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The Pollcast: Kevin O'Leary, French debate shake up Conservative leadership race

The gloves come off in the French-language debate just hours before Kevin O'Leary enters the Conservative leadership race. Host Éric Grenier is joined by Conservative insiders Tim Powers and Chad Rogers to discuss how the race has changed this week.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by Conservative insiders Tim Powers and Chad Rogers

Kevin O'Leary is the 14th contestant in the Conservative leadership race. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier, explores the world of electoral politics, political polls and the trends they reveal.


The Conservative leadership campaign was shaken up on Wednesday when businessman and reality television personality Kevin O'Leary finally joined the race — just in time to miss Tuesday's French-language debate.

What impact will his candidacy have on a campaign in which none of the 13 other contestants have taken the mantle of the front runner?

O'Leary faces many challenges. Name recognition, however, is not one of them — unlike some of his rivals. But O'Leary speaks little French and has just two months to sign up new members, while some of the other contestants, such as Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch, have already been at it for the better part of a year.

His lack of French was the reason he opted out of joining the campaign before the French-language debate. But apart from demonstrating the questionable linguistic skills of some of the contestants who participated, did the debate change the dynamics of the campaign in Quebec and outside of it?

To explain the significance of O'Leary's entry into the race, Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy are back with host Éric Grenier on this week's episode of the Pollcast.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by Conservative insiders Tim Powers and Chad Rogers to discuss how the race has changed this week. 26:00

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes.

Past episodes with Chad Rogers and Tim Powers on the Conservative leadership race:

Follow Éric Grenier and Tim Powers on Twitter.

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