oleary-leitch_thumb-1.png This article is more than 4 years old

Kevin O’Leary, Kellie Leitch threaten to impose Ottawa’s will on provinces and cities

O'Leary and Leitch say they'll run roughshod over Canada's division of powers and bully provinces and cities into bending to their will.


What a time to be a Conservative in Canada!

Two of the higher-profile contenders in the Conservative leadership race suggest that if they become prime minister, they’ll run roughshod over Canada’s division of powers and bully provinces and cities into bending to their will.

Makes sense – it’s not like the idea that Liberal governments under Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien centralized too much power in Ottawa figured prominently in the grievances of Canadian Conservatives over the last several decades or anything.

On Thursday, Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary told a town hall event in Calgary that if Alberta doesn’t drop carbon pricing, he’s prepared to “be nasty.”

Specifically, O’Leary says he’ll punish Alberta’s sick and elderly by cutting transfer payments to the province’s health care system in a sadistic bid to force Alberta to submit to Ottawa’s will:

“I will definitely be punitive on transfer payments on health care. I’m going to have to push back. It’s going to be nasty. I have to get her back off this carbon tax … I’ll go to war with her, trust me.”

Maybe O’Leary’s billionaire buddy Mark Cuban wasn’t kidding when he said O’Leary confided to him in private that his prime ministerial ambitions are driven by a desire for “carte blanche” power over Canada.

Meanwhile, fellow Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, whose campaign has focused on scapegoating immigrants and uploading awkward videos to YouTube, upped the ante tweeting that she will cut-off federal funding for public transit to any Canadian city offering protection to refugees as “sanctuary cities”:

Boy, doesn’t that sound like a distant echo of the Conservative Party of Canada we once knew?

It feels like only yesterday when a young Stephen Harper and his friends Tom Flanagan, Ted Morton and Ken Boessenkool wrote a letter to Ralph Klein in the National Post saying he needs “to build firewalls around Alberta” to defend the province against a “so-called ‘tough love’ campaign” by the federal government in Ottawa. 

“It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction.”

In fact, O’Leary’s approach sounds more like a Jean Chretien Liberal than a Stephen Harper Conservative, if you know what we mean:

“In our view, the Chretien government undertook a series of attacks not merely designed to defeat its partisan opponents, but to marginalize Alberta and Albertans within Canada’s political system. One well-documented incident was the attack against Alberta’s health care system.”

Maybe the Conservative Party of Canada’s new slogan will be “More Ottawa, Less Alberta” too?

Photo: Instagram / YouTube.

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.


Support Our Journalism
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-06-021 Explainer

Doug Ford’s Government Cut Education By More Than Half a Billion Dollars, New Report Finds

Related Stories


Why Canadian Politics Does Such a Bad Job at Reflecting Working Class Values

View the post
News Brief

Zero Per Cent of Manitobans Say They Are ‘Very Satisfied’ With Brian Pallister’s Handling of COVID-19 Pandemic, Poll Finds

View the post

Wine Rack Executives Invited Workers to Cross Picket Line One Day Before Strike, Internal Memo Shows

View the post


Power and democracy

Andrea Reimer

Why Canadian Politics Does Such a Bad Job at Reflecting Working Class Values

View the post
Politics & strategy

Tom Parkin

Why Jason Kenney is Playing Politics with the Horrific Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools

View the post
Work & rights

Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins

Here is What Everyone in Canada Needs To Know About How Collective Bargaining Really Works

View the post