PHOTOS: Kevin O’Leary, in a typical pose (CBC photo). Below: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and perpetual Alberta conservative leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk.

Give Kevin O’Leary his due. At least the guy is faintly entertaining.

Perhaps Mr. O’Leary should run for public office himself, or at least the leadership of the sad-sack federal Conservatives.

Being a loud-mouthed, deep pocketed, obnoxious former entertainer whose mind is not exactly in the first rank, but whose devoted fans could care less, is obviously no barrier to political success in North America nowadays.

This may be true even if, unlike loud-mouthed would-be American Republican president Donald Trump or loud-mouthed would-be Alberta conservative premier Thomas Lukaszuk, you don’t exactly excel in the tonsorial department.

Just knowing how to get noticed gives the slaphead neocon meat puppet – I’ve been waiting for a legitimate chance to say that about someone for years – a significant edge over the sorry field of contenders striving to replace the unlamented Stephen Harper as leader of the foundering Conservatives, the party that only had one big idea and that was pipelines.

At least when Mr. O’Leary offers to pony up a million dollars in stock purchases for the Alberta oil industry (some endorsement of them!) if Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will only step aside, or when he claims Ms. Notley is not qualified for her job (not having a suggestively named TV show of her own, I guess) folks actually notice and journalists write everything down.

This annoys plenty of people – when Mr. O’Leary first flapped his gums at Ms. Notley, it seemed as if half the registered Twitter users in Alberta had the identical visceral reaction: “What an asshat!” Only, of course, they didn’t say … “hat.” But at least they noticed, and they mostly they didn’t also laugh out loud.

In that regard, compare Mr. O’Leary’s pronouncements to the kind of things real rumoured candidates for the Tory leadership are saying. I could have sworn I heard Lisa Raitt, the Tory finance critic (or as we say here in Alberta, where pretentiousness may be all we have left, the Shadow Minister of Finance), on the CBC today complaining that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shouldn’t be spending money on economic stimulus when he could be doing like his predecessor and trying to build pipelines!

No sign of the story on the CBC’s website tonight, but maybe they were embarrassed, or inundated with queries from listeners wondering what those pipelines were supposed to carry now that oil prices are scraping the bottom of the bbl – French perfume? Cod liver oil?

Like Messrs. Trump and Lukasazuk, Mr. O’Leary strikes me as the kind of fellow who thinks he’s won every argument he’s been in – even if he, ummmm, hasn’t exactly.

I think both he and Ms. Notley came out of their recent sound bite battle confident they’d won. “The last time a group of wealthy businessmen tried to tell Alberta voters how to vote, I ended up becoming premier,” Ms. Notley observed, accurately enough.

Call me partisan, but I give the contest to Ms. Notley on points – even if I would have preferred if she hadn’t used the phrase “bring it on,” which, if anyone had asked me, always carries a whiff of hubris.

Alert readers will recall President George W. Bush saying something similar back in 2003, in response to a reporter’s question about Iraqi insurgents shooting at American troops in their country. “My answer is bring ’em on! We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation,” President Bush famously said, after which they did. Even Mr. Bush now admits that was probably a mistake, which is a big step for a conservative.

If I wrote Ms. Notley’s one liners, I would have recommended something that conveyed the same message, but without tempting fate. You know, like: “Go ahead … make my day.”

I suppose we should be careful what we wish for, but it does seem to me Mr. O’Leary would not only a better choice for the federal Tories than anything they’ve got on offer at the moment, but be someone who has the potential to make Kevinism respectable again.

For those of you who live a protected North American lifestyle, the idea of Kevinism is a genuine meme in Germany right now – or, as the Germans would put it, Kevinismus.

Discover Magazine explains: “Another day, another crazy German noun: Kevinismus, which basically means, ‘You’re named Kevin? Sucks to be you.’ According to a study of interactions on the German dating site eDarling, online daters don’t even bother to click on the profiles of users with names … like Kevin. The authors suggest that this online neglect due to their unpopular names mirrors lifelong social neglect, which is also responsible for making Kevins smoke more, get less education, and have lower self-esteem.”

Or, as an actual German site explained: “Kevinismus leads sufferers, and especially their offspring, to social isolation.”

That would explain a lot, don’t you think? That’s all I’m going to have to say on the topic of Kevin O’Leary.

NOTE: A few hours after this post was published, media began to report that Mr. O’Leary is in fact considering a run for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party. Life imitates art. This post also appears on

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  1. There is a distinctive dunce quality to the loudmouth screeching that accompanies the hubris and xenophobic whipping up of division type politics. There may be a rush to band together mob-style to support these creepy types.

    They may find ways of stirring up hornets nests – and creating a verve of excitement – but in the final analysis it leads only to a lack of empathy and problem solving.

