“Shark Tank” star and Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary says he would force all Canadian provinces to allow fracking.
Criticized by most environmentalists, fracking is a process that injects high pressure liquids into rock to extract natural gas.
It is banned or under review in a number of provinces but O’Leary told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald Monday that he would override provinces that are not “pro-jobs.”
“I want to see development of natural gas, period, and it’s going to happen. This is the domain of each premier but at the end of the day, if their policies are not pro-jobs then they’ll have to deal with me. That’s how I lead,” O’Leary told the Chronicle Herald during an interview.
“If I find any leadership, regardless of party, is not supporting economic growth for their people, I’ll be very punitive. There’s many tools I have as prime minister, and I will apply them.”
O’Leary is a late entry into the Conservative leadership race. When he jumped in last week, he joined 13 other candidates. Often likened to President Donald Trump because the actor/business/politician shares a similar no-nonsense approach to policy issues and a populist appeal, O’Leary is already the front-runner in the party’s contest and a recent Ipsos poll suggests that he could beat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals if an election were held now.
“The fracking stuff, it’s over. The technologies have advanced so far now, so fast that the concerns people had about fracking, they don’t have to have anymore. It is a such a science now that is so profound in providing extraction on a safe basis,” he said.
O’Leary would also emulate Trump by eliminating regulations that inhibit the economy and he promises “to reverse everything” in Trudeau’s fiscal planning, including the prime minister’s coming carbon tax that O’Leary calls a “cash grab.”
“As soon as I get to Ottawa the rules and regulations have to be competitive with other jurisdictions, so I have to lower corporate tax rates, I have to lower personal tax rates, I have to strip away regulations that are detrimental to the economy, I have to eliminate the carbon tax everywhere. I’m basically going to have to reverse everything Justin Trudeau did.”
But O’Leary is careful to suggest there are some differences between his policies and those of the new president, though O’Leary doesn’t so much draw a line as a hint at one.
In response to Trump’s temporary travel ban that affects seven different countries, O’Leary’s criticism is muted.
“I’m Lebanese-Irish born from immigrants to Canada. If there was a wall in Canada, I wouldn’t be here,” O’Leary said.
“We’re a very inclusive country, we have unique cultures, that’s going to remain in my mandate, that’s going to be exactly what I defend, that’s what Canada is all about.”