Hillary Clinton talked immigration, terrorism and extremism in Winnipeg Wednesday afternoon as part of a series of talks on global issues.

The former U.S. secretary of state spoke to about 2,000 people at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre, and spent much of the time discussing extremism and counterterrorism efforts.

"We have to show the world that free people and free markets, human rights and human dignity, respect for our fellow man and woman is our core strength," she said. "Great democracies like yours and mine have to set that example."

Clinton spoke specifically of Lassana Bathily, the man granted French citizenship after he helped save hostages' lives during an attack on a kosher deli in Paris earlier this month following the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton speaks in Winnipeg on Wednesday afternoon. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Clinton, who now leads the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and recently wrote Hard Choices, a memoir about her years as the secretary of state under President Barack Obama, repeatedly highlighted the close relationship Canada and the U.S. have.

"Our two countries have so much in common," said Clinton. "No two nations in the world are closer. No border is longer or more peaceful."

She has previously called Canada "an exceptional partner" to the U.S. in global peace efforts.

Clinton also touched on helping the middle class and immigration – a hot topic in Obama's state of the union address on Tuesday night.

"Last night, President Obama offered a vision for the middle class in the United States to reclaim its seat at the table," said Clinton.

Hillary Clinton does Putin Impression

Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton did an impression of Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday afternoon for about 2,000 Canadians in Winnipeg. (CBC)

In the same breath, she said there is still "much more to do to bring security and possibility" to the middle class. 

"All of our people have to believe they have a stake in our prosperity and our future," she told attendees who paid $300 each to attend the talk.

"Canada and the United states, unlike most places in the world, are places built by immigrants and energized by our diversity," said Clinton. "It hasn’t always been smooth or easy, but at our best we kept expanding our idea of family, of community and the circle of opportunity wider and wider to keep making more room at the table."

It has been widely speculated that Clinton is gearing up to run for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president. Clinton remained coy on the topic Wednesday, saying her answers to questions about how she would lead differently than Obama were purely "hypothetical."

Clinton is spending the evening hosting a similar talk in Saskatoon after finishing her talk in Winnipeg.