Kevin O’Leary to Run for Conservative Leadership

January 18, 2017 Updated: January 18, 2017

Kevin O’Leary has announced he is entering the Conservative leadership race, suggesting that as a businessman he is better qualified than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to work with president-elect Donald Trump.

O’Leary said he intended to run in a video posted to his Facebook page on Jan. 18, moments before making the official announcement on CTV.

In a statement, O’Leary said Canadians need a prime minister who will kickstart the economy and support business—particularly in light of political changes in the United States.

“Now, with the election of Donald Trump to our south, Canada’s largest trading partner is headed by a businessman with an aggressive strategy that could hurt the Canadian economy. Trudeau doesn’t stand a chance, and we deserve better,” he said.

“Canadians are looking for a prime minister who is not a career politician; a prime minister who will fight for them, and is not afraid to tell them how it is. They also want a prime minister who will be inclusive and not lower themselves to use divisive politics.

It has become clear that I am the only one that can defeat Trudeau.
— Businessman Kevin O'Leary

“Since the start of this leadership race I have looked for a candidate with these qualities, but it has become clear that I am the only one that can defeat Trudeau.”

O’Leary—an author and financial guru who became known to many Canadians as a judge on the CBC TV show “Dragons’ Den”—will be competing against 13 other candidates, including MPs Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier, and Steven Blaney.

Those already in the race faced off in a French-language debate on Jan. 17 in Quebec City.

O’Leary, who does not speak French but is now taking lessons, was not at the debate, since he had not officially registered at the time. He has said the crowded field has reduced the debates to “just a bunch of sound bites.”

From The Canadian Press