O'Leary's Comments On Military Slammed By Conservative Leadership Contenders

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OTTAWA — Businessman Kevin O'Leary hasn't decided whether he'll enter the Conservative leadership race, but that isn't stopping those already in the race from going after him.

Conservative MPs Michael Chong and Erin O'Toole are both condemning O'Leary for a quote attributed to him concerning Canadian peacekeeping.

kevin oleary
Kevin O'Leary, an investor on the television show 'Shark Tank,' is seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 4, 2014 in New York City.

Ottawa radio station CFRA quotes O'Leary as saying that Canadians are known as peacekeepers not warriors and "there is nothing proud about being a warrior.''

O'Leary didn't immediately respond to an email sent Saturday asking him to comment, but he did tweet there is nothing harder than war, that peace keeping is an honour and that "Canadians are great at both.''

O'Toole took to Twitter to call on O'Leary to apologize for the comment, saying Conservatives are proud of Canadians who served as peacekeepers and those who fought.

Chong issued a statement calling O'Leary's comment an "egregious attack'' on Canada's institutions and legacy.

"As Conservatives, we must do better than that.''

He accused O'Leary of dismissing everything Canada has done during wartime as "ill-conceived and ignoble.''

"For Kevin O'Leary to dismiss the contribution of Canada's more than 100,000 war dead in search of a soundbite is not worthy of any Canadian citizen, let alone one who wants to lead the Conservative Party of Canada,'' Chong's statement said.

"As Conservatives, we must do better than that.''

One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's senior aides also weighed in. Gerald Butts tweeted that the comments attributed to O'Leary were "appallingly disrespectful.''

Entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson also took to Twitter to call out her former co-star on the television show Dragons' Den. She tweeted that the comments were "disrespectful & off base.''

O'Leary has been mulling over entering the leadership race, which is already jammed packed with 14 candidates, but he has been publicly vague on when he'll clarify his intentions.

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