O'Leary wants all Conservative memberships vetted to avoid 'taint of fraud'
Conservative leadership hopeful Kevin O’Leary wants every Conservative party membership to be scrutinized.
“I want every single member vetted and audited,” the political firebrand told CTV Power Play on Tuesday from Saint John, NB. “That’s the only way you can know with certainty, regardless of which man or woman leads the leadership contest, how they can start their mandate without the taint of fraud.”
O’Leary’s comments come after the Conservative Party flagged and discarded 1,351 memberships on Friday. Those memberships, the party said, were anonymously purchased through two IP addresses -- identifier numbers specific to internet-connected computers or devices. Many of those memberships, the party added, were purchased with prepaid credit cards. The party has not identified the owners of the two IP addresses.
Speaking to Power Play from an Atlantic Canada tour, O’Leary declined to point fingers in the scandal.
“Whoever is doing it, I don’t know,” O’Leary said. “I’m not making any accusations.”
The sole way to confer legitimacy to the leadership race, O’Leary added, is for the party to review all memberships.
“The only way to do it is to vet and audit every single name on that list,” he said. “And it’s not that many names: we’re dealing with maybe 150,000. The party’s got to use software to do it. I am assured they will, but the world will be watching, Canadians will be watching, the candidates will be watching.”
O’Leary also declined to comment on what he thinks an appropriate punishment would be from the party if it’s revealed that one of his rivals is responsible for the fraudulent memberships.
“That’s their decision,” he said. “All I know is I paid $10,000 (in) penalty fees when I don’t show up for a debate… I wonder what the fee is if you’ve done fraud?”
“I only have one request, and I believe it is consistent with all candidates,” O’Leary added. “Do not mail a ballot to a fraudulent name. That doesn’t help anybody... It is a big mistake to allow even one instance of fraud into this process.”
In the interview, O’Leary also criticized Canada’s current equalization payment system.
“You can’t expect me to send you money and be the child that won’t get out of bed and do some work,” he said.
He also offered his thoughts on the Liberals’ upcoming budget.
“They’ll make this county so uncompetitive,” he said. “Look, (federal finance minister Bill) Morneau’s got the wrong name. He should be called ‘Mor-yes.’ He can’t say ‘no’ to Trudeau or (senior Trudeau adviser Gerald) Butts. This thing is a mess.”