Conservative Party leadership may be on Kevin O'Leary's bucket list

Kevin O'Leary officially joined the Conservative Party last week and told CBC's Power & Politics his main objective is to "influence economic and fiscal policy in Canada."

Business mogul wants to fix economic policy that is 'subpar, broken and in some cases, moronic'

Kevin O'Leary on Conservative leadership aspirations

6 years ago
Duration 12:17
Canadian business mogul says it's too early to commit and is keeping all of his options open

Sharp-tongued business mogul and former Dragon's Den star Kevin O'Leary officially joined the Conservative Party last week and is deciding whether or not to run for its leadership. 

In an interview from the Conservative Party convention in Vancouver on Friday with CBC's Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, O'Leary said his main goal is to "influence economic and fiscal policy in Canada, which I think is subpar, broken and in some cases moronic [and] stupid."

"I've used many adjectives," he said. "But basically as a Canadian taxpayer, I'm really pissed off now and I plan to make some changes if I can."

But O'Leary said he doesn't yet know if becoming the federal Conservative leader is the best way to make those changes happen. 

Leader or 'kingmaker'?

"I have multiple options," he said. "This is almost seven months early. Nobody that is really considering this [party leadership] needs to declare anything 'til probably a time period between October and January." 

O'Leary suggested if he didn't run for the leadership, he could wield his influence "as a kingmaker perhaps for somebody else in this party."

Jason Kenney told CBC Radio's The House that he will decide whether to run for the Conservative Party leadership by the end of the summer. So far, three candidates — Kellie Leitch, Michael Chong and Maxime Bernier — have formally declared that they will seek the leadership. Other high-profile Conservatives, including Peter MacKay and Lisa Raitt, have not ruled out the possibility. (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)

He said he has the "platform" needed to get his message across and that he reaches more than 10 million viewers — two million of them Canadian — a week. O'Leary is one of the investors on Shark Tank, an American reality show that, like Dragon's Den, has entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in hopes of getting financial backing.   

"I understand what those numbers are worth," he said. "I want to speak to those people about the future of Canada and I can do it every single week." 

Whether he runs for the Conservative leadership or not, O'Leary said, he wants to be "part of the new branding of this party."

"It's not ever going to get a majority again if it remains in the constitution it's in now. It's just not broad enough. It's not going to appeal to enough Canadians," he said. 

When pressed by Barton on whether he has any public policy ideas beyond the economy and job creation, O'Leary said he was "an extremely liberal person" and was in favour of assisted suicide and marijuana legalization. 

In the past, O'Leary suggested he could run for either the Liberal or Conservative parties, saying he was a member of the "Canadian taxpayer party."

Getting his Conservative membership marks the first time he has been an official member of a political party, he told Barton on Friday.

Jason Kenney: King or Kingmaker in Tory leadership race?

6 years ago
Duration 1:44
As Conservatives meet in Vancouver for the party's convention today, delegates will be looking for the next Tory to enter the party's leadership race with Jason Kenney a key name to watch.

With files from Janyce McGregor