Toronto – February 1, 2017 – As if it wasn’t bad enough that Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is mimicking Donald Trump in her bid to become party leader – now another Trump wannabe, Kevin O'Leary, has also entered the race to replace Stephen Harper. Like Trump, Kevin O’Leary became famous through reality TV and has no experience at any level of government in elected office. He is another blustering, self-important, right-wing business man.
Two federal elections ago, the Conservative’s ran a concerted attack against then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for not having lived in Canada for many years. Remember those ads suggesting Ignatieff was "just visiting"? Well, Kevin O’Leary has not lived in Canada for over 20 years, calling Boston his home.
O’Leary’s views on the rights of workers to join and participate in their union are frightening. “Elect me as Prime Minister for 15 minutes and I will make unions illegal. Anybody who remains a union member will be thrown in jail,” O’Leary once declared. He must have missed the civics lessons on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In response to an Oxfam report on global inequality, O’Leary responded, “it’s fantastic that the world’s 85 richest people own as much wealth as the world’s 3.5 billion poorest." O’Leary even thinks taxes may be okay “as long as no one makes you pay them."
When Rachel Notley and the NDP ended over 50 years of Conservative rule in Alberta, O’Leary ignored the fact that the Alberta Conservative government had for decades allowed oil companies to suck the wealth out of the oil fields with the province getting little in return, leading to budgets chronically in the red. Not according to O’Leary though. This problem was the fault of “a lot of socialists” who moved to Alberta “because they couldn’t get work in their socialist province” but “still vote that way."
No one should underestimate O’Leary chances of winning the federal Conservative leadership race — especially when one looks at the overall group of uninspiring candidates – so it is important that we hold O’Leary accountable for his dangerous views and comments. We don’t need ‘alternative facts’ here in Canada.