Kevin O’Leary, you’re dead to me. Phhhht. Clown, begone!
You were the great best hope for the Conservative Party of Canada in its quest to find leadership fit for the day. Not that you would have made a particularly good politician, but you held promise: you had just the right mix of charisma, narcissism, guile and perception of success to turn heads in the culture as it stands today. You were the only one in a field of 17 would-be party leaders with even a chance of competing against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019, himself the perfect fit for contemporary culture: you discerned correctly that his fascination with himself and rejection of the burden substance requires were no liabilities at all in the eyes of those who voted him in, and concluded that measuring him against old-school social values would be futile as a knockout political strategy.
What none of the other candidates hoping to be the one elected on May 27 (save for Andrew Scheer, perhaps) seem to understand is that conservatism on its own is not a valued commodity in Canadian politics today. All the social peer pressure is tilted toward supporting progressive brands. Any conservative-leaning party leader who would become prime minister must think bigger than brand, and demonstrate recognition of the forces shaping the world’s economic and political landscape. To do less is to lead your party into the wilderness of perpetual opposition, where arguing semantics and abstract political points will have to count as your contribution.
You, O’Leary, had that global awareness, even if you had no track record to prove you could also be a “good Conservative”, and were doing a poor job demonstrating that you were more than half-heartedly interested in being a good Canadian. The people, nevertheless, responded to the appearance of a Canadian champion in a worldwide movement of nations’ citizens who are saying no to servitude to unseen offshore masters. They made you the frontrunner on the very day you announced your candidacy, and kept you there until your stunning withdrawal two days before mail-in voting was to begin. Continue reading