If you haven’t read my first opinion piece on this topic, you can find it here: http://rachelpeters.com/the-future-of-a-nation/3252/
I’ve heard people use the term “politically incorrect” over and over again in describing the way Canadian businessman, Kevin O’Leary has spoken to the public over the years. Now that he is running for politics, I feel the need to speak up.
It is not “politically incorrect” to be unkind, unempathetic , and uncompassionate. It’s simply a display of a defective person. These are not respectable traits and they are not assets for leadership.
More troubling, I’ve heard news outlets refer to his comments as “provocative”. What’s provocative about a man boasting of his greed and how millions of people in poverty only need to be motivated to be more like him? What’s so provocative about a self-obsessed, rich, white man who’s completely out of touch with 99% of Canadians and their struggles? What is provocative about a man who says he doesn’t care about anything but money?
The only thing it provokes in me is nausea.
So, I suppose that week-old eggplant sandwich I tried to eat last night was also “provocative”.
Kevin has said he would like to distance himself from the things he’s said on TV. I’m sure he would! Wouldn’t we all love to distance ourselves from all the times we’ve said ignorant things! But, you know what? It’s called “Toughski Schittski”. There are consiquenses to the words you speak. You can’t apply for a management position, show up with no experience on your resume and then ask the interviewer to take it easy on you and please not check your references, because you’d like to distance yourself from all the terrible things you’ve said.
It doesn’t work that way anywhere else, Kevin.
You apply for this job, you have to answer for that you’ve told us you believe in.
You know what would be truly provocative? If you stopped talking and started serving the public in any selfless way. If you want be the boss of public service, show us you’re even remotely capable. You’ve got a little catch-up to play, though, because all those “career politicians” you scoff at – they’ve been giving their lives to the people for decades. So get to it!
It’s not personal, Kevin. It’s just business.
I’m new-ish to Twitter (have had the account for a decade, but only started using it recently).
Today I tweeted at Canadian rich guy, Kevin O’Leary in response to his announcement that he’ll be running as the leader of the Conservative party, based on his experience playing a successful business man on television.
My sincere question to him via Twitter was this:
“In running for a position of public service, what experience do you personally have in serving the public… and how might you convince me you have the public’s best interest in mind. The impoverished and the middle class.”
Of course, this was drastically shortened from the tweets I wanted to send, but I declined creating a seventeen-part, Drumpf-esque rant.
So, I will continue my questions to him here, full-well knowing he will never read them, but rather I’ll write for my own catharsis and to appease my light sprinkling of OCD, which I have found, when executed wisely, can be quite useful to me.
O’Leary’s opening statement on his “Why I’m Running” page of olearyforcanada.ca begins with “Canada cannot afford another 4 years of Justin Trudeau”.
There are plenty of things I don’t like about the current Liberal government (I didn’t vote for them, but I also didn’t vote Conservative). But I’ll tell you what else Canada cannot afford in this political climate — its own greedy billionaire leader.
So, Kevin, you have some things you need to prove to the public before going any further.
You continue on in your statement to say that Canadians need “a Prime Minister who will fight for them”. This is a true statement. We absolutely do. So what you need to do is show us some evidence that you are capable of this — any proof at all that you would fight for us.
I’ll tell you why I and many Canadians are wary:
It’s because of the sum of what most Canadians know of you. We know you as someone who’s famous for being a rich guy on a reality show — a show that, much like the “Got Talent” franchise, makes its money off the backs of talented people who are desperate to make any money at all. And on this show, you seem to really enjoy playing the character of the greedy villain who doesn’t care how anyone feels. I sincerely hope it’s just a character, but I have my doubts.
I’ve watched enough of the show to hear you say you only care about money and that you go to bed thinking about money and wake up thinking about money. I’ve listened to you tell us from your news room chair that global poverty is “fantastic news” because you believe it motivates the poor to become richer… As if poverty is a character flaw. Do you really understand so little about life outside your own experience?
You say in your statement that you “have spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of investors”. This seems to be the only qualification you claim in terms of what you’ve done for people.
So, why, when you have no personal financial stake in my well being, would you give a flying rip about fighting for me or anyone like me?
From the evidence in front of us, how would we know you actually care about the Canadian people and not just about your own investments?
Running a country is not simply a business investment. People’s lives are at stake every day. Do you really want to take on the responsibility of caring for them? Because that’s the job you’re applying for.
I had sincerely hoped to click on your political website and find out something new that would enlighten me to why you think you’re qualified for a leadership position in public service. I hoped I would see a resume of charitable foundations that are close to your heart, or volunteer work that you’ve done — anything selfless at all.
