Liberal media in the U.S. are beginning to notice the emergence of Kevin O’Leary in Canadian politics.
The businessman and television personality just entered the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race and is already considered the front-runner in a pack of 14 candidates. He’s apparently selling the party memberships needed to win the contest and raising money more money than anyone else running.
At times he sounds an awful lot like President Donald Trump: during Saturday’s leadership debate in Halifax, Nova, O’Leary said that Canadians were tired of “politicians spinning BS.”
So the New York Times has just sounded the alarm bell, warning that what happened to the U.S. with Trump could happen to Canada: “Finally, a reality show narcissist with too much money and zero government experience of our very own!”
But in Canada, criticism of O’Leary has not been limited to the opinion pages — though a Toronto Star columnist did dismiss the Conservative candidate’s debate performance as “less than stellar,” and Canada’s “national news magazine” Macleans ran an op-ed entitled “Why I Won’t Vote For Kevin O’Leary And Neither Should You.”
Instead, the CBC has been relentless in releasing reports that read more like commentary, recently hectoring O’Leary for spending too much time in the U.S., where he owns a home in Boston and works on his television series “Shark Tank.”
“A CBC News analysis of O’Leary’s media appearances and social media postings suggest that five or six days of his first week campaigning were spent south of the border. While O’Leary launched his campaign in Toronto on Wednesday Jan. 18, by Thursday morning he was in New York City for an interview on Good Morning America,” it reports.
The left-of-center state broadcaster — which may worry about its $1 billion taxpayer subsidy being cut or scrapped under O’Leary — then proceeded to categorize the rest of O’Leary speaking schedule for the week, noting disapprovingly that “he gave at least one broadcast interview to a Canadian network from Hollywood, Florida, where he was attending a three day a conference on exchanged traded funds (ETFs).”
The CBC quoted O’Leary’s statement, “You know I’m actually a household name in the United States,” and proceeded to ask him if this didn’t detract from his “commitment” to Canada.
O’Leary replied that “Canadians aren’t stupid.”
Other CBC reports have suggested that liberals are joining the Conservative Party just to ensure that “extremists” like O’Leary and fellow leadership candidate Kellie “Canadian Values” Leitch aren’t elected. Though the reporter of this particular expose piece frankly admits that he was only aware of one of his friends and that “several Hamiltonians are doing the exact same thing…”
For his part, O’Leary says that given the fragility of NAFTA negotiations with the new Trump administration, his U.S. connections are an asset, not a liability: “That is of grave concern to me and I’m trying to bring our case to the American people, because there’s a lot of things they don’t know,” O’Leary said from Halifax before Saturday’s debate.