MONTREAL – Citizens in the West must continue standing up for minority rights in order to help fight off the forces trying to destabilize democracies around the world, Hillary Clinton said Monday on the second Canadian leg of her book tour.
Clinton used her oft-repeated line since her book came out, “clear and present danger,” to describe the threat against democracies posed by dark forces such as Russian agents, whom she claimed were partly responsible for her 2016 election loss to Donald Trump.
“Let’s not mince words,” she said in Montreal. “This is a new cold war and it’s just getting started … We are in a global struggle between liberal democracy and a rising tide of illiberalism, authoritarianism and dictatorship.
“That illiberalism comes in many strains, including in Russia’s aggressive efforts to destabilize — if not dismantle — the liberal world order.”
The antidote, Clinton claims, is the “wave of activism” she said is inspiring her in the U.S. and around the world.
People taking to the streets, activists at airports welcoming refugees, and professional football players kneeling for the U.S. national anthem to protest against racism and police brutality are examples of the actions she said will defeat destructive forces such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“People like us willing to stand up for timeless principles and values fill me with hope,” Clinton said to several thousand people at Montreal’s convention centre. “We are on the right side of history.
“The lessons we draw from (the 2016 election) will determine whether democracy is protected. There are forces at work that continue to fight against women’s rights, gay rights — every value that we hold dear.”
The ex-Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state is on a promotional jaunt for “What Happened,” in which she describes her thoughts and feelings during the presidential campaign.
Clinton spoke in Toronto in September and will also speak in Vancouver on Dec. 13 as part of a 15-city swing taking her to Canadian and American cities.
Another key to fighting Russia and others in the world seeking to do harm to liberal democracies is to enforce cybersecurity, Clinton said.
The former first lady told the crowd how Russian agents used social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to post messages intended to divide Americans during the 2016 election, and continue to do so.
America’s intelligence agencies have publicly stated that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. president election, but the extent and consequences of the meddling have yet to be made clear.
Clinton said Russian television “made up” stories about her, which were taken up by websites in the U.S. and then targeted to “vulnerable” and “persuadable” people through their social media platforms.
She said social media companies such as Facebook need to disclose who is paying for advertisements posted on their network.
“Tech companies need to tell foreign companies and interests they can’t buy things on our platforms during the election. We are just at the beginning of trying to unpack all this.”
Clinton fractured her foot a few days ago and limped onto the stage, only to be welcomed warmly by the Montreal crowd.
Jennifer Mullen, who came to see Clinton with her young daughter, Esme, said the former presidential candidate has been treated unfairly due to her gender.
“Everything that men can do in politics, she can’t get away with because she is a woman,” Mullen said. “If a man does something underhanded or sneaky it’s considered par for the course, it’s considered part of the game. If she does it she’s a bi–h, she’s sneaky.”
Sarella Singer was in the audience wearing a Hillary pin.
“I think she’s awesome,” Singer said. “I think she’s done incredible things. I think she is an original feminist, she’s worked her whole life to improve the lives of women and children.”