But the closest I could scrounge was “I have spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of investors”.
That means nothing to me, personally, seeing as I have no investments with you. Most Canadians don’t. So who do you really care about? Who are you going to listen to? Who will have your ear when big issues arise? People like me… or your investors?
If you want this job, you need to understand that we’ve all heard you brag about being greedy. I’m not going to trust that you care about me now, simply because you say so. The only thing you’ve publicly demonstrated to date is that you’re only interested in serving yourself. Whether you’ve been acting as a character for TV or not, you’ll have to show us something new if you want be considered for this position.
Talk is cheap. Do something. Show us you have a conviction that doesn’t involve you getting richer or more famous.
Here’s some advice from a hard working Canadian: If you want be a boss, do what the rest of us have to do when starting a new career.
Start small. Maybe volunteer, the way interns have to. Then try a representing a riding or maybe become the mayor of something. See how that goes. Perhaps eventually you can try leading a province. I bet you’ll learn a lot! There are plenty of options out there that’ll get you the experience you need.
When you can show me a good resume, I may consider you qualified for the position.
The Average Canadian
There’s a new theatrical circus called “Stand Up Eight”.
I’ve proudly written about them before, and I’m currently in the last steps of wrapping up their documentary. Since being financed by Dragon, W. Brett Wilson, I’ve had the honour of participating in the show through the making of their posters, graphics, logo, promo videos and the many incarnations of their behind-the-scenes documentary.
As an animator, it’s been an opportunity to stretch my wings and play with other mediums. I’ve discovered that I like it!
I’ve just watched the “Where Are They Now” episode of Dragon’s Den, which once again, focuses a lot on The Angels and “Stand Up Eight” circus. Not only is it exciting to be involved with these CBC stars, but now I also get to say that a whole few seconds of my documentary work has been aired on CBC! (Because in the end, we all know this is all about ME! …Isn’t it??)
You can watch the entire episode on the Dragon’s Den site:
I’ve just come home from a visit to Kalamazoo and nobody at home believes me. I may as well have said I was going to Timbuktu or Lake Titicaca.
Kalamazoo happens to be the home base of a new, innovative circus and Kalamazoo should be proud.
Allison Williams of the world renown Aerial Angels is writer and director of STAND UP EIGHT, a theatrical circus show that brings you closer to the performers and sometimes right up onto the stage, along side them.
After a great deal of development and investment Allison and the Angel’s co-Artistic Director Zay Weaver got one final and dramatic boost into production when they appeared on the CBC’s reality show, The Dragon’s Den. They received a generous investment from W. Brett Wilson, Canada’s cutest blue-eyed zillionaire, with soft spot for entertainers.
(If you’ve seen CBC ads for either The Dragon’s Den or for CBC programming itself, chances are you’ve seen Allison and Zay. They were by far the coolest looking entrepreneurs to appear on the show, eating fire and tumbling from silks, and having the most teeth grittingly tense discussions of any I’ve ever seen aired on that program, ending in a few tears and some accusations of arrogance. The Aerial Angels, in my opinion have single-handedly provided the CBC with a season’s worth of promotional ads.)
I went to Kalamazoo with my video camera in tow, to film the process of this new show and its first few performances.
What does it take to start a theatrical circus show and get it rolling?
What sorts of people invest their talents and personal lives into it?
This documentary will introduce you to them.
Along with other creative projects working their way out, I hope to spend my summer piecing together a masterpiece that captures what I see developing down in Kalamazoo Michigan, and quickly spreading across the globe.
Art. Passion. Drive. Skill.
…Lots and lots of kittens.
(It’ll make sense.)
As a peculiar little side note: My aspiration to break out into documentary (as I am primarily an animation filmmaker) was what originally brought me to the world of variety performance. I had desired to make a film about the life of circus/sideshow/street performers many years ago. Realizing I knew little about either documentary or the lives of variety performers, I dropped that story to experiment in actually performing as a comic fire eater for a while. Allison Williams taught me how to light my tongue ablaze in the back alley of a street festival one summer in Toronto.
After a few years and some short edits of performance related video footage, I have now come full-circle with an inside scoop of the variety life and some documenting experience. I couldn’t have worked it out better if I had tried. …and I did try. Funny, that.
I’ve just finished the first promo video for Stand Up Eight Circus.
Filming and editing by Rachel Peters.
Second camera man, Dragon Alexander.
Stand Up Eight in 90 Seconds! For the busy business person who just doesn’t have time for 4 and-a-half minutes.