Sarah Leamon: It only costs $15 to thwart Kellie Leitch and Kevin O'Leary's prime ministerial aspirations

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      Are you, like most Canadians, shocked and horrified by the current political climate of the United States? 

      Are recent events, such as the Muslim ban, the reinstatement of global gag-rule, and the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, keeping you up at night? 

      Are you finding cold comfort in the fact that all the madness is happening "there", not "here"?

      Well…at least...not yet...

      As you may be aware, the Conservative Party of Canada is currently without a leader. After former prime minister Stephen Harper resigned in 2015, the party was left without an official leader and former health minister Rona Ambrose was selected as its interim leader. 

      But this can’t last forever, and due to party rules, Ambrose cannot qualify for a permanent leadership position. 

      So, on May 27, 2017, the Conservative leadership election will be held. The winner of this election may, one day, become prime minister.

      At this point, there are 14 candidates vying for party leadership. Among them are two particularly troublesome options: Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary.

      Perhaps the most startling thing about Leitch is that she seems to idolize Donald Trump. She described his presidential win as an “exciting message and one that we need delivered in Canada as well”. 

      It is unclear whether she remains quite as enthusiastic about his message in the weeks following his inauguration—but based on her own political meanderings, it would not be a stretch.

      Leitch regularly pushes for the arbitrary screening of potential immigrants using something that she has repeatedly described as a "Canadian values" test. During the 2015 federal election, she supported a controversial Conservative plan to create a "barbaric cultural practices" RCMP tip-line, which was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at exploiting the public’s growing fear of terrorism and Islamophobia in order to reduce individual freedoms and maintain political control.

      During her time as minister for the status of women, she failed to launch a much-needed inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of aboriginal women and girls. She also openly opposes a national tax on carbon emissions, as well as the decriminalization of marijuana. 

      Like Trump, Leitch has largely mounted her leadership campaign on a platform that appeals to the "common" masses and seeks to oust the "intellectual elite" from government—and also like Trump, she does this with a great sense of irony. 

      After all, Leitch is a member of the so-called intellectual elite. 

      She has acted as a member of Parliament since 2011, taking esteemed positions as both the minister of labour and the minister for the status of women in Harper’s former cabinet. She is also trained as an orthopaedic paediatric surgeon and works as an associate professor at the University of Toronto. It is difficult to think of someone who may be more elite than Leitch. 

      Overall, Leitch is a candidate who has a proven political track record of failing the environment, of failing women, and of sensationalizing identity politics in order to curry favour with her electoral base. 

      She would be a dangerous and divisive leader for our country, if given the opportunity.

      The next candidate up for discussion is Kevin O’Leary. 

      O’Leary has been largely portrayed by the media as Donald Trump Junior. This comparison is apt based on the fact that the 62 year-old businessman has absolutely no prior political experience and that he has only gained popular notoriety through regular appearances on a relatively mediocre reality television program. 

      Like Trump, O’Leary seems to have only a very limited understanding of what is required to lead a country. His intense drive to accumulate wealth and fame does not bode well for a leader who will carry immense moral, ethical, and social responsibilities beyond simply balancing a budget.

      O’Leary’s narrow view of what it means to be a conservative would likely fracture the Conservative party and isolate supporters altogether.  

      Moreover, his vague political platform appears to be mainly centered a list of grievances, rather than solutions. This all points to the fact that O’Leary is politically untried and his ideas are underdeveloped. He is simply unsuitable to hold the highest office in Canadian government. 

      O’Leary would be a short-sighted and dubious choice for the leadership. 

      Dishonourable mentions for the job also go to Pierre Lemieux, a former MP from Ontario, who is vocal in his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, and Brad Trost, an MP from Saskatchewan, who opposes carbon tax, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, same sex marriage, universal washrooms, and the legalization of marijuana. 

      Conservative Party members who are in good standing will be allowed to vote in the leadership election. The future of the Conservative Party of Canada—and potentially our country—is squarely in their hands. 

      In order to vote in the election, you must be a Conservative Party member by 5 p.m. eastern time on March 28, 2017. The minimum membership fee is $15.00.  This may paid using either a personal cheque or a credit card through the party’s website