Friday, January 20, 2017

Is Bostonian Kevin O'Leary the Conservative Ignatieff?

So Kevin O'Leary wants to lead the Conservative Party of Canada and, ultimately, to replace Justin Trudeau as Canadian Prime Minister.

There are many reasons to hold O'Leary in total contempt not the least of which are his musings on throwing all members of unions into jail (seems he doesn't really grasp the notion of a constitutional democracy!) and abolishing the minimum wage (something that, happily, the Prime Minister of Canada cannot actually do for the vast majority of Canadian workers).

There is the fact that his former co-"Dragon" Arlene Dickenson has called him out for his lack of empathy, a disturbing quality all too prevalent among white males of a certain age and class in our society. You can watch the full interview with her here. It is enlightening.

But then there is also the fact that, like the Liberals with the odious Michael Ignatieff, O'Leary actually seems far more at home in the great empire to the south than he does in the country he wants to lead!

In 2013, long after he rose to fame on the (publicly owned and financed) CBC as an alleged "Canadian" businessman first on the Dragon's Den show in 2006 and then on the Lang and O'Leary Exchange in 2009, he sat down with Boston Magazine to show where his heart really lies.

Which is in, surprisingly for someone who wants to be the Canadian PM, Boston! "I have homes in Toronto, Geneva, and other places, but Boston is home" he told them.

Given how much right wing voters like to wrap themselves in the flag and spout their toxic form of faux nationalism, it will be interesting to see how O'Leary tries to repackage himself as more Canadian than maple syrup.

And it had not just been home for a year or two at that point, by his own admission O'Leary moved to Boston in the  mid 1990's! That is twenty years ago.

After telling them how much of Patriots fan he is -- that being the New England Patriots who are presumably patriotic about a country other than Canada -- O'Leary went on to share this gem about how "hardcore" he is:
Here’s what I am: I tell the truth about money all the time. I don’t believe there is a gray area when it comes to money. It’s black or white, and money is binary. You either make it or you lose it. People say I’m heartless, but I’m not, I’m the only one up there telling you exactly what’s going to happen to you, and if you don’t want to hear that, I couldn’t care less. I’m not trying to make friends. If you want friends, buy a dog. I’m trying to make money.
Well, put in those terms about not caring or wanting to make friends given that all you are trying to do is make money, you are obviously the right person for the job of leading a country of 35 million people.

O'Leary did not just muse about making all Canadian unions illegal either. He told the L.A. Times how he would like to do the same thing as the American President:
 "If I were the president of the United States, I would make unions illegal," O'Leary declared, between sips of Cabernet during a Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. "They no longer serve a functional purpose in democracy, in my view.
Showing a great insight into how poverty, systemic oppression, dead end jobs and people's lives work he went on to say that no one forced American workers to work at places like Wal-Mart and that instead of unions to deal with low wages Wal-mart workers should simply start their own businesses and sell their products to Wal-Mart.

Presto, problem solved!

These quotes (and many others) are all very easy to find, and given his total inability to speak the language of the second most populous province in the country, one has to wonder just how connected to Canada he has really felt other than when the national broadcaster, the CBC, gifted him opportunities to promote himself on national TV and when he woke up one day and decided he should be our great leader.

Conservatives should remember the last time a major Canadian party thought it wise to import a leader from the state of Massachusetts with a demonstrably tenuous connection to the country.

Though, given how well that ended for the Liberals, perhaps we should all hope they don't remember and repeat one of the biggest mistakes in recent Canadian political history.

See also: The Kathleen Wynne catastrophe

See also: Obama's Lies, Male Violence, Meryl Streep & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List January 8-15

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