Former ‘Dragon’ weighs in on Kevin O’Leary’s bid to become Conservative leader

Former ‘Dragon’ weighs in on Kevin O’Leary’s bid to become Conservative leader

November 7, 2019 100 By Luis Garrison


So Arlene,
the Dragon, you know, is Kevin O’Leary,
a former Dragon of yours, with you. Are you surprised
to hear that he is entering
the leadership race? No, I wasn’t surprised
to hear he was entering
the race. I mean, Kevin
as we all know, as all Canadians know,
he’s an opportunistic man and he would have
seen the opportunity to have even more
fame and attention than he has already when
he stepped into the race. So you think that’s
why he’s in this, for the fame and
for the attention? I think that’s pretty
typical of Kevin. His style is to make sure
that he is front and centre and getting attention, and he uses his persona
to do that. So I definitely think that
that’s a piece of it. Did he ever talk to you
about getting involved in politics,
or did he ever mention it? Never mentioned
it to me, no. Hm, so why do
you think this is– why do you think
this is happening now, based on what
you know of him? Listen, I had
the unique opportunity to sit beside Kevin
for several years and watched him
day in and day out and week in
and week out and watched as he dealt
with everyday Canadians who had aspirations
to build businesses and to do great things
with their lives, and you know, the only
filter Kevin ever applied was whether or not he was
going to make money. And unfortunately,
that’s not a filter that you want to see,
or the Conservative Party should want to see,
or Canadians would want to see in terms
of their leader. I mean, you have to have
compassion and empathy, and these are two things
that I never saw him use. And a great example
of that wasHope Blooms,a story that many
Canadians know about where you had underprivileged
inner-city kids trying to do something
for themselves and for their community, and
he couldn’t get past the fact that he wouldn’t
make money at it and be able to understand
that this was just something that he should do because
it was the right thing to do. That’s interesting. And you’ve said that
he would get disgusted with how human and compassionate
you were, right? [chuckles] Yeah,
I mean, you know, he chided me for having
any level of compassion with Canadians or
with entrepreneurs and small business,
and it just surprises me because this is
the backbone of our country, this is incredibly
important. I mean,
business is personal. Business is about people,
and empathy and compassion is incredibly
desirable in leaders. So you know,
all right, so we saw a clip
from earlier today from a few
years ago, this was on
The Lang and O’Leary Exchange,
where he basically said that he wanted
to get rid of unions and throw
people in jail if they were still
members of a union. Now, we put an email into
his campaign and they say, well, that was something
he said on TV, that’s not a policy
statement that he’s making. So what should
we do with that? You know, he’s said a lot
of outrageous things, you can argue,
on television. Do you think–
does he always believe what he says or is
this more about bluster? I would– listen,
one of the first questions I ever get asked when
we talk about the show is whether Kevin
is the same person off the show
as he is on the show. The answer that
question is yes, and that should put enough fear
into Canadians right there because he is not showing up
as somebody different. That isn’t just bluster
for television. That isn’t just
his persona. That is who
this man is. That, in fact,
is the very issue that I think we have
to grapple with here, is this somebody
that we want as the leader? And ultimately, you know,
there’s an old saying– if somebody shows
you who they are, believe them
the first time. So do you think that
it’s fair for us, you know, in the media
to go and say, all right, there’s a lot
of tape of Kevin O’Leary, and to go
through it and say, hm, I wonder if he
still believes that, I wonder if he
believes that, and just go
through the list. Is that a fair
exercise, and…? Well, you know, you
can’t have it both ways. You can’t use the media
and the TV shows that you’re on to
present who you are, and especially in
a reality television show where you’re supposed
to be presenting exactly who you are
as an individual, and then not
be held accountable to those statements
later on. We all say things that later
on we might say, no, that’s not quite
what I want, because I have
more information. But I think if you
went back through the tapes, time and time again
and you compare them to policy–
which by the way, I don’t think
he has laid out yet, but if he had laid out
a lot of policy and you went back
and compared it, I would be very surprised
if these things lined up. So yes, I think
it’s reasonable. Especially when these
things are said over and over
and over again, which is something
that Kevin does do. He’s very on point
all the time about the views
he has. He says that it’s not
fair to compare him to Donald Trump,
what do you think? Why not? Tell me why you
think it is fair. Listen, I don’t think
Kevin O’Leary is Donald Trump. I think there’s
many characteristics, however, that you can
certainly draw a line to. The bravado,
the lack of awareness of other
people’s circumstances, the desire to have it
all be about himself, these are things–
the narcissism, for lack of
a better word. I think there is
a lot of similarities between these
two individuals. What’s different
is the countries in which they’re trying
to exert themselves in. Our circumstance in Canada
is completely different than the circumstance
in the US, and so whether
it will play here is yet to be seen, but I believe
Canadians are much smarter and looking for
something far different than what this type of
individual might be as a leader. What would Canada
look like under a Prime Minister
Kevin O’Leary? Kevin’s been known
to cut and run when things get bad. He did it with
his business dealings with Mattel, he’s done it
with other business dealings that he’s had. I mean listen, I think
you don’t want somebody leading a country
who when things are bad cuts and runs,
so what would it look like? I don’t think it would
be fiscally conservative, I don’t think it would
support our military, I don’t think it would
help the underprivileged, I don’t think
it would be a country that would represent
the core values that we as
Canadians adhere to. Wow, you are not
a fan of this bid. You know, listen. I will have a drink
with Kevin O’Leary, that doesn’t mean
I think he should be the leader
of our country. Okay. Arlene, it was interesting
speaking with you this afternoon,
thank you very much. Thank you.