Hillary Clinton talks election loss, new book and inspiring women in Montreal

Around 2,000 people gathered at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal Monday night to hear former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a stop on her new book tour.

Clinton stopped at Palais des Congès to promote her new book Monday night

Hillary Clinton promotes her new book "What Happened" Monday, October 23, 2017 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Around 2,000 people gathered at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal Monday night to hear former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a stop on her new book tour.

Clinton's book, What Happened, was released last month and has been praised for its candour and willingness to admit mistakes as well as being openly critical of the Trump administration.
Hillary Clinton's book, What Happened, was released last month. (Google Books)

The former first lady was introduced by a close friend of the Clinton family, Quebec author Louise Penny.

Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, were in Quebec's Eastern Townships in August vacationing and visiting with Penny.

She was welcomed onstage and warmly applauded by the crowd.

Clinton wore a surgical boot on her right foot, which she fractured falling down some stairs last week.

Still, she spoke gamely, talking about her book and taking questions from moderator Caroline Codsi, president and founder of Women in Governance.

Codsi asked Clinton about President Donald Trump's behaviour during some of the televised debates during the campaign, asking her why — when Trump was "following you around stage" and "lurking like a big bad wolf" —  Clinton didn't tell him to "back off."

"I knew he was behind me, he was making faces, he was leering. It was so uncomfortable," Clinton told the crowd.

Clinton was asked about President Trump's behaviour, seen here during the second televised debate. (NBC)

"So my mind was like, 'do I stick to my plan and just ignore him?' ... Or do I swivel around and say, 'You like to intimidate women. You're not going to intimidate me. Back up, you creep.' And as you probably know I didn't say that."

When asked about President Donald Trump's inauguration, Clinton described the event as a "root canal on steroids. It was so painful."

"I caught Michelle Obama's eyes, and I was like, 'Can you believe this?'"

Clinton spoke about the status of women in her speech, praising Justin Trudeau for appointing women to half the positions in his federal cabinet.

"I cheered when Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Canada's first gender-balanced cabinet," she said.

She also spoke about the challenges faced by women in politics.

Hillary Clinton spoke in Montreal in front of a crowd of 2,000. (CBC)

"There are plenty of reasons why being a woman in politics can be absolutely infuriating, but it's also deeply rewarding," said Clinton.

"I hope women of all ages, especially young women, will read this book and if so inspired, run for office, compete, get in the arena."

Highly anticipated talk

Fans showed up hours in advance and paid upwards of $79 to hear Clinton speak.

Following her loss, Clinton has been accused by critics within and outside the Democratic Party of re-litigating last years' campaign in her book.

But supporters say they don't blame her for the loss or for sharing her perspective.

Yvonne Casson (L) and Katherine Arthaud (R) are disappointed with Clinton's loss. They don’t blame her, but they don’t think she should run again either. (Sean Henry/CBC)

"I think more people should have showed up to vote," said Yvonne Casson, a dual citizen who voted for Clinton.

While they may be huge fans, many who spoke to CBC News say Clinton should not run again in 2020.

Katie Moffett of Plattsburgh, NY, a lifelong Clinton fan, says bigger things await her outside the White House.

She described Clinton as 'womanhood rolled into a package of power and strength."

"She's the way forward," Moffett said.

With files from Sean Henry, La Presse Canadienne