Arguing against millionaire investor and TV personality, Kevin O’Leary taking the reins of the Canadian Conservative Party isn’t the hardest of tasks. For starters, he doesn’t speak French. Then there's the fact that O’Leary is a self-avowed Bostonian, stating in interview, “Boston is home” -- you can already imagine the attack ads.
Then you have the political donations.
O’Leary has no record of donating to the Canadian Conservative Party. On the contrary, he’s donated to Democrats in the United States. He gave money to climate Change conman, Al Gore, the intellectually-inept John Kerry and even leftist sitting president Barack Obama – the same man who once declared, “I do think at some point you've made enough money”.
So, what exactly makes O'Leary, a.k.a.,"Mr. Wonderful," a viable candidate for the new face of conservatism in the Great White North?
For starters, let's dispense with worries that O’Leary’s donations to radical leftists imply that he shares their ideology. O’Leary has never been a political figure. He’s always been a TV personality and before that, a businessman. As a businessman, he’d wisely want to hedge his bets when it comes to political favors. Being from a Democratic stronghold like Boston, perhaps he'd presumed being a Bush donor would hurt his TV career or future business ventures. This is not to suggest that I agree with them, but those donations don't necessarily make him an eternal left-winger.
Far better indicators of O’Leary’s credibility on conservatism are the values he openly espouses.
Kevin O’Leary is an unabashed, life-long advocate of capitalism. On both "Dragon’s Den" and "Shark Tank," O’Leary has had tremendous success in communicating the benefits and capabilities of free market enterprise, something our current crop of conservative politicians can't seem to do for beans.
For the uninitiated, "Shark Tank" is a show on which ordinary people pitch a business idea to a panel of investors, one of whom is Kevin O’Leary. At the end of the pitch, the panelists choose whether or not to invest. The show is an advertisement for the wonders of capitalism. It doesn't matter who's making the pitch. Their gender, skin colour, ethnicity – all the things the left uses to divide to us – do not exist on the show. All that matters is: Is you business idea likely to lead to a return on investment? The only colour in question is green.
And polls show that conservatives need to start making the moral argument for capitalism as quickly as possible.
The Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler reports (and their support for Bernie Sanders demonstrates) that millennials are, en masse, accepting the false premise of socialism. As many as 43 per cent of those under 30 view the economic system positively, while only 33 per cent viewed capitalism in the same way. The fact that these polls were conducted in America should be even more frightening to conservatives in Canada, where the average voter is already further left on key issues.
The Canadian Conservative Party's next leader needs to move the needle of conservatism, to articulate the principles of individual liberty and the benefits of free markets and trade, in order to bring voters over to our side.
I would strongly urge conservatives to put aside O’Leary’s poor track record on political donations, and focus instead on his career advocating for individual freedom and the free market values we share.