Kevin O'Leary is 'self-interested,' says former co-star Arlene Dickinson
Canadian investor Arlene Dickinson applauds her reality television co-star Kevin O’Leary for having the nerve to enter politics, but says that’s hardly enough to qualify him to be Canada’s next prime minister.
In a sharply worded interview with CTV News Channel, Dickinson accused O’Leary of being too self-absorbed to hold the country’s highest political office.
"Somebody who is as self-interested and opportunistic as Kevin is not somebody that I want to have run the country," Dickinson said Thursday evening.
O’Leary officially launched his campaign for the Conservative Party leadership on Wednesday, the morning after 13 other candidates participated in the party’s French-language debate. O’Leary, who is not fluent in French, called the event “incredibly bad television” that few people watched.
"Every candidate showed up, good French or not-such-great French. And I think he had an obligation to Canadians to be there," Dickinson said.
Dickinson sat next to O’Leary on Dragons’ Den, a reality show about entrepreneurs trying to lock down investments, for seven seasons. Those years on national television elevated both business leaders to national recognisability -- but Dickinson said that doesn’t mean O’Leary would make a good politician.
"Of course it gives him an advantage in terms of profile. He’s a name that is recognizable. But again, I want to say, just because we know him from television doesn’t mean that he’s the right person to run one of our major political parties," she said.
O’Leary’s background in business and reality television has inspired obvious comparisons to former Apprentice host and soon-to-be president Donald Trump, who is set to be inaugurated Friday.
O’Leary told CTV News Channel in December that the comparisons to Trump are “not an insult at all” but that they’re actually quite different.
“Think about this: I’m half-Lebanese, half-Irish – If we were building walls, I wouldn’t even be here,” O’Leary said, referencing Trump’s plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Asked whether O’Leary is Canada’s answer to Trump, Dickinson said: “I think the comparisons are inevitable.”
With files from CTV’s Power Play