He’s loud, loaded, brash, blunt, opinionated, and star of his own reality TV show. Subtract the xenophobia and plans to build a wall, and businessman Kevin O’Leary appears Canada’s version of Donald Trump.
And despite allegations that he doesn’t speak French, some believe Kevin could be the next leader of Canada’s Conservatives when the party convenes next May.
First, though, he’ll have to convince the likes of John Brassard.
The rookie Barrie-Innisfil MP told BarrieToday he listened to the 'Shark Tank' co-star at last month’s Vancouver party convention – knowing of the baggage with which he came to the floor — and John admits coming away impressed.
“I have always liked listening to Kevin. He is very entertaining and I think he understands the Canadian economy because he’s so heavily invested in it.
Brassard goes on to say he wasn’t the only one hearkening to O’Leary’s words.
“His message of the ‘disastrous’ Liberal budget and how he is seeing money moving out of Canada as a result of bad fiscal policy resonated with party members in Vancouver.”
What particularly made Brassard stand up and take notice is that O’Leary’s speech is something he’s heard before in these parts.
“I’ve been reminded on several occasions by local business leaders that their money is portable and if governments continue down the path of chronic debt and deficit, leading to higher taxes and costs, money will continue to move out of Canada.”
But the leadership convention, it must be noted, won’t be till next May. A tidal wave of water is likely to pass under the bridge, and to date, only three candidates have declared; former cabinet minister Kelley Leitch, Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, and Ontario MP Michael Chong.
Some higher-profile candidates have yet to test the waters, and Brassard admits he’s anxious to hear them out as well.
“(Former cabinet minister) Lisa Raitt has been mentioned as a candidate. Peter McKay was on stage (as well) with some seeing Peter as a frontrunner in the race to be leader if he chooses to put his name forward.”
But Brassard concludes, it’s less a matter of who is right, as making sure Conservatives vote for what is right, as the months and years dwindle down to 2019.
“If we choose the right leader, we’ll have a very good chance of forming the next government because many people across the country who voted Liberal are already saying they didn’t vote Liberal for this.”