Montreal movie-theatre mogul Vincenzo Guzzo considering a run for Conservative leadership
MONTREAL -- Businessman and television personality Vincenzo Guzzo says he is considering a run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Guzzo is perhaps most well-known for his eponymous Montreal-based movie theatre chain. He also owns restaurants and a construction company and has appeared as a 'dragon' on CBC's Dragon's Den.
Like other potential Conservative Party leadership candidates, the rumoured ranks of which include Jean Charest and Rona Ambrose, Guzzo is testing the waters. He wants to see what support he could garner before formally declaring his candidacy, he told CTV News on Tuesday.
"I'm still having these discussions with some of the party establishment. I'm still having a discussion with other people who claimed they wanted to run just to see the support we can get at the party level," he said.
If he does run, Guzzo's support is more likely to come from the party rank and file, he thinks.
"I seem to have connected a lot more with the average Conservative, the average elector and the average Canadian versus the party brass right now," he said.
But the businessman said he'll only run if he feels he's the best option for the Conservative Party.
"If somebody better than me, or somebody who I think has more vision or a better connectivity with the Canadian population, were to throw their name in the race I would probably back down and support that person," he said.
Career politicians have forgotten they work for the Canadian people, he added.
"Everybody's become a polling machine, and everybody's become a slogan machine. Nobody actually takes the time to sit down and talk to people and actually simplify [the issues]," he said.
With his background in different business fields, Guzzo would learn the skills necessary to run a party, and the country, quickly, he said.
"I'm a bit like a chameleon where I can adapt my managerial skills. I'm a quick learner. Trust me. I'm a quick learner," he said.
But he would likely be considered an unorthodox candidate, he admitted.
"I got to be honest. I don't think I do anything in an orthodox way, but I don't think the average Canadian is necessarily an orthodox person," he said.
Does he think he can beat Justin Trudeau in an election?
"Oh ya, I think I can beat him," Guzzo said.
With files from CTV Montreal's Kelly Greig.