Hillary Clinton served a warning to liberals gathered in Congress: progressives’ tolerance of outlandish ideas that politicians, especially on the right, borrow from autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping must have “its limits.”
“I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but I think in the Democratic Party of the United States – and I’m speaking for us, not for you in the Liberal Party – they pride themselves on being tolerant […] But sometimes there’s has things that we shouldn’t tolerate,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said Friday night in a conversation with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“I sat in the Senate for eight years. I served with many of the people who are still there… I don’t recognize them,” the star guest of the Liberal High Mass said solemnly.
“I don’t recognize people I’ve worked with who are now willing to deny the outcome of the (2020) election. Who pour into wacky conspiracy theories that the Capitol insurrection, which they saw with their eyes, did not really happen, ”she said sorry.
“If you had asked me five years, 10 years ago, if such and such a person would support a former president who wants to tear down the institutions of our country for his own political and financial gain, I wouldn’t have believed it,” the former politician whispered to a crowd that hung on her lips.
It echoed Chrystia Freeland’s warning about some of the proposals made by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, without naming him.
“When someone says, ‘I want to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada,’ you have to take it seriously. When someone says, ‘I want to abolish CBC and also Radio-Canada,’ which is so important to our country, we have to take it seriously,” insisted the politician.
“We have to understand that the people who say that, that’s really their goal, and they really, really want to seriously change our society,” she warned to applause from a room at the Shaw Center in Ottawa. filled to capacity.
If the two women know each other (Chrystia Freeland called Hillary Clinton to invite her to Ottawa), it is also true for Hillary Clinton and the one who had heated the room: the former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. A friendship still unites the “little guy from Shawinigan” and former President Bill Clinton, she said.
“He and my husband still see each other; they occasionally have late-night conversations, and I swear, they still talk about their budget surpluses. They’re talking about other stuff, but you know, they’re both pretty proud of what they’ve accomplished,” she said, which caused the room to laugh.
Laughter was also on the agenda during the speech of the former Liberal Prime Minister, who demonstrated that he had lost none of his political flair and his sense of humor by addressing the approximately 4,000 liberal activists.
Following in the footsteps of Justin Trudeau, who had fired red balls at Pierre Poilievre the day before in a fiery speech in front of the troops, Mr. Chrétien described the Conservative leader as an angry leader fueled by negativity.
“No, Mr. Poilievre, Canada is not broken,” he said.
He argued that Mr. Poilievre is so far to the right of the political spectrum that it must make former prime minister Stephen Harper uncomfortable.
“I shouldn’t put Poilievre’s name with Harper’s name because I feel uncomfortable. Poilievre is so negative, so right-wing that Harper looks reasonable,” he said to the delight of the crowd.
“If it continues like this, he will ask to become a member of the Liberal Party,” he added.
To the Liberal troops, he predicted that Justin Trudeau will get another term from Canadians in the next election. All the more so, according to him, since the current Liberal government has been able to navigate stormy waters during the pandemic while keeping public finances in good shape.
“For 60 years, there have only been 10 budget surpluses in Canadian finances. And Mr. Poilievre, they were always Liberal governments,” he insisted.
Reflecting on his long years of service, Mr. Chrétien recalled that the Liberal Party was in power during the years of major reforms such as the creation of drug insurance, the pension plan, the adoption of a flag, the patriation of the constitution and the legalization of gay marriages.
This latest reform earned him a standing ovation from activists. And Mr. Chrétien was also warmly applauded when he recalled Canada’s decision not to participate in the war in Iraq.
The biennial Liberal convention, which could be the last before the next election, will end on Saturday, among other things with the adoption of resolutions put forward by activists from across the country.