Kevin O’Leary says he wouldn’t trust Justin Trudeau’s cabinet to run a bodega.
The Shark Tank star also said Canada needs new leadership including a finance minister who is qualified for the job.
O’Leary made the comments during an appearance on BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.
Most of his comments were about the state of markets, but once the discussion turned to the capital gains tax changes which took effect on Tuesday, O’Leary went on a rant.
“Canada, as you look at resources per capita, is one of the richest countries on Earth run by idiots,” O’Leary said.
The celebrity investor said that the Trudeau government is squandering Canada’s potential.
“This place desperately needs leadership that understands the potential of the country and what to do in terms of putting the right people in the cabinet positions. You need qualified individuals in the parliamentary system, we have unqualified weak managers, and I mean, no disrespect but I wouldn’t let them run a bodega,” O’Leary said.
“What I’d like to see is a spatula, in terms of policy, a big change here, a big change of leadership, big spatula to scrape everybody out of there and start from scratch and reset and reboot the country Canada 2.0.”
O’Leary said Canada simply isn’t competitive and that is in large part due to federal policies that drive away business. He pointed to the capital gains tax changes as one aspect, saying the government will bring in a lot of money this year due to people and companies selling assets, but it will cost us in the long run.
“I’m like everybody else, I blew out a lot of assets and I’ve moved them elsewhere,” O’Leary said.
He found the old rules of 50% capital gains inclusion to be fair, but the new inclusion rate of two-thirds is excessive and puts Canada at a disadvantage. He said we’ve gone from a middle ground in terms of corporate and capital taxation to the extreme high side, which will hurt the country going forward.
“That capital is not coming back here,” O’Leary said of the assets that were sold off and moved elsewhere.
That’s actually what the government expected, this move was laid out in their budget document. While they claim this move will bring in just shy of $20 billion in new revenue over five years, $6.9 billion of that was expected in this calendar year when the tax only applied for six months.
Because they expected people to sell off assets quickly in large amounts at the lower rate due to their two-month warning of the change. This new revenue is the equivalent of a sugar high, it won’t last and it’s going to make you feel worse later on.
O’Leary said that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland didn’t think of the long-term consequences of her policy change, perhaps because she isn’t qualified to be finance minister.
“I don’t know why she’s the finance minister. She has no experience at this and she’s never even run a bank. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know why she’s there and it’s just totally unqualified,” O’Leary said.
The damage she’s doing now will be felt if it doesn’t get repaired immediately for decades.”
O’Leary said that while he respects the political process and the sacrifices it takes on people’s lives, noting that he had once tried to run for leader of the Conservative Party, he stressed that qualified people are still needed.
“Bad managers do a lot of damage, and she has a very bad, underqualified manager and I don’t mean any disrespect. I’m just saying why can’t I have a real finance minister? Why can’t I have somebody who actually was involved in financial services in this country?”
On this point, O’Leary is spot on.
Freeland’s mistakes in mismanaging the federal debt are now costing us tens of billions of dollars in extra debt financing charges.
The Ontario government, meanwhile, under Peter Bethlanfavly, a finance minister with Bay St. experience, refinanced Ontario’s debt for the long term when interest rates were low, saving the province tens of billions in extra costs.
Choices have consequences and elections are all about choices. By putting unqualified people in charge, Canada is now paying for it with bad tax policy and reduced investment that will cost us all for decades to come.

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