'Shark Tank' Star Kevin O'Leary Enters Politics: 'People Want Different Kind of Leadership'

O'Leary hopes to defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019.

ByABC News
January 19, 2017, 10:16 AM

— -- Kevin O'Leary, the former reality TV star who rose to fame on "Shark Tank," explained on "Good Morning America" today why he has decided to run for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

"You know, I'm not a politician," O'Leary said. "I don't owe anybody any favors. I've never been involved in politics and if you're watching what's happening all around the world, it's not politics as usual anymore. People want different kind of leadership. They want someone whose actually got a track record in managing something, not just the same old politicians."

He continued: "I'm facing off against good men and women, but they're all politicians. And all of a sudden, we've got millions of Canadians who got to know me, obviously through television and that's what's interesting is you're starting to see a lot of politicians emerge using the platform of television because really after eight years, people know me quite well on 'Shark Tank,' all around the world frankly, and in Canada as well, but they want something different. I'm that change agent."

O'Leary announced in a Facebook Live video Wednesday that he would run and now many are comparing the businessman-turned-politician to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Both candidates have a background in business and both have also dabbled in reality TV. In addition, O'Leary is an active Twitter user. The social media platform remains one of Trump's preferred communication methods.

"Why am I doing this? Well, I look at this country and its bounty and its incredible promise, and all it gave to me as a young Canadian. Remember, I was born from Lebanese and Irish parents, this was the land of opportunity for them, they left their homeland, and they came here to start anew," he said in the footage. "And that's the promise of Canada, and it always has been, and somehow we've lost that, it's been squandered."

O'Leary also tweeted that the "Conservative Party of Canada needs a candidate who can beat Justin Trudeau and bring back jobs to this country."

This morning, O'Leary said that Canada's relationship with the U.S. is "about to change" due to Trump's talked-about policies, which has many Canadians "concerned."

"It's going to be an interesting journey, there's not question about it, but I think Canada is a really great partner of the United States and we've got to get back in sync with it," he explained. "But Donald has made it very clear it's not going to be business as usual and here it comes. And so, we're going to see some very interesting times as we will in America. There's no question about it."