How to boost Canadian economy? Match Trump, says Kevin O'Leary

'It hasn't even been a week': O'Leary's bow out shocks Manitoba campaigner

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says the United States is out-competing Canada under President Donald Trump, and the country is going to have to ditch Liberal policies if it wants to get back on track.

"Here's what we have to do as a country. We have to immediately find out, what is it going to take to be competitive?" O'Leary said during an interview on CBC Manitoba's Up to Speed Thursday.

"Whatever Trump does on tax, we match it. Whatever he does on personal taxation, we match it. Whatever he does on the regulatory environment, we match it, and then we tell the world to stop taking jobs out of Canada, that we're in fact open for business and we compete."

But the former Dragon's Den personality said that's not the same thing as letting Trump set the agenda.

"We have to compete with Trump," he said. "We set our own agenda, but we have to compete."

O'Leary said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scaring money and jobs out of Canada with moves like the proposed carbon tax, citing the recent sale of most of Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips's stakes in the Alberta oilsands.

"Everyday we're getting a headline story about what Trump is doing in his economy. He's lowering corporate taxes, lowering personal taxes, deregulating around the areas of developed resources, pipelines," O'Leary said.

"Everything he's doing is to create jobs for the people in the United States. The Mexicans themselves are trying to expand their economy so they can provide for their people. We are swimming in the different direction."

'One promise'

With just over a month left in the race, Conservative leadership metrics place O'Leary as a front-runner among the 14 candidates.

O'Leary called himself a "Conservative expansionist," and said the party is on its way to becoming the Canadian people's party.

"I'm very happy with the Conservative Party, but the point is, this party is moving into a phase now, and a focus on the economy," he said.

"You know, most politicians — and I'm not one — make 25 promises and then deliver nothing. That's not what the Conservative Party's about to do. We're going to have one promise. We're going to grow the economy to provide education, health care, military support and the all-important social network that we promised to each other forever in Canada that we're not fulfilling anymore."

The Conservatives will choose a new leader on May 27.