TORONTO — 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 — part of a 15-city tour that will also include Montreal and Vancouver — 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 said. "I want more women in politics so our politics is more representative."
Many reasons exist why politics can be downright infuriating for women, she said, citing as an example a group of white men sitting around a table deciding what health care women need.
At the same time, she added, politics can also be immensely rewarding by providing women a voice at the table.
Clinton praised Prime Minister 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 as she opened her speech.
In fact, she joked she had received many suggestions to relocate to Canada.
I especially appreciate Canada's commitment to an open and diverse society that welcomes immigrants.Hillary Clinton
Clinton said the Russian "misinformation campaign" during the election was successful in part 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."
Although some seats were empty, organizers pegged the size of the crowd at above 5,000 — the majority of them women — who roared in delight as Clinton spoke about her recent trials and tribulations. The crowd interrupted her frequently to voice approval, laugh or clap.
"Everyone gets knocked down. Everybody faces loss and disappointment. We all experience that," she said.
Clinton's publisher, publisher Simon and Schuster, 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.
"This book is much about the future as it is about the past," she said, adding she intended to be an activist citizen agitating for human and women's rights.
Following her speech, Clinton, through a moderator, answered audience questions, taking shots at Trump as the "first reality TV candidate" who was offensive and "stalked" her and was an all-round "creep."
This book is much about the future as it is about the past.Hillary Clinton
Clinton's book 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.
The former U.S. first lady has previously written two memoirs.
On Oct. 23, Clinton is scheduled to speak in Montreal, and in Vancouver on Dec. 13.
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