Celebrity investor and reality-TV star Kevin O'Leary is quitting the federal Conservative leadership race and throwing his support behind Quebec rival Maxime Bernier.
The Canadian Press has confirmed O'Leary is making the announcement later today.
Bernier, for his part, has scheduled a news conference in Toronto, where the candidates are scheduled to face each other in a final debate showdown before next month's vote.
O'Leary was widely seen as the front-runner in the race, but he doesn't believe he will be able to win a federal election because of a lack of support in Quebec.
A lack of facility with French was always considered one of O'Leary's greatest liabilities.
As for assets, O'Leary had plenty: instant recognition, thanks to years of television exposure; a public image as a savvy financial manager; and a brash, no-nonsense, outsider approach that echoed the unlikely ascent of U.S. President Donald Trump.
He promised to talk up the Canadian economy and trade in a way he complained the current Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had failed to do.
"This is an opportunity for me to do something I don't believe any Canadians had an opportunity to do," O'Leary said in an interview earlier this year with The Canadian Press.
"I've built a trust over a decade with them on television, and to be able to explain our relationship in a unique way, in a way that they will trust. Trudeau? I'm better known in the U.S. than he is."
The moment O'Leary decided to run came just before Christmas, when the federal Finance Department issued a report predicting budget shortfalls until at least 2051, with debt levels exceeding $1.55 trillion.
The thought of his two adult children buried by that kind of debt was unthinkable, O'Leary said.
His plan was to target voters in the 18-to-35 demographic and convince them to first join the Conservative party, and then to back him in 2019 for prime minister.
"There's no other candidate that connects with the young with the way I can," he said. "They grew up with me; I've been on television forever."