Thursday, 19 January 2017

Kevin O'Leary is a Squirrel

For those of you tuning in to read the latest chapter from my computer lessons, I apologize. There was a gap in my education yesterday. I won't explicitly blame The Husband for his procrastination but...

No. In all seriousness, I do have a life away from this miserable machine and yesterday it blissfully interfered. I haven't given stayed glued to this space for updates on the continuing saga.

In the interim, I thought that I might share a quickie story. This tale is definitely for a Canadian audience, but I hope that my American readers can find something worthy.

Yesterday in a bit of a political non-story, only because he has been teasing it for so very long, Kevin O'Leary entered the race to be the next Conservative Party leader. For those unfamiliar with the man himself, he is the brash, boorish entrepreneur and Trump wannabe who helped make Dragon's Den on CBC and later Shark Tank on ABC reality show rating juggernauts. I confess that I can't stand either incarnation of the program. I don't enjoy any reality programming, but I am especially averse to the kind where some pseudo-successful "panelist" sets himself up to judge or worse yet bait, insult, and cast aspersions on people either seeking validation or advice. If that's your cuppa then have at it. I prefer other sources of entertainment.

Mr. O'Leary, according to his credentials, is a successful businessman and venture capitalist. I will not impugn his reputation in this regard except to suggest that forays into politics have a nasty habit of exculpating the dirt, so I hope he has buried the bodies well. He has many weaknesses entering the race, not the least of which is he doesn't speak French and that alone should be disqualifying in our bilingual country, but here he is and as such it is our duty as citizens to vet him carefully. That said, before this circus flies too far off its tent posts, I want to share my fleeting personal encounter with Kevin O'Leary.

Last year down here in the winter home, my parents and I decided to head down to Costco for a brief half day of self-flagellation and self-loathing. As we flashed our membership cards at the entrance, we spied a large display hocking some new wine which was directly in front of us. It was almost impossible to enter the warehouse without passing by this table. Standing behind the table, decked out in his finest suit and silk tie (the temperature was probably in the mid-80s) and proudly wearing a sommelier's necklace and key, was Kevin O'Leary. The pretentiousness of the necklace and key was inescapable at a big box store where the majority of shoppers were clothed in stretch pants, tank tops, and flip-flops while trying to maximize their grocery budgets by purchasing peanut butter and mayonnaise by the gross. The ridiculousness of this self-proclaimed but very well-known multi-billionaire standing behind a fold-up table pushing discount wine at Costco was the stuff about which memes are created.

After acknowledging that we did indeed recognize Mr. O'Leary, we quietly attempted to slink past the display unnoticed. He called us out and tried desperately to get us to come over and taste his wine. We politely (we are Canadians after all) declined and as we did he screamed (really...he screamed!) after us "Just like Canadians. They never want to drink and they never know what's good."

How he knew we were Canadian I will never know. I wasn't wearing my sign and my maple leaf tattoo had been removed that morning. His rudeness was beyond what I would ever consider acceptable behaviour from a child let alone a man trying to woo me with wine. In true Canadian fashion, we chose to ignore this boor rather than engage him and instead we went about our regularly scheduled miserable Costco day. the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Conservative and I cannot imagine ever voting for the party in any election, but I will say that there were others around me who do vacillate between parties and were totally turned off by Mr. O'Leary on that particular day. There are fourteen other candidates in the running for the leadership of the party. Some of them, not named Kellie Leitch, are decent, intelligent, qualified people who have some interesting ideas that should attract decent, intelligent, qualified Canadians to their party. I am hoping beyond hope that both Conservative voters and the Canadian media don't get too distracted by the squirrels that are Kevin O'Leary and Kellie Leitch. Canada can do better.

It was American playwright and entrepreneur Wilson Mizner who said, "Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down." Without even caring or knowing much about Kevin O'Leary before, he messed with a group of Canadians in an incredibly brief moment that will certainly have repercussions for him down the road, and I am certain that we were only the tip of the iceberg of those he has insulted, bullied, or denigrated on his climb to fame and fortune. Karma can really be a bitch, sir.

This interview of one O'Leary's  former Dragon's Den costars Arlene Dickinson came from CBC News yesterday. It is a bit long but very telling. 

***UPDATE*** Arlene Dickinson has just published this op-ed on CBC. So worth reading. 


  1. Ugh! Badly behaved politicians! Did Kevin O'Leary and Donald Trump go to the same School of Rude? I hope that Kevin O'Leary has less success than Mighty Mouth Trump and his outrageous commentary. It is bizarre, however, that Mr. O'Leary threw a temper tantrum in public. Good luck to you from Alice in Lunatic Land.

  2. Yeah, as if having Twitler sworn in tomorrow wasn't enough for us Canucks to be fretting we got a northern wannabe to contend with. Thanks for sharing and pondering, Dawn.

  3. Nice article Dawn! Although I do enjoy the show, I also don't like the unnecessary insults of the contestants.

    To quote you, "I will not impugn his reputation in this regard" - I'm glad you know how to use "impugn" correctly, as the guy constantly misuses it on Shark Tank, when he actually means "imply". Drives me nuts.