Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary is, if nothing else, controversial.
The former Dragon’s Den star and business man has been called “Canada’s Trump” by some, and a Michael Ignatieff-esque “tourist” by others who criticize the time he spends in Boston.
This morning, he joined Jon McComb to talk about his campaign and why he thinks he’s the best man to lead Canada.
LISTEN: Kevin O’Leary and Jon McComb one-on-one
His Boston home
So what about that controversial Boston home? Why should Canadians vote for a man whom some accuse of not even really living in the country?
“It is not my home, though I have a home there. And I think that’s where the confusion is. The truth is I have multiple homes,” says O’Leary, who pledges he’d commit to Canada if elected.
But O’Leary says he already maintains his primary residence in Ontario.
“No, I live in my residence, in otherwise my tax domicile, the number of days I spend the most is in Toronto Canada. So I travel to Boston, London, New York, Los Angeles, Shangai, Mumbai – I’m a global investor.”
On the youth vote
“I’m going to take them all back from Justin Trudeau because he screwed them, he lied to them,” O’Leary says.
He promises to do that by criss-crossing the country on a tour to win over 60% of 18-35 year old voters.
“Their party is not actually the Liberal party, but in fact the Conservative party. It’s impossible for the Conservative party to get a majority mandate without getting back 60% of those voters. I’m a numbers guy.”
O’Leary says part of that plan to win over young voters is his singular focus on creating jobs, and growing the economy.
“There are no jobs for millennials at [the current level of GDP growth], that’s what they now realize.”
On technology and productivity
While south of the border, the job loss conversation has focused on outsourcing and immigration, recent studies have shown that perhaps the biggest culprit is automation.
How would O’Leary handle the coming technological changes?
He says he sees it not as a threat, but an opportunity – with new technologies actually increasing productivity.
As for those out of a job?
“If every truck was driverless, you would be worried that there are no jobs left in the trucking industry. It’s simply not true. If every truck in Canada was driven on a driverless basis, you would still need all of the fleets managed by somebody that made the most productive pickup schedules… that is a much higher paying job than a truck driver, and yet it probably is a truck driver that got educated…”
On jobs and red tape
While O’Leary says he’s no Donald Trump, he certainly talks the same game when it comes to regulation and red tape.
O’Leary says as PM he would “get his hands dirty” by personally having it out with any level of government – be it provincial or municipal – that got in the way of creating jobs.
“When I hear that I can’t create 500 jobs because some municipal politician is slowing me up, they’ll get a visit from the Prime Minister. I’ll fix that problem in 24 hours,” he claims.
Asked how he’d do that when provincial or municipal level policy is neither in the wheelhouse – nor jurisdiction of the Prime Minister, O’Leary points to his “open letter” campaign against Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne – which he credits with knocking her approval rating down by more than 20 points.
“All I did was simply tell the facts to the people which I get to 1.2 million per day now, on social media, they know who I am, and I explain to them what she’s doing wrong, I will not tolerate mediocrity or bad behaviour at any level of government. And if you don’t want a Prime Minister like that, don’t vote for me.”