The field of candidates seeking to become the next federal Conservative candidate in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding is growing.
Tobiano founder Mike Grenier will announce his candidacy during an online press conference on Monday, Feb. 22. The 10 a.m. event will be followed by a story at kamloopsthisweek.com.
Grenier will join Tourism Kamloops CEP Beverley DeSantis in the bid to win the nomination. DeSantis was the first to announce she will be seeking the slot. On Feb. 4, MP Cathy McLeod announced she will not be seeking a fifth term in Ottawa.
Monday’s press conference will be moderated by Steven Puhallo, the former executive director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association. Puhallo and Grenier both ran for the Kamloops-North Thompson B.C. Liberal nomination in November 2016, losing to Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, who remains MLA today.
Puhallo lives in Alberta, where he was a staffer in Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party from May 2019 to August 2020. Puhallo was campaign director for B.C. Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma in the October 2020 election, which saw New Democrat Lana Popham coast to victory in a landslide.
Grenier moved to the region from Toronto in 1996, when a company controlled by his family purchased what was then Six Mile Ranch, and which became Tobiano. He spent the next four years campaigning to remove the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve, eventually having it declared in the provincial interest by the then-NDP government.
Tobiano, which includes a golf course and residential development (a marina is owned and operated separately) went into receivership in 2011. Grenier is no longer associated with its business operation.
Grenier raised a family in the Kamloops area and is now remarried with stepchildren.
When he was seeking the B.C. Liberal nomination for Kamloops-North Thompson in 2016, Grenier outlined four ideas for job creation at Kamloops Airport, including Thompson Rivers University expanding into aircraft maintenance and engineering, a national commercial pilot training school, construction of a hotel and having the airport declared a free trade zone and a "cabotage" designation. Under cabotage, foreign airlines can be granted rights to fly between certain national routes.
Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct information on where Steven Puhallo lives. He does, in fact, still live in Alberta.