For months now, former Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary has been publicly dropping hints that he would make a solid option as the next leader of the federal Conservatives.
With the election of former reality star and business tycoon Donald Trump as the future President of the United States, O’Leary now says he has another reason to join Canada’s political race, as CBC reports.
In a conversation with As It Happens host Carol Off, O’Leary said he believes that Canada needs someone like him to stand up to Trump.
Like Trump, many don’t believe that O’Leary – who we spoke with a few years back – is fit for the job.
“I’m keeping my options open, obviously,” O’Leary told Off, when asked whether he was serious about running.
“But, there is a deadline on this. It’s Feb 24. So, to keep that optionality, I’m doing some structural work and some investigations. I’m also watching as the landscape changes, obviously. The American election was a surprise to everybody and puts Canada in very perilous position now because the policy we see being formulated south of the border is going to make Canada a very uncompetitive jurisdiction.”
One thing is certain: He doesn’t think that Trump’s move to the White House is going to be positive on Trudeau’s popularity.
“I think that’s going to open up a huge opportunity in the next election,” says O’Leary. “We simply have the wrong leadership to guide us through what’s about to happen … Clearly, if you had asked me just 90 days ago — before the American election — what the probability was that Trudeau would have a second mandate, I would have said 99%. Today, I think it’s less than 50.”
He says he has an edge above his competition – even if it is that he is famous and has more money than them. So far, there are 12 declared candidates in the Conservative Party with another three rumoured. This doesn’t (perhaps yet) include O’Leary.
“That’s a very crowded field. And all of them have to find a way to get their name out there — I don’t have that problem. They all have to find a way to raise money — I don’t have that problem,” says O’Leary.
From the sounds of it, his decision to run will likely be a game-time one.
“So, the best strategy for me is to simply wait until that herd gets culled. And that means I wait longer. So, I want to find out who the last four or five are going to be. If I’m going to jump in, I’d wait until then. Then, I can really assess the competition and decide what I want to do,” says O’Leary.
Off asked O’Leary whether he thought he would work well with Trump.
“Listen. I mean I’m being very clear about this. I think Trump versus Trudeau is Godzilla versus Bambi. It’s going to end very badly,” says O’Leary. “You need someone that can negotiate. You need someone that has run businesses — that has pivoted when they know that the environment has changed. Unfortunately, Mr. Trudeau has never run a business. Mr. Butts has never run a business. They’ve never made payroll. They’re going to get crushed. It’s just depressing.”
After a heated discussion with Off on global poverty, O’Leary returned to his Trudeau point (poor Trudeau).
“My guess is, the reason we see so many candidates competing for this next leadership race with the Conservative party is they smell the blood in the water. Trudeau is a one-term guy. He’s going to be gone,” says O’Leary.
Whether Trudeau will last remains to be seen. But that doesn’t mean Canadians will necessarily embrace O’Leary with open arms. But as we now know, when it comes to modern politics, anything is possible.