Kevin O’Leary is the worst

By Jonathon Van Maren

I first heard of Kevin O’Leary the way most others did: as a reality TV show star on Dragon’s Den, a sort of business talent show in which O’Leary performed the role of Simon Cowell, cracking down on the many stupid peasants that wandered into his crosshairs with their simplistic plans to make money. But O’Leary is now back in the headlines, having recently decided after much reality show fanfare to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. If he was the Simon Cowell to Dragon’s Den, he’s the new Belinda Stronach to the Conservative Party. He’s not particularly interested in the grunt work of politics, but he’s very interested in parachuting into the potential position of Prime Minister.

Many Conservatives (and a few conservatives) seem to be falling for it. After the leadership debate in Halifax, his hospitality suite was packed with fans while many of the other candidates waited around for people to show up. He has name recognition where most of the candidates barely register. Some polls show him already leading the pack, riding high on his take-no-prisoners style of speaking and celebrity status. And that’s why many love him, too—a repairman who came to my house the other day told me he’d donated to Kevin O’Leary, and when I asked him why, he told me he didn’t know anything about O’Leary except that he seemed like he could “beat Trudeau.” If the Liberals could win with a celebrity, some seem to think, maybe the Conservatives could borrow one and win, too. With left-wing politicians like Rachel Notley and Patrick Brown promising carbon taxes across the country as people feel the pinch, voters are getting impatient.

For social conservatives, of course, Kevin O’Leary is a disaster. Just in case anyone was unclear as to how much he doesn’t care about social issues, he informed Ezra Levant, “I don’t care if you want to marry a goat, I’m for it.” He told CTV that he was a “feminist” who supports LGBT rights, euthanasia, and Canada’s current no-holds-barred, legal-throughout-all-nine-months abortion free-for-all. In fact, at the leadership debate in Montreal this week, O’Leary decisively declared war on the Conservative Party’s so-con wing and announced that it was time to move on from those voters who still cared about such trivialities as the family and the fate of children in the womb: “LBGTQI: done; marijuana: done; reproductive rights: 100 percent. Get used to it. That is the definition of the Conservative Party going forward.”

The threat Kevin O’Leary poses to the Conservative Party as a home for social conservatives is imminent and existential. We simply have no place in his party, and he has said so in as many words. Bluntly put, any of the other candidates is better, because most of them will at least allow members of caucus to put forward motions and legislation on the issues they care most about as well as permit votes of conscience. And if you thought Stephen Harper’s grip on his caucus was bad, imagine what a man with no political experience and a man used to cutthroat and carpetbagging business practices will do? Kevin O’Leary does not strike me as the sort of man who tolerates dissent, and based on his interviews and his reality show stints, he doesn’t even like being responded to.

Some Conservatives seem to be so frazzled by the possibility of Justin Trudeau winning re-election that they are willing to run another liberal to beat him. He may not be conservative on anything but tax cuts, and his belief in those may be based on nothing more than his own self-confessed worship of the almighty dollar, but at least he can beat Trudeau. Which would leave a lot of Canadians with no party to vote for, resulting in a lot of Canadians looking for some Reform Party-type alternative. Kevin O’Leary will not lead the Conservative Party. He will remake it.

Small-c conservatives should be a lot more concerned about O’Leary than they are. He’s generating excitement, and the Trump phenomenon should have warned us that name recognition, bombast, and promises to fatten the shrinking wallets of the everyman can be very, very effective. The economic malaise brought on by rich politicians pillaging the bank accounts of financially struggling citizens to change the climate and tilt at windmills is just beginning to be felt, and Justin Trudeau’s hugs aren’t always going to work on sobbing Canadians on the verge of bankruptcy. Tears turn to anger eventually, and then the pendulum swings. And those social conservatives who look at Trump’s overtures to the American pro-life movement and convince themselves that O’Leary might be alright need to pull their heads out of the sand. Trump spent a great deal of time trying to convince so-cons he was on their team, and appointed a horde of so-cons to various prominent positions to follow through. O’Leary is promising quite the opposite, and there is not a single good reason to disbelieve him.

If Kevin O’Leary becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party and perhaps the next prime minister of Canada, social conservatives will have no political home. If social conservatives wish to avoid that scenario, then they had better act now: Buy party memberships, research the candidates, and refuse to rank Kevin O’Leary in the final leadership vote. If he’s in, so-cons are out. It’s that simple.

