Clinton rouses luncheon crowd


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She opened with a "Peg" joke, gently refused to be drawn into a debate about the Keystone pipeline or her political future and earned two standing ovations from a huge Winnipeg crowd.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/01/2015 (2876 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

She opened with a “Peg” joke, gently refused to be drawn into a debate about the Keystone pipeline or her political future and earned two standing ovations from a huge Winnipeg crowd.

In between, likely presidential contender and former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton gave two shout-outs to Manitoba Hydro’s plans to build a new power line to Minnesota and a nod to rookie mayor Brian Bowman, the city’s first Métis mayor. No one in the crowd of nearly 2,000 seemed to mind Clinton pronounced the S on the end of Métis.

Speaking without notes and untethered from the podium, Clinton began by extolling the friendly relationship between Canada and the United States. She said no border is more peaceful and no two countries share more core values.

Aaron Cohen / CMHR Hillary Rodham Clinton writes a message on a card in the 'Inspiring Change' gallery in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights after the Global Perspectives luncheon in Winnipeg.

When a mentally-ill gunman attacked Canada’s Parliament buildings last fall, she said, American’s watched in worry.

“We all held our breath on the other side of that border of ours,” said Clinton.

But, as she has in other recent speeches in Canada, she refused to offer an opinion on the thorniest issue between the two countries – the fate of the Keystone pipeline.

“You won’t get me to talk about Keystone, I won’t express an opinion,” Clinton told CIBC President and CEO Victor Dodig, who hosted the post-speech Q&A. “It’s in our process, where it belongs.”

As expected, though Clinton is widely expected to announce her bid for president this spring, she was also coy about her political future.

When Dodig noted slyly that her time as Secretary of State would be great preparation for the presidency, Clinton smiled and gave him a “n’uh uh” finger wag.

But she did speak at length about global affairs, including the crisis in Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear program and the threat of Islamic extremists.

Clinton said the world must combat the growing threat of violent groups like ISIS by supporting moderates in the Islamic world, cracking down on the use of the Internet as a recruiting tool and shoring up Western democratic values. That means showing the world the West protects free markets, human rights and diversity.

“Great democracies like yours and mine have to set that example,” said Clinton.

Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U. S. Secretary of State, speaks during the Global Perspectives event at the RBC Convention Centre Wednesday afternoon.

As she has in other recent Canadian speeches in Vancouver and Calgary, she opened with some local flavour, saying Winnipeg’s weather doesn’t bother her because she grew up in Chicago, “the Winnipeg of the South.” She also said she hoped to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this afternoon.

Nearly 2,000 people paid $300 to hear Clinton at the RBC Convention Centre, part of the Global Perspectives series sponsored by CIBC.

Spotted at Wednesday’s luncheon were Lt. Gov. Philip Lee, provincial Conservative Leader Brian Pallister, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, University of Manitoba President David Barnard and business leaders such as Gendis’s James Cohen, Wow! Hospitality’s Doug Stephen, lawyers David Filmon and Gail Asper.

Security was not overwhelming. Organizers said sniffer dogs were brought in earlier, and those in attendance were asked to check coats and large bags, but police and other security officers were discreet.


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Updated on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 2:54 PM CST: Writethru.

Updated on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 6:00 PM CST: Adds details of CMHR visit.

Updated on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 6:45 PM CST: Removes CMHR visit (posts as separate story)

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