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Policy quotes from Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary

Last Updated Feb 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm EST

OTTAWA – Kevin O’Leary, a longtime businessman turned reality TV star, is running for leadership of the Conservative party. He recently sat down with The Canadian Press for a wide-ranging interview, where he touched on some of the policies he would put in place if he became prime minister.

Here’s what he had to say on a few topics:

On inclusivity:

“The inclusive contract, the social contract we have in Canada is something to be cherished. I will make sure in my mandate that never changes. All of this discussion about somehow changing our policies in terms of bringing immigrants into this country, that’s never going to happen under my mandate, because what I care about the most is that we keep this contract with the world the way we’ve enjoyed it since the beginning and, if anything, it makes our country even more valuable now, not less valuable.”

On working with provinces:

“Here’s the thing about a majority mandate, for either party. Any prime minister with a majority mandate wields a very big stick federally in the form of all of the different tools they have to work with provinces, so when I see policy that is hurting the people of a province, that is taking away from my mandate. When I meet with the leaders of every province, I’m going to say look, my goal is to get back to three per cent GDP growth, so if you do something that stops me from achieving that, I don’t like that and I’ll use every tool in my tool kit to let you know I don’t like it. We’re going to work together on this goal, this is our primary goal, we’re going to create jobs and boost the economy.”

On military spending and procurement:

“We should have a drone program. We could do it at a fraction of the cost, with better technology like every other G7 nation is looking at and we don’t have a drone program? We can buy a Global Hawk right off the shelf and we can put 150 Canadian engineers out of Waterloo and McGill or wherever else to run that program, create jobs, save billions of dollars, redeploy that money into ordinance purchases or whatever else the military wants to do with it. I can’t stand seeing inefficiency and waste, so whoever I put on the file, that’s one of the areas I’m going to look at.”

On the role of Canada’s military:

“We have never faltered in our NATO obligations, we have never questioned our obligation there, our role as great warriors and a unique brand that we have particularly in the Middle East — I grew up in Cyprus when the Finns, the Danish and the Canadians were peacekeepers. People get the peacekeeper role mislabelled. You risk your life every day as a peacekeeper. The bullets are flying all over the place in places where the Turks and the Cypriots are fighting, that was just unbelievable, it was a war zone, that was not peace. They were doing their best to try and make it happen, but I think being a great warrior and a NATO contributor and a peacekeeper is a fantastic place for Canada.”

On the legalization of marijuana:

“It’s going to happen under my administration. We’re going to decriminalize it, we’re going to regulate it, particularly the ingestibles. I want the quality extremely high on those, because a lot of people use it for medicinal purposes. It will be taxed. It will be regulated the same as tobacco. Done.”

On carbon taxes:

“I’d rather leave the money in the businesses and simply say I want you to reduce your emissions over the next 20 years by 30 per cent … or go to jail. Part of your contract with our country is your emissions are going to go down by 10 per cent. Can you achieve that, yes or no? And can you innovate and while you’re innovating, I’ll take that technology. Every single embassy in my mandate, in my administration is going to have a technology officer to sell clear technology to India, to China because we have, we have such amazing technology in this country we should be selling it.”

On challenges facing indigenous Canadians:

“I’ve got to sit down with business leaders in that community and show them a lot of respect and ask them what they want to do. They want jobs too, everybody wants a good outcome. That’s a complex file that’s going to require a lot of skill, so the minister I put in place there, that will be another file I get my hands dirty in because those are relationships, that’s about trust, and I think I can do a lot of work there and get some good outcomes.”