Kevin O’Leary holds lead in CPC leadership race

编者按:候选人众多的联邦保守党领袖竞选正在紧锣密鼓地进行,欧列利在民调中处于领跑地位。 欧列利曾 发表 公开信,指责省长韦恩挥霍纳税人钱财,此举令他在华裔社区享有一定声望。读者如欲参照Bob Mok的联邦保守党领袖竞选专栏系列文章,请点击http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/658789
Editor’s Note: The crowded conservative leadership contest is underway, with Kevin O’Leary being the frontrunner in the opinion poll. O’Leary’s open letter accusing Kathleen Wynne of abusing taxpayers’ money has led to his growing popularity in the Chinese community.  To read Bob Mok’s previous articles on CPC’s leadership election 2017, please refer to http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/658789


There are fourteen candidates competing for this leadership contest: Chris Alexander, Maxime Bernier, Steven Blaney, Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Pierre Lemieux, Deepak Obhrai, Kevin O'Leary, Erin O'Toole, Rick Peterson, Lisa Raitt, Andrew Saxton, Andrew Scheer, and Brad Trost.


This is a very large slate of candidates indeed and with less than two months to go, it is still not trimmed down. Contrary to past leadership elections, no one wants to leave – even those with little or no chance of winning. Typically, fringe candidates will quit and throw their support behind the front runners as the election date draws near.


In this leadership contest, CPC members will consider each candidate's qualification and track records. They will try to identify them as “Social Conservatives” who hold firmly to a pro-life, pro-family and pro-religion agenda, and “Progressive Conservatives” – who are willing to change and move away from the “core” values of conservative ideology. 


While these are important deciding factors for the voters, they are also concerned about the bi-lingual capabilities of the candidates. Any leader lacking in French proficiency is unlikely to secure the Province of Quebec votes, which would diminish the chance of the party forming a “Majority” Government in future. 


Elderly people and those with ethnic backgrounds (particularly Eastern cultures) will tend to emblaze “Social Conservatism”. On the other hand, youths will kindle “Progressive Conservatism” for their tolerance towards gays, sense of urgency for environmental changes, and acceptance of other non-christian religious groups.


A recent poll in January found that only 4 of the 14 candidates are familiar to more than half of the 1007 respondents. They were Kevin O'Leary, Lisa Raitt, Maxime Bernier, and Kellie Leitch. Let us look at them in more details:


Kevin O'leary -  He is 62, a businessman, investor, journalist, writer, financial commentator and television personality. He reminds me a lot of a one-time Liberal leader (Michael Ignatieff). Both secured name recognitions before seeking a political position and spent a time living and working in the United States. O'leary has properties in both Boston and Toronto and once claimed that “Boston is home” in an interview with a Boston Magazine. 


Born in Montreal of Irish father, O’Leary still holds an Irish citizenship which must be given up if and when he becomes the Prime Minister. O’Leary does not speak French but promised to take lessons to learn it. He entered the race the day after the debate in Quebec City on January 17, 2017. Many viewed that as an avoidance to an embarrassment if he participated in a candidates debate in French. 


O’Leary issued 2 open letters in the newspapers to the Ontario Premier Katherine Wynne in August 2017 challenging her on the “Cap and Trade” policy and her waste of tax dollars on setting up and then cancelling the “Ontario Retirement Pension Program”. This action resonated well with Ontario voters and also drew rebuttals from Premier Wynne. O’Leary gained further name recognitions and popularity through these calculated exchanges before he entered the race.


To many observers, O’Leary seemed to have a single policy platform — achieving three per cent annual economic growth. Other than that, he also confirmed that he would embrace LGBTQ people, legalize marijuana, cancel Carbon taxes and defend reproductive rights. 


O’Leary 's first debate debut at Halifax on Feb 4, 2017 was less than stellar. He subsequently skipped the Edmonton bi-lingual debate on Feb 28, 2017 blaming its “terrible” format. 


While O’Leary is the front runner in the leadership race polls, there are obstacles standing in his way. His inability to speak French may deter many to vote for him in May when they look at the big picture and realise that the party will have limitations if and when it finally takes power again.


Next time, we will look at the profiles of other prominent registered Candidates and their backgrounds and visions.

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