05.01.2017 06:21 PM

This week’s column: a Dear Kevin letter

Dear Kevin:

At least Michael Ignatieff moved back here.

You know what I mean, Mr. Disembark Tank. You’re Just Leaving. As expected. As planned.

As such, I was going to wish you the best in packing for the return to Boston – but we both you know you never really unpacked, did you? Ignatieff may have been “just visiting” – but you, Kev, were “just not here.” Like, ever.

During your (really) short jog through the colonies, you proved one thing, however. You showed us that running a leadership campaign out of a mansion in Boston is indeed possible – in the Conservative Party of Canada. Not sure we Liberals or the New Democrats would ever go for it, however. Pretty sure we wouldn’t.

And that, as you eyeball gate 11 – that being the gate at Ottawa International Airport for most flights to Boston, your true home, God Bless America, etc. – is the problem, isn’t it? The problem wasn’t you, per se. The problem is once-great Conservative Party of Canada.

The notion that any serious political party would ever seriously consider you as a leader – well, it says it all, doesn’t it? The fact that the Conservative Party would ever rally behind a vulgarian and a creep – one who grabs women, mocks women, dismisses women – well, it’s kind of crazy, Kev. 

One who is — as the National Post’s Andrew Coyne called you — “a clown,” a cartoon who had never held political office, and who didn’t have a single coherent policy. One who didn’t speak a word of French. One who called some black women “colorful cockroaches.” One who called an opponent “an Indian giver with a forked tongue.” One who said “it’s fantastic” that half the world’s population lives in poverty. One who said that unions “should be destroyed with evil,” whatever that means. One who said that anyone in a union should “be thrown in jail.” And on and on. 

You get the picture, Kev. The only priorities you ever had were the ones you saw in your bathroom mirror down in Boston every morning. You, like Donald Trump, like to say whatever mean, rotten, cruel thing that pops into your powdered head. And you equate headlines with support. But notoriety, Shark-boy, isn’t the same thing as popularity.

That said, the Conservative Party fell for it, didn’t they? Hook, line and blinkered. So desperate are they to recapture relevance – so completely out-of-touch and out-of-ideas are they – that they enveloped you in their warm, corporate embrace. They all stood there in their fifteen-piece pinstriped suits, and welcomed you into the cloistered confines of the Albany Club. It was like Stephen Harper had never even happened. Trump Lite!

In no time at all, they propelled you to the front of the leadership line. Most of the leadership aspirants were the Dwarves – Creepy, Crawly, Needy, Beastly, Kooky, Crazy and (really) Dopey – but you were their Snow White. Every Tory wanted to be rescued by you.

But we’ll give you this much, Kev. You were uncharacteristically candid when you withdrew from the race at one of those clichéd hastily-called press conferences. You were honest. You had reflected, you said, and you and your advisors had concluded you just couldn’t beat Justin Trudeau. (Parenthetically, you should have reflected on the fact, too, that your top advisor was at a soulless, Satanic “consulting firm” that, inter alia, cooked up the fake incubator babies story to justify the Persian Gulf War. But we digress.)

And it was true: you weren’t going to ever, ever beat Justin Trudeau. He was going to put you – a bloviating blowhard, a misanthropic misogynist, a down-market Donald – through the political Cuisinart. He was going to shred you to pieces, and make soup out of you, Sharky. 

So you packed up your toothbrush, waved over your shoulder in the direction of Mad Max, and started jogging back to Gate 11.

You always planned to. You won’t be missed.






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    Jean says:


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The Conservative Party of Canada is a creature of two very different precursor parties. At best, O’Leary had less than a third of first ballot support. Importance nuances to keep in mind.

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    Miles Lunn says:

    The Tories do have some strong candidates who could challenge Trudeau, but it seems much of the base is more concerned about ideological purity than electability. I fear the Conservatives will have the same problem the Labour Party in Britain has only on different sides of the ideological spectrum. It seems in both ideological purity is more important than electability and many of the ideologues in both cases wrongly believe most of the public supports their views and if only they heard them they would flock to their party. On June 8th, Labour is going to find out the hard way in Britain and if the Tories aren’t smart they may too in 2019.

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      Steve T says:

      This is the issue that the Conservatives and the NDP always have. The Libs have the luxury of being in the middle, which to some extent allows them to be the chameleons of the political spectrum. A little of the right, a little of the left – whatever way the wind happens to be blowing. No need to commit to any particular policies, other than those which are popular at that moment in time.

      I only half-intend that as a criticism. To some extent, it is a brilliant strategy, and probably the reason they have enjoyed power longer than any other party.

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        BillBC says:

        Your comment explains much of Canadian political history since 1900….

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        merrill smith says:

        Funny isn’t it, that two years ago the experts were prophesying the demise of the Liberals because the Tories had staked out the right, the Dippers had the left, and the Liberals were being crushed in the middle.

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          Kevin T. says:

          Pete Newman’s book on the end of the Liberal party is particularly good for a laugh.

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    Charlie says:

    O’Leary had no intention of being the leader of the CPC full-time; he knew he wasn’t going to fight for a seat in the House just so he could lose to Trudeau in 2019. All of this was just so that he could prove that he could come in like a hurricane and be the biggest thing on the scene.

    Never before have I seen a frontrunner acquiesce to the runner up, but it only happened because Kevin O’Leary wasn’t really going to commit full time to Canada and abandon minor television relevancy in the US.

    Kind of disappointing to see just how close O’Leary was to hijacking the Canadian political scene and how ready Conservatives were to elect their version of Michael Ignatieff.

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    the salamander says:

    .. a fine ‘political’ eulogy.. though as you make clear, there really never was anything political, coherent or truly concerned about Canada & Canadians from the loud mouth from Boston..

    I would suggest an analogy to you for future scathing, scalding perspectives.. on O’Leary.. and that would be in the vein of an early Mercury launch.. where a ‘spam in a can’ passenger encounters a glitch or panic moment after takeoff and midflight downrange pulls the eject, parachute pin above the US of A.. returns to earth and gravity in Boston Harbour.. like a large bald tea bag..

    Poor Kevin could not fit the huge boots of Rona Ambrose at Stornoway.. but sold out for Bernier when he could have sold out for Dear Kellie.. or Scheer.. or ? It was a spectacular mission failure but we can take comfort knowing he had a safe landing after his excellent if phony adventure. His return on investment publicity wise – 100 large for free media coverage – may be the stupidest move he’s ever made.. like who cares about a weird ex Canadian loudmouth in the Trump driven USA political reality tv show. He’s an ‘export’ of hot air resource .. sis boom ba yay..

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    Elsie Marley says:

    Speaking of self-aggrandizing liars damaging the country, you might find this partial list of Harper’s scandals and serial abuses of power quite inspiring:


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    Matt says:

    While I agree O’Leary was in it only for himself, I disagree with a few of your statements like the CPC “fell for it” and “Every Tory wanted to be rescued” by him.

    If either of those were true he would have had more than the 22% support he was polling at. And as one very experienced Conservative operative who worked on O’Leary’s leadership run (and quite frankly should have known better) said “I’ll never again work on a campaign of a political neophyte.”

    On a somewhat related topic, first quarter 2017 fundraising numbers are out:

    CPC – $5.3 million (not including any of the leadership candidates fundraising)
    Liberals – $2.8 million (their third worst quarterly total since Trudeau became leader)
    NDP – $908,000

    The CPC leadership candidates raised a combined $4.6 million in the quarter.

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