Kevin O'Leary hints at possible run for Liberal Party leadership

Kevin O'Leary, the reality TV star and entrepreneur who has talked of running for the federal Conservative Party leadership, tells CBC News Network he might take a run at the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Reality TV personality and businessman says he is a member of the 'Canadian tax payer party'

Kevin O'Leary: Leadership contender?

7 years ago
Duration 8:26
Entrepreneur vows to be a 'nightmare for politicians' on economic policy

Forget about the colour of #TheDress — is former Dragon's Den personality and businessman Kevin O'Leary red or blue?

In a television interview with Reshmi Nair on CBC News Network, O'Leary, who earlier talked about running for the federal Conservative Party leadership, said he does not rule out running for the Liberals.

"I don't think the old political brands will matter in the next election," O'Leary said, adding he is a member of the "Canadian tax payer party" and will speak on behalf of all Canadians.

"I can choose which party to actually run in because I think there will be a leadership race in the Liberal Party," he said.

O'Leary said he wants to change Canada's fiscal and economic policies because they are "broken and failing the taxpayer."

Kevin O'Leary on being taken seriously

7 years ago
Duration 1:40
Businessman and TV commentator speaks to reporters at the Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa.

When asked by Nair whether he can do business in both official languages, long seen as a litmus test for aspiring prime ministers, O'Leary said he cannot.

"I was terrible in school in French. I failed every time I tried," he said, adding he spoke "the language of jobs."

"But I don't think that is going to matter," he said. "People tell me you can't win an election if you don't speak [French]. I think if you speak jobs and the economy you can win every election."

O'Leary also rebuffed comparisons of him and Donald Trump, the ex-reality TV star and businessman currently campaigning to be the Republican candidate in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

"We both enjoy success in reality television," O'Leary said, "but that's where comparisons end. What Trump is doing in the United States has nothing to do with the challenges in Canada."

O'Leary teases Tories

O'Leary appeared at the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa on Friday and talked of a possible run for the leadership of the federal Conservative party, vowing to be Finance Minister Bill Morneau's "worst nightmare."

He was on stage as part of a session dedicated to potential leadership contenders at this year's edition of former Reform party leader Preston Manning's annual gathering for Canadian conservatives.

Kevin O'Leary speaks during a session entitled "If I run here's how I'd do it" during a conservative conference in Ottawa Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

O'Leary, who drew several rounds of applause, said he would dedicate himself to holding both federal and provincial governments to account.

"What I'm going to be doing with this platform and why I'm here today is I've decided that in every government policy or government spending from now on, I'm going to spend a tremendous amount of energy exposing it to the public and showing them where it's broken," he said.

"I hope to make this a nightmare for politicians that think they can continue wastefully spending our money."

With files from CBC's Aaron Wherry