Kevin O'Leary quits Conservative leadership race, supports Maxime Bernier

28 April, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Kevin O'Leary quits Conservative leadership race, supports Maxime Bernier

Celebrity businessman Kevin O'Leary has chose to drop out of the federal Conservative Party leadership race.

Contenders in the Conservative leadership race are scheduled to meet in Toronto today for a final debate.

O'Leary's stated reason for leaving is that he didn't feel that he could win Quebec in the next federal election, a failure that he felt would hand Justin Trudeau a second term as prime minister.

"This was not an easy decision for me to make but after much thought and deliberation, it is the right one for the Conservative Party and the country", O'Leary said.

It's unclear what shape O'Leary's support for Bernier will take, but the party has already started mailing ballots to party members, and O'Leary's name is included.

But it was all smiles Wednesday as Bernier said the endorsement marks a turning point.

"The truth is that he was one of the best prospective candidates that you could imagine for any political party", Lietaer says.

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary repeatedly said the next federal election would be an "exorcism".

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"This is obviously very disappointing for me".

"I'm a numbers guy", O'Leary said.

Behind the scenes, however, O'Leary has been mulling the idea for about a week, say sources, ever more convinced that as leader, he might never be able to rally enough support in Quebec to deliver a majority Conservative mandate in 2019.

Albas says he's supporting Bernier because he is fluently bilingual, has a history with the Conservative party, and has outlined a platform of economic freedom he believes will be appealing to many young people.

Along with whatever slice of his supporters decide to follow him to Bernier, O'Leary's impact might be felt if his larger-than-life persona remains a factor in the final weeks of the contest.

"I don't have to speculate", Coates told Maclean's in an interview this afternoon.

"We are going to bring our forces together now so that we can win this race and then beat Justin Trudeau in 2019", added Bernier, a Quebec libertarian who was neck-and-neck with O'Leary for much of the race. There are 78 seats in Quebec, and the Conservative Party now holds only 12 of them.

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