Investor-turned-reality-television-star-turned-Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to "pivot" Canada's economic and environmental policies now that Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office.

"Here we are driving into a budget before we even know what's happening with our largest competitor and trading partner. It seems sort of ass backwards," he told Chris Hall in an interview airing on The House Saturday.

"I would have waited to see what the policies are south of the border on tax, corporate and personal, on trade, definitely on deregulation and on carbon. We have to be competitive."  

O'Leary says even though Trudeau was elected more than a year before Trump, the Liberal government should repeal some core pillars of its mandate, including the coming carbon pricing plan, to encourage infrastructure capital and entice companies to set up shop in Canada. 


U.S. President Donald Trump give a thumbs-up on his arrival at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday. Trump has signed about a dozen executive orders since taking office Jan. 20. (Associated Press)

"That's what great leaders do. When the facts change, when the environment changes, when the world shifts, you pivot," he said.

"When I get there in 2019 every single policy that [Trudeau] put in place regarding what makes us competitive or not will be repealed by me. All of it."

Trump's priorities are crystallizing in his first week in office. So far he's signed about a dozen executive orders and memoranda that include pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and increasing border security.

The new president made headlines Wednesday night, telling ABC News he wouldn't rule out torture as a way to fight "fire with fire."

"I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence. And I asked them the question, 'Does it work? Does torture work?'" And the answer was, 'Yes, absolutely,'" Trump said.

'Not worried about torture right now'

Asked if he'd let Canada's security apparatus work with U.S. intelligence if they used torture, O'Leary said he's more concerned with Canada's "relationship with NATO overall."

"Regarding torture, that's not on my list of first to-dos … I'm not worried about torture right now. What I'm worried about is the Canadian people," the former Dragons' Den star said.

OLeary Leadership 20170118

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary leaves a television studio after an interview in Toronto on Wednesday. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

O'Leary said he would only increase the country's spending contribution to NATO once Canada's annual GDP hits at least three per cent.

The North Atlantic military alliance has established two per cent of GDP as its annual investment benchmark. Canada ranks near the bottom of NATO membership in terms of defence spending.

"All of our problems are built around the fact that our country is no longer growing. We can't afford any of the commitments in health care, education or military," O'Leary said.

"Right now I'm focused on three things: jobs, jobs and jobs. Until we fix that, everything else is the lower end of the list. I'm sorry."