OTTAWA — Kevin O'Leary thinks Justin Trudeau won't survive his four years as prime minister and the Liberals will be looking for a new leader before the next election.
"Watch it happen," the "Shark Tank" and former "Dragons' Den" television personality and chairman of O'Leary Funds told The Huffington Post Canada Thursday. "Watch it happen."
"The Trudeau mandate is going to end in economic catastrophe. The budget I see coming is going to be between $40 and $45 billion deficit. A third of that is going to be wasted because the government can't spend that much money — never could regardless of which party," he said in a phone interview from Florida.
Kevin O'Leary is shown walking in New York City in June 2015. (Photo: Shutterstock)
"I've watched him in his first 60 days spend $4 billion and not create one Canadian job. If that's how the rest of his mandate is going to go, it will end very badly. Not only for him but for all Canadians."
The $4-billion figure cited is taken from calculations from Sun Media journalist David Akin who added up the Liberal government's spending announcements from their swearing-in day on Nov. 4, 2015 to Feb. 12, 2016. Akin found most of the money announced was for projects overseas, such as $1.6-billion to the military and humanitarian mission in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan.
Blasts Notley, again
Trudeau was spared O'Leary's toughest criticism which was directed towards Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
"She is actually a liability for all Canadians because that province happens to be the trust of a 40 per cent driver of our economy and she has completely broken it. She is a complete incompetent and this is a national catastrophe."
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to media after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Edmonton in February. (Photo: Jason Franson/CP)
O'Leary, who is thinking of running for the Conservative leadership, suggested Alberta should enact a recall process. "This will be the lesson learned that you need to have some kind of mechanism when you have someone that is completely incompetent, you lose thousands and thousands of jobs, and the economy collapses, how do you get rid of them?
"Can you imagine what that province will look like in four years? Thirty-six months ago, it was the envy of North America. Who do I blame for that?"
'If I Run'
O'Leary is scheduled to take part in the annual Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa Friday, a gathering of the Conservative-minded. He is headlining a talk Friday afternoon titled "If I Run, Here's How I'd Do it."
What he wants to do and what he wants to talk about, he said, is economic and fiscal policy.
"I'm beginning to realize province by province, mandate by mandate, we have a combination of incompetence and mediocrity," he told HuffPost. "Where is it written that we as Canadian taxpayers have to put up with this? I don't know why we need to have a constant output of just the worse economic decision over and over again in every province. So I said enough. I am a taxpayer, I paid for this!"
O'Leary doesn't believe governments can spend their way to a thriving economy — as Trudeau's government intends. The Liberals argue that with low interest and a weak economy there is no better time to invest in infrastructure projects to create job growth.
"The Trudeau mandate is going to end in economic catastrophe."
But O'Leary thinks governments are inefficient and bungle projects when they get involved.
"If you look at what happened in 2009 when the Conservative party did exactly that, it turned out that none of the growth came from government spending it all came from the private sector," he asserted.
Tax incentives, then get out of the way
When government should do, O'Leary argues, is set up favourable tax incentives to attract private-sector capital and then get out of the way.
"Right now in Alberta, the way to solve the jobs there, instead of losing 63,000 jobs, is to accelebrate the capital cost allowance… by saying to any company that wants to invest or to any person: 'If you invest in a new project in Alberta, and you maintain the employment status, we'll let you write that off in 12 months.'
If a company creates a new economic output, such as building a well or investing in a new gas project, O'Leary would give them a break on royalties for 36 months.
Justin Trudeau answers a question during Question Period, on Feb.18, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
"You make it so attractive for capital that is looking to invest in this sector, around the world, that Alberta becomes the No. 1 place to do it. That is exactly the opposite of what is happening."
"The biggest infrastructure opportunities right now are: the pipeline from East to West — which should be mandated immediately through a referendum that is national — and building out telco so that the whole country has high speed Internet. The private sector will do both. It doesn't need the government."
If you want to create jobs, O'Leary said, do those.
"Simply make the tax incentive so compelling that you get the telecom sector which is well-managed to actually spend billions of dollars building an infrastructure on the next generation of Internet speed and digital performance - which they will gladly do. And [you] incentivize the private sector to build pipelines in all directions by giving them a mandate a license to do it. That will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and you don't have the inefficiency of government infrastructure spending.
"I'm just being pragmatic. That is my whole point."