aspirations have been circulating since January.

Castanet reached out to Merrifield Saturday about her bid for leadership, but Rob Murphy – who identified himself as being part of the “Renee Merrifield Leadership campaign” – said she wouldn't be available to speak on the matter until next week. Murphy was Merrifield's campaign manager during the 2020 provincial election.

Merrifield was elected as MLA for Kelowna-Mission for the BC Liberals after long-time incumbent Steve Thompson opted not to run for re-election.

She's the CEO of Troika Developments and has served on the board of directors for First West Credit Union, Interior Health Authority, the Urban Development Institute, the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission and the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Despite her relative political inexperience, she was named as the BC Liberal's health critic following the 2020 election, taking over from long-time Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.

Prior to the 2020 provincial election, she had put her name in to run for the federal Conservative party during the 2019 election, but the party chose Tracy Gray instead.

The BC Liberals' leadership election is scheduled to occur next February. So far, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Gavin Dew and former BC Liberal MLA Kevin Falcon have announced their intentions to run for leader of the party.

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