Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O’Leary wants to know: Are Canadians in or out on his possible Tory bid?

O'Leary wants Canadians' advice on leadership

OTTAWA — Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary says he’s amassed a team of advisers on whether he should run for leadership of the federal Conservatives and now wants advice from Canadians.

The reality TV star and entrepreneur formally unveiled his circle of Conservative confidants Friday and also launched a website “O’Leary For Canada” seeking input from the public on whether he should officially join the race.

Among those on his leadership committee are former Ontario premier Mike Harris, former Conservative senator Marjory LeBreton and two former Conservative MPs.

The head of his exploratory committee is Mike Coates, who once helped prepare former prime minister Stephen Harper for election debates and also works as a vice-chairman of a public relations firm.

In a video posted to his Facebook page Friday, O’Leary brandished a spatula he says will be needed in 2019 to “scrape all that crap out” of Ottawa in 2019.

He said he needs to determine whether he’s the right person to do that and identify the path to success.

“It’s time to make a change in this country,” he said.

“We’ve got a big mess going on right now. Everybody knows that.”

The committee will make the rounds over the next few weeks and report back to O’Leary with findings early in 2017.

O’Leary is perhaps best known among Canadians from his work on the CBC television show “Dragons’ Den” and later its American equivalent. He’s also worked as a commentator on CTV and BNN in recent months, but no longer.

“As a result of today’s announcements that Kevin O’Leary has formed exploratory committee for a Conservative leadership run and has launched a website, he will no longer be a contributor to BNN or CTV News,” a spokesman for Bell Media said in an emailed statement.  

O’Leary first began musing about running for the leadership nearly a year ago, and has been making the rounds — publicly and privately — of Conservative gatherings for months trying to gauge support for his own bid or whether he should back someone else. He formally joined the Conservative party ahead of its convention in May.

There are 14 officially registered candidates in the Conservative leadership race and the deadline for new entrants to sign up is Feb. 24. The results of the contest will be released in May.

Though he has not officially registered to run, remarks attributed to him last week saw other Conservative candidates quickly move to disparage him.

Conservative MPs Michael Chong and Erin O’Toole both condemned a report that O’Leary told an Ottawa radio station that Canadians are known as peacekeepers, not warriors, and “there is nothing proud about being a warrior.”

O’Leary later wrote on social media that Canadians are great at both roles.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Where are Delta’s missing salmon?

Cougar Creek is seeing lower-than-usual returns of spawning salmon. The Blob may be the reason.

UPDATE: Suspect of interest ID’d after man shot near Surrey school

Police don’t know what motive was in shooting near Surrey-Delta border

VIDEO: MP details what gang and housing announcements mean for Surrey

Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai speaks about recent funding commitments

Double graves coming to Surrey civic cemeteries for the first time

Surrey council approves cemetery bylaw changes, which will also allow upright headstones

COLUMN: Cannabis legalization brings challenges for Canadian police

Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord talks about the challenges police face as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: ‘Glow Christmas’ opens for the holiday season

Massive Langley light show features 500,000 lights

Kelowna Rockets slip past Vancouver Giants: ‘When you don’t execute, there’s got to be changes’

Giants coach frustrated after his team’s 3-2 loss at Langley Events Centre

First Nation plans to block Kinder Morgan pipeline

A “healing lodge” will be constructed in the path of Trans Mountain project

Last days for notorious homeless camp in Chilliwack River Valley

One local sports fisher frustrated by slow response from police and all levels of government

Fuel spill follows train derailment near Hell’s Gate

Empty grain train jumped the track after a landslide

BC Ferries vehicle traffic last summer was best ever

CEO says positive results reduce future pressure on fares

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Most Read