Kevin O’Leary would play a role in Maxime Bernier-led Conservative party

Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary dropped out of the Conservative leadership race and pledged to back Quebec MP Maxime Bernier’s campaign all the way to decision day, but the duo are also working on a plan for afterwards.

Bernier says that if he wins, he expects to continue having O’Leary as part of his inner political circle for the next two years and then perhaps persuade him to run for a seat in the House of Commons.

There are fewer than 10 days left before the new leader of the party is declared and voting is underway, with close to 260,000 members eligible to cast a ballot.

Bernier is the perceived front-runner, but acknowledged in an interview with The Canadian Press this week that O’Leary’s support so far has been essential in maintaining that lead.

The two were once rivals, but O’Leary quit the race last month, saying that while he believed he could win leadership, he could never muster enough support in Quebec to win a general election.

So instead, his camp struck a deal with Bernier’s, and the pair are now campaigning together in the final days of the race.

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month