15 thoughts on “Kevin O’Leary is the worst

  1. Anne Hooper says:

    If the Conservative Party becomes more Liberal by having a leader such as O’Leary, you say the social conservatives will have no political home–but there is still the Christian Heritage Party of Canada.

    • Harold Ludwig says:

      I agree. The Conservative Party has not been favorable to the ‘so-cons’ for a long time. Why not join the CHP and help it to become the only voice for those who find themselves out in the cold in the CP. It’s the only way to go in my opinion.

    • Ron Arthur says:

      Hello Anne, please tell me more about the Christian Heritage Party, Are they a real Christian party with some of the old fashioned views similar to the Social Credit Party? Just curious.

      • Peter Vogel says:

        Hello Ron, I’m a bit too young to remember the Social Credit, but I think that you will find that CHP’s views are reasonable, probably everything you wish the Conservative Party was. Go to and check it out for yourself!

  2. Dick Steenstra says:

    The only reason the Donald is now President is that he gave the social conservatives what they wanted. The fact that O’Leary is not likely to compromise his personal integrity as a social liberal to gain power should sabotage his goal to ever becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. Harper did as well as a Conservative could hope and in the end he lost his office because he and his government got tiresome. There is a time for everything, a time to be born and a time………..

  3. David says:

    when was the last time the CHP won a seat? Never. Our efforts are put to much better use getting involved in the nomination process so that, one riding at a time, the party becomes fully pro-life.

    • Rod Taylor says:

      Well, it’s obvious that if prolife, profamily Christians make it a point to NOT vote for the CHP—the only federal party which unabashedly promotes the protection of innocent human life from conception until natural death and that still promotes traditional marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman—then CHP candidates will have a hard time winning. However, if people of faith would act as if they believed that God is still able to accomplish His purposes through men and women who are willing to hold to their principles, the first CHP MP may take his or her place in the House and become a voice for the preborn unshackled by internal party politics. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen” (Heb. 11:1) We support Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux in their bids for the leadership of the CPC. If one of them wins, the party and the nation will benefit. If instead, Conservative delegates choose a social liberal in the hopes he or she can beat Trudeau, the negative impacts on this nation will be felt for generations. We are watching the race with interest; regardless of the outcome, we will continue to offer voters an uncompromising choice for life, family and freedom. We ask all Canadian so-cons consider how easily a nation can be led away from moral values. Look at how many in Germany allowed themselves to be silenced in the early years of WWII. Later, when they wanted to speak up, it was too late. You can check us out at

  4. Jodi R. says:

    A well-written commentary that rings true with me. I became a first-time Conservative Party member a few weeks ago only because I want to vote in the party’s leadership election. I will be putting Lemieux, Scheer and Trost at the top of my ballot, followed by Bernier because he supports MPs voting their conscience. If traditional conservative values are important to you, I urge you to buy a Conservative Party membership ASAP before the deadline so you too can send a strong message to the party that they NEED us social conservatives. I cannot vote for a leader that does not support my core values. If O’Leary becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party they will lose my support and my vote.

  5. Maureen Remus says:

    The reason O’Leary may be popular is because there are practically no social conservatives. Even those who people think are social conservative are really not. The so-called social conservatives have made way too many compromises.

    Based upon voting records on life issues of a number of Conservatives (and candidates for the leadership) and the fact that a number of them have done or said nothing to oppose such social ills as same-sex “marriage”, abortion, euthanasia, etc,. how are they any different than O’Leary?

    A couple of examples: Bill C 16, most of the Conservatives were not there at second reading to vote against this bill. At third reading, there was no recorded vote. There was no opposition to the bill from the Conservatives. And then there is C-309, all Conservatives present for that vote, except for one, voted for this anti-science, anti-family, anti-woman bill.

  6. Hennie says:

    If the Christian churches cannot work together among themselves but feel the need to criticize others of how they worship, how will they in politics ever work together and represent the diverse people in Canada? In Jesus alone can we stand together, not by our own power. It is time for Christians to stand together in the true saving faith of Christ, and put their local church denomination issues aside. Then, and only then, can we make a difference in the political field.

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