Kevin O’Leary to make a decision about Conservative leadership this winter

Click to play video: 'Conservative party must redefine itself if it wants to be the majority again: O’Leary' Conservative party must redefine itself if it wants to be the majority again: O’Leary
Businessman and financial commentator Kevin O'Leary tells Tom Clark he joined the conservative party late last week so he could have a voice in shaping its future – May 29, 2016

Businessman and newly minted Conservative Kevin O’Leary says he’ll make a decision about running for the leadership of the party by this winter.

“This decision will probably be made in January,” O’Leary told the West Block’s Tom Clark in an interview on the Conservative convention floor this weekend.

“Anywhere between October and January, you’ll start to see who’s going to come out of the weeds and who’s going to play.”

READ MORE: Bob Rae apologizes for gag caught on camera during speech about Harper

Tory candidates have until February to formally file the papers to run, but there’s been some talk about forcing the issue. Leadership debates organized by the party were supposed to begin in the fall, but some are pushing to hold them sooner in order to prompt candidates to make up their mind.

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Whatever he decides, O’Leary said he doesn’t believe that Canada needs to be “made great again.” A promise to “make America great again” has been a central message in presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign south of the border, he acknowledged, but he’s not Trump.

READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary joins Conservative party, takes centre stage at convention

“(Canada) is already great,” O’Leary said.

“We don’t need to be great again. We need to be competitive financially. I blame our politicians for creating an environment where we can’t even keep our best and brightest. We’re making it so uncompetitive, so highly taxed. So overregulated with such stupid policy, incompetent, stupidity, I just want to call them out on it. I’ve had enough.”

O’Leary officially joined to Conservative ranks ahead of this weekend’s convention, where he made several appearances.

WATCH: Kevin O’Leary calls federal budget a ‘disaster’

Click to play video: 'Kevin O’Leary calls federal budget a ‘disaster’' Kevin O’Leary calls federal budget a ‘disaster’
Kevin O’Leary calls federal budget a ‘disaster’ – May 27, 2016


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In his interview with Clark, the former Dragon’s Den star said he believes the Conservatives will have to align their platform with the views many Canadians now hold on medically assisted death, marijuana and gay rights.

“Assisted suicide? Yes. Legalizing marijuana? Yes. Gay rights? Yes. All of these are going to be identical to the Liberal Party,” O’Leary predicted.

On Saturday, the party indeed moved to re-define the term “marriage” in its official policy document, no longer restricting it to a union between one man and one woman.

A resolution to ticket, rather than criminalize, small amounts of marijuana also passed a first vote, but not by enough to move the resolution on to the final plenary.

Watch Tom Clark’s full interview with Kevin O’Leary above, and watch the extended version here:


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With a file from the Canadian Press. 

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