Could celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary become the next prime minister of Canada?
In an interview with CBC News, the bombastic commentator confirmed he’s considering a run for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
“I thought at some point, someone is going to say to me, if you can be such a critic, why don’t you do better? Why don’t you try it?” O’Leary told CBC. “I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe I should.”
It’s not the first time a Canadian celebrity has considered running for Canada’s top office. Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington ran for PC leadership in 1983, and Belinda Stronach ran for the job in 2004. Ken Dryden and Marc Garneau have contended for the Liberal leadership, in 2006 and 2012 respectively.
But none had the polarizing profile of O’Leary, who has become a television celebrity thanks in part to his roles in CBC’s Dragon’s Den, The Lang and O’Leary Exchange and a recurring role on ABC’s Shark Tank.
In his interview with the CBC, O’Leary says he is politically agnostic but would be laser-focused on economic issues.
“Every word that comes out of a politician’s mouth, including mine, should I elect to go for this, is how does it create the next incremental job,” O’Leary said. “That’s what I care about.”
No date has been set for the next leadership convention, but it isn’t expected until spring of 2017. Potential leadership candidates include Jason Kenney, Peter McKay, Maxime Bernier, Lisa Raitt and interim leader Rona Ambrose.
O’Leary acknowledged that he has been inspired by the success of billionaire Donald Trump, who continues to lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.
“I know Trump. I know his family,” O’Leary said. “I’ve watched him work. I think he’s smart as a fox.”
So, could we eventually see a meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister O’Leary?
Pierre Trudeau’s kid wasn’t expected to be a legitimate leadership candidate at first, so anything could happen.