Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O’Leary wants to know: Are Canadians in or out on his possible Tory bid?

O'Leary wants Canadians' advice on leadership

OTTAWA — Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary says he’s amassed a team of advisers on whether he should run for leadership of the federal Conservatives and now wants advice from Canadians.

The reality TV star and entrepreneur formally unveiled his circle of Conservative confidants Friday and also launched a website “O’Leary For Canada” seeking input from the public on whether he should officially join the race.

Among those on his leadership committee are former Ontario premier Mike Harris, former Conservative senator Marjory LeBreton and two former Conservative MPs.

The head of his exploratory committee is Mike Coates, who once helped prepare former prime minister Stephen Harper for election debates and also works as a vice-chairman of a public relations firm.

In a video posted to his Facebook page Friday, O’Leary brandished a spatula he says will be needed in 2019 to “scrape all that crap out” of Ottawa in 2019.

He said he needs to determine whether he’s the right person to do that and identify the path to success.

“It’s time to make a change in this country,” he said.

“We’ve got a big mess going on right now. Everybody knows that.”

The committee will make the rounds over the next few weeks and report back to O’Leary with findings early in 2017.

O’Leary is perhaps best known among Canadians from his work on the CBC television show “Dragons’ Den” and later its American equivalent. He’s also worked as a commentator on CTV and BNN in recent months, but no longer.

“As a result of today’s announcements that Kevin O’Leary has formed exploratory committee for a Conservative leadership run and has launched a website, he will no longer be a contributor to BNN or CTV News,” a spokesman for Bell Media said in an emailed statement.  

O’Leary first began musing about running for the leadership nearly a year ago, and has been making the rounds — publicly and privately — of Conservative gatherings for months trying to gauge support for his own bid or whether he should back someone else. He formally joined the Conservative party ahead of its convention in May.

There are 14 officially registered candidates in the Conservative leadership race and the deadline for new entrants to sign up is Feb. 24. The results of the contest will be released in May.

Though he has not officially registered to run, remarks attributed to him last week saw other Conservative candidates quickly move to disparage him.

Conservative MPs Michael Chong and Erin O’Toole both condemned a report that O’Leary told an Ottawa radio station that Canadians are known as peacekeepers, not warriors, and “there is nothing proud about being a warrior.”

O’Leary later wrote on social media that Canadians are great at both roles.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Chris Squires of The Wack Window Cleaning Company has created the #100housechallenge where he’ll be cleaning the exterior windows of 100 homes for free when an interior window cleaning service is purchased and a food item is donated to Wilma’s Transition Society. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack window cleaner ready to donate to Wilma’s through #100housechallenge campaign

Chris Squires enjoys providing service, wants to express it via donations, giving back to community

A cyclist was struck at the intersection of Prest and Bailey roads in Chilliwack on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Cyclist struck by SUV in Chilliwack

Incident happened at Prest and Bailey roads around 2:45 p.m. Saturday

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read