Politics

Kevin O'Leary 'writing off' Kellie Leitch's Tory leadership bid

Kevin O'Leary says he is writing off the campaign of Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch over her idea to screen potential immigrants and refugees for what she calls anti-Canadian values.

Former 'Dragon's Den' star calls values vetting proposal 'un-Canadian'

Kevin O'Leary discusses the possibility of him running for the leadership of the federal conservative Party, or if he will be a kingmaker for one of the other candidates. 2:35

Kevin O'Leary says he is writing off the campaign of Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch over her idea to screen potential immigrants and refugees for what she calls anti-Canadian values.

"That is totally un-Canadian. That is not how we work. I wouldn't be here if that kind of mandate existed," said O'Leary, who is of Lebanese-Irish origin.

O'Leary is still deciding whether he wants to join the Conservative leadership race or endorse another contender.

His brash style, self-professed love for making money and appearances on reality TV drew comparisons to the U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump when O'Leary started grabbing headlines earlier this year by trashing the economic record of Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, then saying he would like to become a Conservative prime minister and run government like a business.

At the time, O'Leary said he did not share the American politician's views on foreign or social policy, especially when it comes to immigration.

O'Leary, who has been hosting various candidates at his cottage near Parry Sound, Ont., to see whether there is anyone whose ideas he likes enough to endorse instead of entering the race himself, said he plans to either declare his candidacy or throw his weight behind someone else by mid-November at the latest.

Leitch's proposal, which she has defended as a way to promote tolerance and respect, has become a wedge issue in the otherwise lacklustre Conservative leadership campaign, pushing her rivals to declare where they stand.

Earlier Monday, Tony Clement went at the issue in another way, unveiling a national security plan that would include putting people at high risk of committing terrorist acts behind bars if they cannot be monitored around the clock.

"If they are so dangerous to the Canadian population that they deserve a peace bond slapped on them, I would put it to you that unless we can surveil them 24/7, they should be incarcerated," Clement told a news conference Monday in Ottawa.

Clement said this would have to follow a judicial process — and be subject to judicial review — but said the details would be up to the courts.

The Ontario MP and former cabinet minister said the case of Aaron Driver, 24, a known terrorist sympathizer who was killed in a confrontation with police in Strathroy, Ont., showed the limits of court-ordered peace bonds to deal with people who have extremist ideas.

The RCMP has acknowledged that Driver, who was under a peace bond while he planned his thwarted terrorist attack with explosives last month, was not under constant surveillance and that it was a tip from U.S. authorities that alerted them to his plans.