Kevin O'Leary supports transgender rights amid U.S. bathroom debate
Published Friday, February 24, 2017 10:41AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 24, 2017 12:42PM EST
Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says the party has to respect the rights of LGBTQ people in order to win over millennial voters -- and that the party's social conservatives will get on board if it means winning a majority government.
In an interview to air Sunday on CTV's Question Period, O'Leary said his 24-year-old daughter threatened to campaign against him in the next election if he didn't respect reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights.
"She voted for Trudeau in the last election. She said to me, dad, if you don't cover me, if you don't take care of what I want, I will campaign against you in this election," O'Leary told Question Period host Evan Solomon.
"She's my high bar. I have to win her back. Not only her but all of her compatriots. They've gotta vote for me. So, reproductive rights? Done. LGBTQI? Done. Those are the things that are so important for her and her generation. We as a party have to embrace them. We need them to be part of the Conservative Party."
Several of the celebrity investor's competitors in the Conservative Party leadership race have been vocal on social issues, including assisted dying and abortion. Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, for example, refers to himself as "100 per cent Conservative."
Social issues are bound to arise during Friday's Conservative leadership debate at the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa, particularly with the Senate considering a bill to enshrine the rights of transgender Canadians. O'Leary's comments also come following U.S. President Donald Trump reversing Obama-era protections for transgender students in America who want to use the school bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.
Some leadership candidates have questioned O'Leary's Conservative credibility, arguing he'd fit better with the Liberal Party. But O'Leary said his plan is the only way to win a Conservative majority.
"I haven't met a single so-con [social conservative] that doesn't want a majority mandate in government. And you can't have it if you don't win 60 per cent of the voters between the ages of 18 to 35," he said.
Watch Question Period Sunday mornings on CTV, CTV News Channel, CTVNEWS.CA, CTV News GO at 11 a.m. ET, 10 a.m. CT, 9 a.m. MT and 8 a.m. PT