Politics

Kevin O'Leary turns bullish on Canada but dodges questions about another political bid to sink Trudeau

Key Points
  • The O'Shares chairman says he's making a two-pronged bet on Canada's future prosperity.
  • The moves reflects what O'Leary sees as a conservative groundswell to challenge Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Asked whether he'd like to play a role in Canada's 2019 national election, O'Leary just smiled and laughed.
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Kevin O'Leary turns bullish on Canada

Kevin O'Leary, chairman of O'Shares ETFs and an investor on "Shark Tank," told CNBC on Monday he's making a two-pronged bet on Canada's future prosperity, due to what he sees as a conservative groundswell to challenge the liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

"I'm waving the Canadian flag. I'm going long the [Canadian] dollar and I'm going long 60 large-cap Canadian companies," said O'Leary, who was born in Montreal in Canada's Quebec province.

Trudeau has not done himself or his country any favors by battling President Donald Trump over trade, O'Leary said, following the weekend G-7 summit in Quebec that was dominated by the U.S. fighting with its allies over tariffs.

Last year, O'Leary ran to lead Canada's Conservative Party. The 63-year-old businessman said at the time he planned to make Trudeau's life an "absolute hell." However, O'Leary eventually dropped out of the race.

Kevin O'Leary
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Asked Monday on "Fast Money Halftime Report" whether he'd like to play a role in politics in Canada's upcoming 2019 federal election, O'Leary just smiled and laughed.

However, he said he's "loving the new direction in Canada," citing a win by conservatives in Canada's most populous province. "The Liberal Party of Ontario was decimated." He said he also sees a similar fate for liberals in next year's elections in Alberta.

"Then there's the third element. The federal election for the prime minister happens … in 14 months. And I think there's a 50/50 chance he [Trudeau] loses his mandate too," O'Leary said.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and France's President Emmanuel Macron chat during a family photo at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018.
Yves Herman | Reuters

"This is a great tale for the markets," O'Leary said, calling an end to what he called Canada's "unmitigated disaster for investors for the last two years."

O'Leary said he had zero exposure to Canada until this week. He said he now has a 1 percent exposure in "60 names in Canadian dollars using a Canadian ETF called XIU, which owns everything: all the banks, all the rail, and all the energy; and I bought Canadian dollars to do it."

"So I'm betting on a move in the Canadian dollar to the upside, and I'm betting that all of these left-wing governments, including the one at the federal, are all getting wiped out," he added, saying he's prepared to increase his exposure to Canada by 1 percent if conservatives win in Alberta and another 1 percent if the liberals and Trudeau get bounced in the 2019 national elections.

O'Leary said a 3 percent portfolio exposure to Canada would be consistent with what money managers with an international mandate usually hold, "because that's its global GDP weighting."