The View From Here – Canada doesn’t need Kevin O’Leary’s political sideshow

Tom Henihan
Since announcing his bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Kevin O’Leary says that the O’Leary everyone knows from television is not who he really is.

Apparently, all that attention-seeking rudeness and tiresome bluster is just a persona; that’s just Kevin the entertainer.

The longtime venture capitalist says that he is not a capitalist either.

When Kevin the entertainer is in the US he puts himself over as American or at the very least as an American resident whose home is in Boston.
When O’Leary the would be politician comes north of the border all that changes and he apparently lives in Toronto.

He appears as bewildered about his primary residence as Mike Duffy and dangerously unsure of his personal and national identity.

When talking about what he would bring to the table as leader of the Conservative Party, O’Leary touts his name recognition among Americans as valuable capital that he can spend furthering Canadian interests in the US.

“I’ve built a trust over a decade with them on television and to be able to explain our relationship in a unique way, in a way that they will trust.”

Evidently, nothing wins the trust of an American television audience than ten years of watching a personality, who by his own admission, is completely contrived.

O’Leary also suffers a delusion that is common among vain old geezers, believing he understands the 18 to 35 year-old demographic and also believing that they identify with him.

He says he can draw young Canadians as members of the Conservative Party.

“There’s no other candidate that connects with the young in the way I can,” he said. “They grew up with me; I’ve been on television forever.”

I can only hope that not many Canadians have wasted their youth watching the Lange and O’Leary Exchange, Dragons Den and Shark Tank?

From a shark’s perspective, having prevailed in the high-minded, complex world of American reality television, O’Leary believes he is eminently qualified to lead Canada.

And as O’Leary has said that he doesn’t plan to step away from his TV show “Shark Tank,” it is reasonable to assume that he sees party leadership and maybe even the role of prime minister of Canada as something he can fulfill on the side while also doing the more important work of ensuring his name recognition in the US.

In the midst of these troubling times, Brexit, the instability in countries across Europe and the volatile political circus in the US, Canada has gained the reputation as a country that exercises restraint, puts compassion before fear and remains open and progressive while other countries become immobilized, self-absorbed and descend into siege mode.

It would be a shame for Canadians of any political stripe to squander that reputation by offering a platform to a loudmouthed purveyor of snake oil such as Kevin O’Leary.

Canadians should avoid subscribing to the prevailing cult of personality, if O’Leary’s shock jock, contrarian persona can be deemed personality.

O’Leary expresses little affinity for Canada other than believing he can run the country better than anyone who actually lives here.

While the polls look favourable, his Achilles heel may be that he doesn’t speak French though he says he is learning.

However, I doubt he will be proficient enough to shoot his mouth off and insult people in a second language by May 27, 2017.

Share this post