UPDATE: Renee Merrifield will run for Liberals in Okanagan-Mission | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Renee Merrifield will run for Liberals in Okanagan-Mission

Renee Merrifield
Image Credit: Facebook/Renee Merrifield Wasylyk
September 21, 2020 - 2:56 PM

The B.C. Liberals have selected Renee Merrifield to run in the Kelowna-Mission riding upcoming provincial election.

Retiring Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thompson told iNFOnews.ca today, Sept. 21, the party is appointing candidates in all ridings where incumbents are not running and chose Merrifield, saying there was not enough time to go through the nomination process.

“The NDP has forced us into this choice,” Thompson said. “There is a significant process through the party, then a process with Elections B.C. to become a candidate in terms of the paperwork and the timing and everything like that. “If it was just one riding you might be able to deal with it but when you have to do this across the majority of ridings across the province the party’s in the position where this is the only option available.”

Merrifield, the CEO of Troika Developments, ran as Renee Wasylyk for the federal Conservative nomination in Kelowna-Lake Country last year and lost. Merrifield is her maiden name, which she said she legally changed last year.

READ MORE: British Columbians going to the polls Oct. 24

She told iNFOnews.ca that she's been active in the riding for many years and has been preparing for this moment.

Premier John Horgan called the election at an 11 a.m. news conference this morning.

"I was tapped on the shoulder this morning at 11:42, I believe it was," she said. "It was, 'Are you ready? Here’s where we go.' Having said that, I believed there would be a nomination at some point and so I was readying myself and readying the team and getting memberships signed up."

What's going to be challenging is running during a pandemic, Merrifield said.

"I’m someone who is a very social creature," she said. "I love people. I love hearing stories. I love hearing their concerns, etc. I’m going to have to find new means and mechanisms to actually have that happen for me."

Running Troika during the pandemic meant "flipping our entire corporation to Zoom," so she will use social media to disseminate information but will also try to stage some outdoor events.

Kelowna city councillor Mohini Singh told iNFOnews.ca she had put her name forward several months ago but she would be fine with whatever decision the party made.

Thompson announced last December that he would not seek reelection.

Norm Letnick is the incumbent for Kelowna-Lake Country as is Ben Stewart for Kelowna West. Both will run in the upcoming election.

– This story was updated at 4:05 p.m., Sept. 21, 2020 to add in comment from Renee Merrifield.

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