    If Notley moves to unbridled progressivism – postal and public banking, and worker co-ops for public service delivery like hospital laundry, that is unionized – the Alberta NDP will be squarely on the side of what is needed in efficient and effective governance. There is no upside for supporting the narrowness of the hypocrite O’Leary. A year ago, he was siding with Paul Calandra, ridiculing the idea of diversifying from oil to a focus on renewable energy.

    1. too right!
      It’s worth spending a few moments on this topic of “ridiculing the idea of diversifying from oil” because he wasn’t the only one doing it; the whole free-market fundamentalist nutbar mob from harper and Oliver all the way to low-life scribblers like Levant were scoffing at the idea of diversifying.
      We had more than a few warnings, not least from 2 Nobel prize winning economists, that the national economy was suffering from the Dutch Disease, the Resource Curse. But hey … what did those pontificating, ivory tower blowhards know? Things were great; we were making money hand over fist! Even though we couldn’t afford public services or infrastructure maintenance.
      Now of course, after a couple decades of the hollowing out or outright sell-offs of the non-petroleum parts of the economy (that’s the disease) we’re stuck with all this shiny petro infrastructure and all these grand petro plans (and incidentally, lots of petro pollution) but no petro dollars to make it go.
      It will take a phenomenal and prodigious amount of time and money to re-build the economy back to where it was in the 1980’s. In the meantime; lots of finger pointing by the wealthy and tough times for the rest of us.

  2. Kevin has always been seen as an annoying entertainer – sorta like your harmlessly tippling uncle at a family reunion.

    Now that he is nibbling at the edges of the blood sport of politics he may want to reconsider full engagement lest he tempt anybody into doing a deep and comprehensive dive into the true beginnings of the O’Leary legend.

    1. Ironically, if the O’Leary legend is exposed, it will have been done in the first instance by other CPC leadership candidates. Hahahaha!

  3. It needs to be pointed out a million dollar share purchase of Alberta oil companies does put a single cent into company coffers. This million dollar investment would be bottom fishing and would do nothing to keep any Alberta workers employed.
    O’Leary is making headlines to gain the spotlight and further his
    own interests.

  4. To answer your lead-in question David, I have just one word; Hell yes!
    I wonder if the neocon meat puppets will get that?

    I can’t think of a better person to lead the Conservatives than Mr. Kevin O’Leary. It would be a nice bookend to the Trump leading the Republicans.

  5. Instead of throwing money around to get Ms. Notley to step down, Kevin the Bald should funnel cash into his own campaign to become Tory leader. Should he overcome the odds and replace Lisa Raitt on the front bench, doing so would ensure the Tories stay in opposition for at least one election cycle or until the party knives get tired of the unctuous gasbag, whichever comes first.

  6. “…slaphead neocon meat puppet…” – I like it but I had to go and check out the meaning of the first word. I now know that conveniently it has two meanings, both of which apply. I remember that Dubya Bush was described as Dick Cheney’s meat puppet. Best not to dwell on that.

    As an alternative comeback phrase for Rachel Notley, may I suggest Crocodile Dundee’s immortal lines:

    “That’s not a knife.” [He pulls out a large bowie knife] “THAT’s a knife.”

    Not sure how that actually applies in this case but I’ve always like the line.

    O’Leary as head of the FedCons or perhaps the ConOpps (it has a suitably cloak-and-dagger sound to it) may cause the Cons to collapse to a singularity – zero volume and infinite density.

  7. Another Right-wing show pony wannabe potentate who conflates shooting his mouth off for cheap heat with sage, informed commentary?
    What could go wrong with that run for the money, eh big spender? I’ll invest a million dollars into clown supplies (shoes and noses: one size fits all) if you do.

  8. Good column skewering K O’L in Fort Mc paper today:

    excerpt: ‘…those of O’Leary’s ilk who blame the province’s corporate tax rise are ignoring basic precepts of economics.

    For one, no corporate tax rate will change the fact that oilsands projects are operating at a consistent loss when prices are this low. Recall as well that corporate taxes apply only to a company’s revenues after expenses, not to gross revenues. As a result, companies that aren’t posting profits are not paying those higher corporate rates, and logically cannot have been affected by them.’

  9. The problem with wealthy people going into politics is that in business the wealthy are often surrounded by yes men that suck up to them and tell them how bright they are to keep their jobs, advance their careers or get a good business deal. While there is nothing illegal with sucking up to wealthy people, the problem is when they start to believe it and their ego takes over (exhibit 1 – Donald Trump). They also live a life insulated from real world problems and it often soon becomes obvious that they don’t know or don’t care about the real problems of the vast majority who work for a living.

    It doesn’t cost Kevin O’Leary anything to pontificate about Alberta’s problems, which of course he doesn’t really know much about not living or working here (hint: maybe the economic problems are related to the decline in the price of oil) Also, his buying $1 million in shares is not necessarily going to create one extra job in Alberta, although his broker in Toronto may be able to buy a new Mercedes from the extra commission.

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