February 11, 2016

Dear Kevin O'Leary: If you run, here's how to do it

Elizabeth KingRebel Columnist

Kevin O'Leary hasn't made an official announcement as to whether or not he’ll run for the Conservative Party leadership.

However, this is a step closer to a commitment: 

In late February, he’ll be speaking at the Manning Centre's "Recharging the Right" conference.

According to the program, O’Leary (among other CPC leadership hopefuls) is speaking on the topic, “If I Run, Here's How I'd Do It.”

Well, I have some ideas for how he should do it. 

First, I’d suggest that his how-to plan should begin with a formal bid for the leadership. He can only go so long playing it coy and cool with various media outlets before the momentum dies and leaves him looking apathetic or stunted by a case of cold feet.

Granted, the leadership election isn’t until May 2017, but like any self-respecting conservative, I want a leader who’s eager.

Then, once O’Leary replaces “if I run” with “when I run” he needs to work on his conservatism.

Shortly after O’Leary flirted with running for the CPC leadership, Brian Lilley exhumed O’Leary’s lefty history, including his donations to American Democrats, and his naïve belief that Canada can negotiate with ISIS. Most troublesome, and even amusingly, O’Leary described himself as a “political agnostic,” and said to journalist Evan Solomon, “I’m not a conservative.”

So far, I would say, this is a good how-not-to do it.

Like everyone else, I find it impossible to mention O’Leary’s interest in the Conservatives without drawing the comparison to Donald Trump. But never mind their TV reality roles or their killer business instincts. The key similarity now is if they’re true conservatives. This analysis has nagged Trump and it will similarly badger O’Leary.

The difference, however, is that Trump claims to have had a change of heart. He’s seen the light emanating from the right and he’s converted. If anything, his sincerity is the prime question, not his positions.

Whereas, with O’Leary, he seems sincere but it’s his positions that might hinder him. If he’s not a conservative, and proudly says as much, why apply for the job?  Is he an unusually honest opportunist?

Maybe as a lifelong entrepreneur and never a needy applicant, he hasn't learned the art of the job interview, such as not plugging one’s nose at the mention of the company name.

On a more positive note, "Mr. Wonderful’s" reputation as a go-getter and straight shooter make him a worthy candidate.

On Dragon’s Den, contestants often favoured and sought O’Leary’s approval first because of his unflinching honesty. He wasn’t swayed by tears or desperation; if he liked your idea, it was good one.

I never found him callous, as some have said, and in fact, being unemotional can be an asset when making big decisions.

I’d go even further and say that of all the current Conservative Party prospects, O’Leary’s demeanour would be the best opposition to the soft, hesitant nature of Justin Trudeau.

But if O'Leary is planning on denouncing conservativism and campaigning from the centre or left he'll be wasting his time. Trudeau’s supporters would have no reason to change camps. It’s up to O’Leary to be the alternative, and to sell conservatism with the same enthusiasm he uses to sell his Cabernet Merlot.

I’m not a political insider, but I know this much—“recharging the right” will be impossible if you’re aiming from deep in centre field.  


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commented 2016-02-14 19:10:44 -0500
What exactly could O’Leary offer that the previous administration didn’t? Just Harper with attitude?

Every cycle the Liberals go more and more Left, and every cycle the Conservatives get in and hold a hands off policy, which would be “good”, if the previous Liberal administration didn’t drag centre a little more left each time.

Trudeu getting in is proof of today’s youth slow indoctrination, so is Berrnie Sanders rise. Canadian “Conservative” is just code word for Liberals 15 years ago. And with that philosophy, expect more and more future Trudeu mistakes to happen.

O’Leary has the bark, but there’s nothing for a bite.
commented 2016-02-11 17:56:50 -0500
“bob egli commented 5 hours ago
The people here are quick to criticize O’Leary, but the fact is we have no one who could fulfill the role, repeat no one. Beggars can’t be choosy . We are only 100days in with Trudeau and we are in a recession. "

We’re not actually currently in a recession. We were in a very weak, technical one, for the first half of 2015 when AB/SK/NL were falling but before MB/BC/ON picked up the slack; but that’s since abated and they’ve managed some growth. Not much, but a little.
commented 2016-02-11 12:48:18 -0500
O’Leary is not what the conservatives or Canada needs right now.
commented 2016-02-11 12:29:39 -0500
The people here are quick to criticize O’Leary, but the fact is we have no one who could fulfill the role, repeat no one. Beggars can’t be choosy . We are only 100days in with Trudeau and we are in a recession.
commented 2016-02-11 10:48:04 -0500
The rich have always preferred statism. They can get to the trough first; O’Leary is no different. That’s why he supported liberals. He should remain a supporter of liberals. That is where his mind is. Conservatives need a man or woman of conviction, principle and integrity; not an opportunist with a potty mouth.
As for the Manning Centre thing, Preston Manning appears to have early onset dementia. He recommended the Wildrose MLAs should just cross the floor – which they did. Disaster. Now, Manning recommends that such a thing should be done from the grassroots. DOH. Do the math.
commented 2016-02-11 09:39:11 -0500
O’Leary is an idiot. Huge mistake for the CPC to allow this turd into the fold.

Manning is a once Conservative, now paid off socialists. Up yours Preston.
commented 2016-02-11 09:14:46 -0500
seriously? this weasel?