Montreal

Top 5 Obama moments from his first-ever trip to Montreal

Barack Obama made his first-ever trip to Montreal on Tuesday. From the surprise visit to Liverpool House to his jab at Trump, here are the stand-out moments.

It was a short visit, but Obama gave Montrealers a lot to talk about

Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech before the Montreal Board of Trade Tuesday, June 6, 2017 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Barack Obama opened his speech in Montreal with an ode to the future; his hopes and visions not only for Canada, or the U.S., but the world.

​After his speech he sat down for a question-and-answer session with Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Quebec energy provider Gaz Métro. 

Here were some of our favourite moments: 


When he spoke French

The former president opened his speech with a warm thank you to Canada and a shout-out to Montreal on its 375th birthday.

"Bon anniversaire," Obama said, with some hesitance.

Not too shabby.

He also threw in a "merci." But when Brochu greeted him by saying "bonsoir," he paused for a moment, then uttered a sheepish "thank you" in English.   

Barack Obama practices his French in Montreal. 0:13

Obama said one of his favourite things about Montreal is that there are a large number of Michelles here — which also happens to be the name of his wife.

After the speech, Obama went for dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who did not attend the speech) at Liverpool House, a popular restaurant in Montreal's Southwest borough.

No word yet if Obama ordered in French or English.


When he advocated for women's rights

Obama also used his wife as an opportunity to talk about women's rights.

"I'm married to an extraordinary woman, [we have] extraordinary daughters" he told Brochu.

Brochu wanted to know if he thought someone in his family would ever shatter the glass ceiling, and become the first woman president.

Barack Obama was in Montreal for his first Canadian speech since he left office. 0:58

"In my lifetime we will see a woman president of the United States," Obama predicted.

"I don't know who that will be but I believe that will happen."

Both the president and his wife have been strong proponents of women's rights. 


When he complimented Canada

"My bonds with Canada are deep," the ex-president said at the top of his speech.

He then listed a few things he likes about Canada: holding the first state dinner with the country in over 20 years; hosting his "good friends" Justin and Sophie Trudeau last year; his Canadian brother-in-law from Burlington; the long-lasting alliance between the two countries.

Barack Obama was in Montreal for his first Canadian speech since he left office. 1:20

He also praised Canada's immigration policy.

"It's important to establish processes to make sure that we reaffirm that we are nations of immigrants, that it creates dynamism in our economies, that it strengthens rather than weakens us." 

He added: "You should be congratulated for that."


When he criticized fake news

"We're going to have to find a way to push back on propaganda," said Obama.

One of the points Obama raised at the beginning of his speech was the role of technology and news. 

The former president of the U.S. talks about the challenges of fake news. 0:58

In an era of instant communication and constant information, he said, it can be tempting to filter, and hear only what we want to hear.

"We're in an environment where we are only accepting information that fits our opinions, rather than basing our opinions on the facts we receive," Obama said. 


When he talked about climate change

No surprise here.

Last week, Obama took a not-so-subtle jab at President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate-change accord.

He took another one in his speech on Tuesday. 

Barack Obama was in Montreal for his first Canadian speech since he left office. 0:54

"We came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change. An agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership will still give our children a fighting chance," he said.

On the subject of children, the former leader of the U.S said his daughters and future granddaughters were his source of inspiration when it came to "fighting climate change."​

With files from Molly Kohli

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.