One Big Race
How many people does it take to find the next leader of the Conservative Party? Well, apparently at least 14. Just as one television star was being sworn in as the President of the United States, another "star" was starting his own political campaign north of the border. Last week, Kevin O'Leary, best known for his many years on the hit television shows Dragons Den (Canada) and Shark Tank (USA), formally announced his bid for the Conservative Party Leadership. O'Leary became the 14th candidate currently running for the position with the hopes of leading the Conservative Party to victory in the 2019 federal election.
O'Leary's announcement was anything but a surprise given the many rumors that had been circulating for months about him entering the race. However, some had started to doubt the rumors after he failed to announce his bid earlier like the majority of candidates. In fact, most of the other 13 candidates have been in the race for several months and have already partaken in 3 leadership debates. While this might sound like it puts O'Leary at a disadvantage, it's actually a very well planned strategy that has likely been in the works for quite some time.
One of the main issues that O'Leary faces is that he doesn't speak french. This is a fairly big problem for someone wishing to lead a country with two official languages. As a result, O'Leary strategically entered the race late, avoiding the french debate by just one day. This not only allowed him to avoid looking incompetent on stage but also gave him extra time to prepare his campaign while his opponents attacked each other. O'Leary entering the race at this point can be seen as a breath of fresh air amongst all the noise the others have been creating within the party race. As a result, O'Leary is likely to get more attention and will clearly stand out which is exactly what he wanted and what will help him become a frontrunner.
Straight out of the gate O'Leary further distinguished himself from the other 13 candidates by going straight on the offensive and attacking Justin Trudeau. O'Leary has said the next election in 2019 will be an exorcism as he takes down "surfer dude" AKA Trudeau. This approach is once again strategic as O'Leary is giving no mention to his actual competition and acting as though he has already won the leadership race. This gives the impression that he is working to win the next election and doesn't even need to bother with the issue of becoming the party's nominee. A true mind game that will likely be very effective in the coming months.
The Trump of Canada?
Despite getting a lot of attention in recent weeks, not all the press surrounding O'Leary has been good. In fact, some media outlets have suggested he could be the Canadian version of Donald Trump given his outspoken personality and unwillingness to shy away from controversy. O'Leary has denied this and says he and Trump differ significantly and that the only similarity the two have is that they are both business men who want what's best for their country. They also both like them dollar bills $$$.
Personally I'm not a huge fan of O'Leary or his proposed policies but I believe him when he says he's not a Donald Trump. Yes he is very outspoken and not always politically correct but he has yet to do anything that would indicate he's even as close to as racist, homophobic, sexist or xenophobic as Trump. However, he does still bring forth a ruthless attitude that seems as though he would have great difficulty working together with other parties which is certainly not a good quality.
The Real Trump of Canada
Another top contender in the race is Kellie Leitch and despite being a woman she is actually much more similar to Donald Trump than O'Leary. To give you some context she is the woman behind the Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line and hired Rob Ford's former campaign manager to run her own campaign. She also continues to stand by her stance that marijuana is extremely harmful and that immigrants should be screened for 'anti-Canadian values,' whatever that means... Despite facing criticism from her own party on her strong stances, she has doubled down on her approach and is clearly hoping her extra attention turns into extra votes. See below some of the online ads currently running on her behalf:
The official vote for the next Conservative Party of Canada leader will take place on May 27th 2017. I will continue to provide updates as the race progresses and post a Report on the frontrunners closer to the election.
Thanks for reading,