OTTAWA — If Kevin O'Leary thinks Canada should stay out of the military mission against the Islamic State and stick to peacekeeping, then he should run for the NDP, a longtime Conservative MP says.
Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai isn't shy about his distaste for O'Leary as a potential candidate in the Tory leadership race.
In an interview with The Huffington Post Canada last month, Obhrai called the businessman and reality TV personality an undesirable candidate who "doesn't have the foggiest idea what this party is all about."
Deepak Obhrai says Kevin O'Leary may be a better fit for the NDP. (Photo: Getty/CP)
On Wednesday, Obhrai greeted news that O'Leary is advocating a pacifist role for Canada with bewilderment.
"I think he will find a very warm reception in the NDP caucus. But he will definitely not find a warm reception in the Conservative caucus," Obhrai told HuffPost during an interview for SiriusXM's "Everything Is Political" show.
O'Leary said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he wants Canada to be a "country that can go anywhere in the world and, after everyone is finished killing each other, keep the peace."
"I don't want to bomb or get involved in any campaigns as a Canadian other than keeping the peace," he told CFRA's "Ottawa Now" host Evan Solomon. "We are the only country, other than the Finns, that can do that. And we're wasting our equity."
O'Leary said his views are informed by his experiences living in Cyprus as a boy in the 1960s, when he said Canadian peacekeepers commanded the respect of both Greeks and Turks.
'The rules of engagement' have changed
Obhrai said O'Leary has an outdated view of the world's conflicts and the action needed to fight new threats.
Canada has a proud history of peacekeeping, the Calgary MP said. "But today, the fight is totally different than it used to be, when Mr. O'Leary said he was in Cyprus. Today, armies don't face each other. Today, we've got terrorist organizations that do not obey human rights.
"He is absolutely out of tune with the elected officials of this party and the position of this party."
"They are extremely cruel and … [they are not going to] say 'Oh yeah, Canadians welcome. Stand between us, we are not going to fight.' No, no, no. The rules of engagement in the fight against terrorism have completely changed, and those old rules that Mr. O'Leary is talking about don't exist today."
O'Leary can say whatever he wants to say, Obhrai added. "But he is absolutely out of tune with the elected officials of this party and the position of this party."
Ambrose blasts Liberal plan
"Mr. Trudeau doesn't think it's our fight," she said at a press conference Monday. "If he doesn't think that we should use our military against this group, I don't know when he thinks we would ever use our military."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will stop bombing runs but continue to provide air-support and surveillance operations to the coalition fighting the Islamic State. Canada will triple the numbers of trainers on the ground and increase its aid contribution by $1.1 billion.
– With previous files, files from Ryan Maloney
Also on HuffPost