Hillary Clinton speaks to an audience in Toronto promoting her new book “What Happened” on Thursday, September 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Hillary Clinton thrills Toronto crowd

Feisty Hillary Clinton delights Toronto crowd with part feminist, part activist talk

Former American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told an appreciative crowd on Thursday that more women in politics is the way to overcome the sexism that pervades the political world, and that democracy is under assault.

The Democrat was in Toronto to promote her new best-selling memoir, “What Happened,” in which she describes her stunning loss in last year’s election to political newcomer, Republican Donald Trump, a man often criticized as a misogynist.

“The only way to get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics,” Clinton, 69, said. “I want more women in politics so our politics is more representative.”

Many reasons exist why politics can be a downright infuriating prospect for women, she said, citing the example of a group of men sitting around a table deciding what health care women need.

At the same time, politics can also be immensely rewarding by providing women a voice at the table, said Clinton as she praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for appointing Canada’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

“I especially appreciate Canada’s commitment to an open and diverse society that welcomes immigrants,” she said to loud applause.

In fact, she joked that she had received many suggestions to relocate to Canada. While she won’t be moving, she did enjoy her summer vacation in Quebec, she said.

Clinton said the Russian “misinformation campaign” during the presidential election was largely successful because Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between truth and reason.

“There is no such thing as an ‘alternative fact’ despite the war by some to wage a war on reason and evidence,” she said. “We can’t let that happen.”

Related: FBI director blasted by Democrats after probe revelation

Trump won’t condemn the Russian interference in American politics because there is growing evidence of “very tangled” financial relationships between the president, his associates and Russia, she said.

“Trump doesn’t just like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” she said, ”He wants to be like Putin.”

Russian cyberattacks on the Democratic National committee and emails stolen from her campaign, she said, warrant an independent commission to get to the bottom of the issue.

Although some seats were empty, organizers pegged the size of the crowd at above 5,000 — the majority of them women. They roared in delight as Clinton spoke about her trials and tribulations, interrupting her frequently to voice approval, laugh or clap.

Clinton’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, had billed her speech as a “detailed and surprisingly funny” account of her past and plans for the future, and the former secretary of state did not disappoint her audience.

“She gave me confidence that there is a future and we can do something,” Jan Moore said afterward. ”It was encouraging and uplifting.”

Related: Dems see disparity in handling of Clinton, Russia inquiries

Clinton, whose 15-city tour will also include Montreal and Vancouver, talked of the lost election and the difficult aftermath, adding at times she simply wanted to crawl under the covers until the distress eased.

As for her future, she said she intends to be an activist citizen agitating for human and women’s rights now that she is free of the constraints of being a politician in the glare of the public eye.

Clinton, through a moderator, answered several questions, taking shots at Trump as the “first reality TV candidate” who was offensive, “stalked” her, and was an all-round “creep.”

“What Happened” has already garnered huge international attention, reportedly having already sold more than 300,000 copies in all formats and the highest opening hardcover for non-fiction in five years since its official debut Sept. 12.

Some critics have praised it for its revealing honesty and poignancy; others have called it boring and self-serving.

Another audience member, Linda Ford, said she planned to read the book. Ford said she was “disappointed” in the outcome of the election but pleased the ex-politician is using her experience for the common good.

Clinton is scheduled to speak in Montreal on Oct. 23, and in Vancouver on Dec. 13.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Most Read