What you missed at Kevin O'Leary's AMA - Macleans.ca

What you missed at Kevin O’Leary’s AMA

Kevin O’Leary asked Redditors to pepper him with questions about his Tory leadership run. He even (apparently) brought along his French tutor.


“I’m Kevin O’Leary and I’m running for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.” So began Kevin O’Leary’s “Ask Me Anything” post that saw the businessman-turned-politician answer a bunch of questions over several hours. We scanned the chat for some of O’Leary’s most thought-provoking answers, as well as the best questions that never received a reply. It’s all presented below, unedited.

Five questions and answers worth reading

On housing

Q: Hi Kevin, thanks for joining us.

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in Canada over the real-estate market, particularly in crowded markets like the GTA and GVA. Home values are racing upwards and wages have not, putting the concept of home-ownership out of reach for many young Canadians. Do you think the Government has a responsibility to help millenials achieve home-ownership? If so, what actions does your Government plan to take? If not, what do you say to hard-working millienials who don’t have wealthy parents? Can you offer them any hope?

A: The housing market is like any other asset class. It generally has volatility in its pricing based on supply and demand. The risk for all of us now as we invest in housing is that this market has not corrected in 23 years which is an unprecedented frame of time in the Canadian economy… It’s simply not a good time to buy a house, and the market dictates that–not the government. It always ends badly when the government tries to manipulate the market. If people lose money on their property in next few years there’s only one man to blame…Trudeau, because he tried to manipulate the market!

What I can promise is that my focus will be to help grow the economy and Canada’s job opportunities so that Canadians have more money to invest in what they choose.


On climate change

Q: What is your stance on climate change?

As a country with an economy so dependant on oil and gas, should Canada be actively transitioning to more sustainable energy sources (wind, solar, tidal). How can this be done effectively?

A: Most don’t know but I have a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo.

I understand your concerns with the environment, but I also know business works. If we put in a place a carbon tax to reduce pollution the worst polluters will just relocate to jurisdictions with looser controls…at the end of the day, this will have the same impact on our global environment!

Instead of enforcing taxes, we need to allow and encourage businesses to find environmentally friendly like this innovative solution for reforestation that I got to try firsthand!

Canada is already home to a number of amazing technologies dedicated to minimizing emissions and improving our environment. Our government should work to advance these technologies and convince some of the world’s biggest polluters to use them.


On living in America

Q: Mr Wonderful,
Thanks for coming to /r/canada for this AMA. One of the big questions put forward to you is your physical presence in Canada during the leadership race and moving forward. Obviously one of the big parallels that can be made is to Michael Ignatieff who was wrecked by CPC attacks as he was “just visiting.” How are you and he different in that regard?

A: I have always been committed to Canada. I left when I was seven but came back to do my secondary and post-secondary education here. My permanent residence is in Toronto, I married my Canadian wife and we had our children in Canada. My passport is Canadian. Most members of parliament held day jobs before they were elected to office.


On supply management

Q: Kevin, what is your position on supply management? Would you continue with the system we have or phase it out? Also, when will your wines be available in Quebec?


A: Supply management is part of the trade agreements that are now open to negotiation. TPP, and potentially NAFTA in the near future. You can’t solve one without the other. We need to make sure Canadian farmers have a strong reputation while giving them access to all trade. This is the kind of problem I have global experience solving, I’ll be getting my hands dirty in this file and Canada will be coming out ahead.

On personal assets

Q: What will you do with your business empire if you become CPC leader? Will you transfer it to your children?


A: So that I don’t have a conflict of interest I’ll move to cash and indexes for all my investments–two things I have no control over which will not bias me in any way. As for my private businesses, I’ll put them into my competent partner’s hands who is a card carrying Liberal. Imagine, I found the only smart one in the country and he works for me!

Five questions O’Leary didn’t touch

1. You don’t live in Canada, you don’t speak French, you’re the 1% and you’ve never proven yourself in politics. Why should Canadians trust you?

2. Several of your business ventures which made you your millions (particularly SoftKey) were done under to put it politely, suspicious circumstances. What can you tell us about how you will deal with business corruption and regulation in Canada?

3. What are some of your fondest memories of your visits to Canada?

4. On your ballot for CPC leader who will you pick as your #2 pick for CPC Leader?

5. How do you plan on pulling young people/Millennials into the Conservative Party?


What you missed at Kevin O’Leary’s AMA

  1. It just shows how out of touch he really is. When the markets are left to govern themselves without government input, it invariably leads to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. As an example, banking. Canada has pretty tight banking regulations, thanks to Paul Martin. He put limits in place so that you could only borrow a percentage of your income. When the global meltdown hit in 2008, Canada was the only G8 country to escape without much damage, as compared tof the US, Germany and the others. It’s simple KeynesIan economics, governments have to regulate the economy. The purpose of the government is wealth redistribution, the purpose of business is wealth acquisition. So, I ask you, would you hire a plumber to defend you in court? Why would you hire a businessman to run a government? Look south and you’ll see the results. But I would admit that Kevin has two things going for him, as opposed to President Trump. The first is that he’s not quite as bombastic. The second is that he has better hair.

  2. A conservative solution to every problem is market based. Market is the supreme benevolent power that can cure all ills. How in the world has it performed over the last 50 years in The Great Capitalism…USA and in our own Canada. The facts are in Canada 11 rich persons hold as much wealth as 93 percent of the Canadian population. The US is a beacon of income inequality.

    We all know there is no perfect competition thereby you haggle a price and get the lowest price. Just check your auto insurance. Have your premiums been determined by market?.

    To solve the greatest problem of today..Poverty to masses, we can’t afford free pass to market child conservatives. We need protection from sharks…Otherwise waterworld rules will apply.

    Besides conservatives are regressive and anachronistic. They halt progressivity to strengthen their empire at the cost of downtrodden and vulnerable masses and workers. Example their stand against minimum wage standards.

    What can Kevin provide…The usual invisible hand of laissez faire and alternative facts as in Trump Republican in the US. Stand up protect the vulnerable and defend those who cannot. This one percent can ride with their invisible hand but make sure they pay their fair share of taxes…Not offshore their wealth.

  3. One contradiction irked me a lot. He says:

    The risk for all of us now as we invest in housing is that this market has not corrected in 23 years which is an unprecedented frame of time in the Canadian economy…

    But also:

    If people lose money on their property in next few years there’s only one man to blame…Trudeau, because he tried to manipulate the market!

    So the inevitable market correction that he is theorizing in the first point would somehow be the fault of our most recent Prime Minister, who has had nothing to do with the BC government’s attempts to cool the Vancouver housing market?

    Also, it’s a broad generalization to talk about millennials not being able to afford homes. I’m 24 and built a house with my husband which we moved into last year. We had no savings prior to dating(both students), and over the next 3 years or so, we saved up our 20% downpayment for our house. Yes, we had two modestly high incomes at a fairly young age, but priorities come into play. I see so many men my age who, rather than save to invest in a house, start wasting money on car payments on a new truck that they have no reason to have other than feeling entitled to drive something nice. I don’t understand that.