Top Candidates For Tory Leadership Could Lie Outside Politics

02/08/2016 02:08 EST | Updated 02/08/2017 05:12 EST
CNBC via Getty Images
CNBC EVENTS -- iCONIC Event -- Pictured: Kevin O'Leary, founder, O'Leary Financial Group and co-star of 'Shark Tank' at the Iconic Conference in Washington, D.C on November 11, 2015. -- (Photo by: Paul Morigi/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

As Americans gear up for a presidential election in November, we here in Canada must satisfy ourselves with a far less grandiose endeavor, namely the race to choose a new leader of the federal Conservatives. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring.

Already there's speculation that such leading Tory politicians as Tony Clement, Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney will eventually throw their hats into the ring. Plus there's no shortage of second-tier Conservative leader wannabes like Doug Ford, Maxime Bernier and Pierre Poilievre.

Despite the wealth of available traditional candidates, the race may turn out to be completely different than expected. If what's happening south of the border is any indication, by the time 2017 comes around, we may be looking at an entirely new slate of possible Conservative leaders.

Already the trend seems to be set. Just as in the U.S. where members of the Bush and Clinton families are looking to become the 46th president, we Canadians recently christened our own political dynasty by making Justin Trudeau prime minister.

We also seem to be aping our southern cousins by looking outside the political arena for our next leader. Donald Trump, the bombastic billionaire with no political resume, seems to have inspired our own mouthy millionaire, Kevin O'Leary, to consider a run for the top spot.

If history repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce, we will likely continue to be affected by the recent American trends.

As for possible dynasties-in-the-making, look no further than Caroline Mulroney Lapham, who has been touted by Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard as the Tories' heir apparent. Blizzard gushes that Brian Mulroney's daughter is bilingual, beautiful and well-educated. Plus, as far as I know, she has never received large sums of cash in envelopes.

The Mulroney clan may provide a two-fer in the form of number one son, Ben. In today's media-drenched world, the host of the entertainment show etalk already has a leg up on his would-be competitors given his extensive TV exposure. He's telegenic and personable like his old man. Plus, as far as I know, he has never received large sums of cash in envelopes.

Catherine Clark is another potential dynasty child. The daughter of former Prime Minister Joe Clark is also an accomplished media star and would undoubtedly make a smart and savvy party leader. Plus, as far as I know, Ms. Clark can count and would therefore avoid a short, nine-month run as prime minister if ever elected with a minority government.

As for loudmouth, non-political leadership candidates à la Donald Trump, Kevin O'Leary is probably one of our best. But, luckily or unluckily for us, there are more where he came from.

When it comes to wealthy businessmen with ego and smarts, look no further than our own former bombastic billionaire: Conrad Black. The bloviating Baron Black of Crossharbour doesn't lack for a personal opinion on any topic including the American penal system with which he is intimately familiar.

Chief among the shoot-from-the-lip, rightwing personalities, however, is Canada's favourite son: Don Cherry. With his years of TV exposure, Cherry is a natural to lead the Tories out of the wilderness and into the promised land of governance.

Like Trump, Cherry is a big supporter of the military and not a big fan of immigrants, especially chicken Swedes. If the new political model is a know-it-all blowhard with no clear positions, Grapes is a shoe-in.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the recent importation of American political trends is Ted Cruz, the Texas senator born in Calgary, Alberta. Given the doubts surrounding his status as a natural-born American and his unpopularity even within his own party, he could be the perfect substitute for the now-departed, less-than-likeable Stephen Harper.

All he has to do is put a stop on his request to cancel his Canadian citizenship and he could be on his way to nabbing his dream job: Leader of the Opposition.

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