February 19, 2014

"Fire Kevin O’Leary" Campaign crashes O’Leary book signing in Guelph

This Tuesday, supporters of Rebel Youth’s “Fire Kevin O’Leary” Campaign picketed Mr. O’Leary’s book signing at Chapters in Guelph’s Stone Rd Mall.

The Guelph Young Communist League and supporters of the campaign flyered mall customers and displayed large signs in support of Firing Kevin O’Leary from the CBC.

Although Chapters management and mall security were less than pleased to see them, there was warm response from many members of the public.  Even outside a Kevin O’Leary book signing it seemed that there was more support for the campaign than for Mr. O’Leary’s pro-big business bigotry.

The public often responded with encouraging statements such as “Yeah, f**k that guy, that’s a great cause”, “That guy’s a dick!” and “What did he do this time?”.  Many stopped to have more in depth chats about Kevin O’Leary and said they would sign the petition to fire Mr. O’Leary and restore and expand funding to the CBC.

The following is the callout for the Guelph action:

On Tuesday, February 18 at 7pm, multimillionaire investor and media personality Kevin O'Leary will be speaking at Chapters Guelph to promote his new book, The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women and Money. O'Leary is probably best known for his aggressive personality as shown on Dragon's Den, and his extreme neoliberal views showcased on The Lang and O'Leary exchange on CBC. Kevin O'Leary uses his platform on the CBC to spread his toxic message, defending the super-rich, attacking unions, and advocating austerity and privatization.

O'Leary recently provoked public outrage when he said that an Oxfam report showing that the wealthiest 85 people on earth had as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion was “Fantastic.” O'Leary believes that this massive disparity of wealth will inspire and motivate the poor to work harder, so that they too can join the super-wealthy elite. In reality, O'Leary is aggressively defending a system that is creating extreme wealth for a tiny handful and mass poverty for the majority of the planet. This is nothing new for O'Leary, who has a long history of obnoxious and offensive statements in defence of the wealthy:

  • O'Leary has frequently expressed his violent hatred of unions, organizations that millions of Canadians belong to, saying that if he were Prime Minister, he would “make unions illegal. Anyone who remains a union member will be thrown in jail.” He says that “Unions...are born out of evil. They must be destroyed with evil.” The National Union of Government and Public Employees pointed out that “O'Leary's wilful promotion of contempt and hatred towards unions reflects a viewpoint that has often ended in violence perpetrated against union members and leaders around the world”.
  • He has said that education is a privilege and that unemployed students 'deserve to be in debtor's prison'
  • Expressed admiration for frighteningly ultra-capitalist and writer and ideologue Ayn Rand
  • Called interviewee “an Indian giver (sic) with a forked tongue” when referring to the guest's opposition to foreign corporate control of Saskatchewan's potash industry. CBC Ombudsperson concluded that the remark was “unambiguously offensive”.
  • Described his spot on Dragon's Den as 'Free advertising'

The common thread in these remarks is O'Leary's belief that the rich must be able to accumulate more and more wealth, regardless of any social cost. The context for these comments, and O'Leary's public prominence, is the global austerity offensive that is destroying public services, attacking workers' rights and undermining every gain made by working people. Kevin O'Leary is a mouthpiece for the super-rich elite that already controls most of the world's wealth, but wants to eliminate any obstacles to accumulating more.

The Young Communist League of Canada's Rebel Youth magazine is calling for CBC to fire Kevin O'Leary and stop giving him a platform to express these destructive views, false statements and self-serving ideology. The petition has gathered thousands of signatures to fire Mr. O'Leary and restore and expand funding to the CBC so that the public broadcaster does not have to cater to voices like O'Leary's to attract advertising revenue.

If you agree that our public broadcasting station shouldn't be giving space to this voice of the ultra rich in whose goal is to strengthen the austerity attack on the vast majority of the public, join us in protesting Kevin O'Leary's talk at Chapters this Tuesday.

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