Kevin O’Leary has just announced that he is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. His qualifications? He has built a business, understands business, has negotiated deals, and knows his way around financial statements. This background, O’Leary argues, makes him uniquely qualified to stabilize the Canadian economy, deal with a newly nationalistic U.S. on trade matters, and address such varied and complex issues as tax policy, international relations, and climate change. Mr. O’Leary believes that his business acumen, as well as his lack of political experience, would make him the right man at the right time to lead the country.
Since Donald Trump improbably parlayed his business background and his position as a political outsider to occupancy of the White House, many critics have focused on Trump’s temperament, his questionable policies, and his continuing lack of familiarity with facts. Some have questioned the actual success of the Trump business empire. Very few, however, have questioned his basic premise – that a business background produces good, effective political leaders. Now that O’Leary wants to travel the same route as Trump, let’s look at that premise. Continue reading “Do business leaders make better political leaders? A look at Kevin O’Leary”