Kevin O’Leary surprised us with a host of Liberal positions and French skills during a Conservative leadership debate yesterday in Montreal.
The divisive businessman and reality TV show star, who’s relishing the chance the fight “surfer dude” Justin Trudeau in the next federal election, read his opening statement in French to loud applause from those in attendance.
“I want the people of Quebec to know that I am committed to learning the language,” said O’Leary. “You can’t govern this country without speaking French and English.”
He then spoke very top-level about his position on major social issues, leaning considerably left for a conservative candidate.
“So LGBTQI done, marijuana done, reproductive rights 100 percent. Get used to it, that is the definition of the Conservative Party of Canada going forward,” said O’Leary. Translation: O’Leary supports gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana, and is pro-choice.
He also recognized the need to appeal to young voters.
“[18 to 35-year-olds want different things or they’ll vote for Trudeau again,” he said. “I’m a numbers guy, I get it. I have to win back my 23-year-old daughter.”
Some Conservatives with whom he shared the stage called out O’Leary for his pandering. MP Andrew Scheer criticized him for being a fake Conservative, saying in his closing statement, “All of us up here are Conservatives. Well, almost all of us up here are Conservatives.”
While it’s easy to dismiss Kevin O’Leary as “Canada’s Trump,” his progressive positions on social issues validate the comparison purely on an economic basis. Don’t forget, this is a man who once said that 3.5 billion people living in poverty is “fantastic news.”
Card-carrying members of the Conservative Party will elect their new leader on May 27th,