High-profile Canadian businessman to join Conservative race: CBC

Television personality Kevin O'Leary arrives at the 2015 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2015. REUTERS/David McNew

OTTAWA (Reuters) - High-profile Canadian businessman and television personality Kevin O’Leary will enter the race to run the opposition Conservative party, joining an already crowded field of candidates, media reported on Tuesday.

O’Leary will launch his campaign for leader in Toronto on Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported, citing sources close to him. A spokeswoman for O’Leary was not immediately available to comment.

After a nearly decade-long run in power, the Conservatives were defeated in 2015 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, prompting former Conservative Prime Minister and party leader Stephen Harper to step down.

Since then, a number of politicians have announced their candidacies and 13 leadership hopefuls are set to take part in a French-language debate on Tuesday evening.

O’Leary is known for his appearances on reality shows “Shark Tank” and “Dragons’ Den”, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas.

He is also known for unconventional ideas, including that Senators could buy their seats in the upper unelected house of Parliament.

Montreal-born O’Leary said earlier this month that he would skip the French debate until he was more “proficient” in the language and that he was committed to learning French again, seen as a crucial requirement to become prime minister.

The Conservatives will vote for their leader in May.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Sandra Maler