Kevin O'Leary has been making the occasional trip up from Boston in his bid to become Prime Minister of Canada. His sales pitch -- like Donald Trump's -- is that, as a business man, he knows how to get things done. Alan Freeman writes:
O’Leary’s Trump-esque bid to lead the Conservative party is based on selling his supposed business acumen. But as is the case with the U.S. president, O’Leary’s policies are largely incoherent and mostly based on ‘alternative facts’. In the end, it’s all about one thing and one thing only: Kevin O’Leary. And it’s a reminder that being successful in business (or the narcissism industry) really has nothing to do with your ability to run a government or lead a country.
Consider O'Leary's position on the federal government loan to Bombardier:
O’Leary has been on a rant about Bombardier for years, calling it “one of the most mismanaged aerospace companies in the world.” At another point, he said it was time to cut Bombardier off from any government assistance and allow it to “succeed on its own or fail on its own.”
Okay … so O’Leary is willing to sacrifice the 21,000 well-paid Canadian jobs at Canada’s largest investor in R&D. You can make a case for the idea of ending corporate welfare. But that’s not what O’Leary is talking about. In his latest Bombardier rant, posted this week on his Facebook feed, O’Leary says he understands why Ottawa would want to support Bombardier and adds that it’s important for the company’s customers to know their government backs the company.
The problem, says O’Leary, is that Justin Trudeau has “never done any deals.” O’Leary . . . has done lots. “No more stupid deals,” he bloviates. “I could negotiate that (Bombardier) deal in 24 hours.”
But is he really good at making deals? Look at his record on Bombardier:
In November of 2015, during one of his periodic anti-Bombardier diatribes, he told an interviewer, “I wouldn’t touch that stock. It’s radioactive waste.” At the time, Bombardier shares were trading at about $1.25 apiece.
Five months later, the company landed a deal to sell up to 125 of its C-Series jetliners to Delta Airlines in a deal worth as much US$5.6 billion. If you had bought $10,000 worth of Bombardier shares when O’Leary was telling you not to, you would have doubled your money. Clearly, nobody ever told Kevin about buying low and selling high.
Donald Trump's record as a business man is pretty spotty. So is Kevin O'Leary's. And, like Trump, you can't believe a word he says.
Image: The Walrus