Saskatoon

Extremism spreading, Hillary Clinton tells Saskatoon crowd

Terrorism, democracy, and Saskatchewan's early leadership role in health care were among the topics covered by Hillary Clinton in Saskatoon Wednesday.

Former U.S. secretary of state praises Canadian health care, says she admires Tommy Douglas

Hillary Clinton talked about terrorism, democracy, the importance of early childhood education, but not the Keystone XL pipeline. (CBC)

Terrorism, democracy, and Saskatchewan's early leadership role in health care were among the topics covered by Hillary Clinton in Saskatoon Wednesday.

The former U.S. secretary of state did not quite pack the house at TCU Place. But close to 2,000 people streamed in to hear a speech by the woman who is widely expected to make a second bid for the U.S. presidency.

They paid in the range of $84 to $315 for the privilege.

Clinton focused most of her formal address on the topic of Islamic extremism — and how the U.S. and Canada should respond. Coincidentally, it was the same evening that the Amadiyya Muslim Students' Association was holding a video presentation and discussion at the University of Saskatchewan, on Islamist de-radicalization.

We can't close our eyes to the fact that there is a distorted and dangerous strain of extremism within the Muslim world that continues to spread.- Hillary Clinton

Clinton spoke about the values of "tolerance and openness that define our democracies".

"Make no mistake," Clinton told her audience, "those were the values under assault in Paris. The slaughter of cartoonists and satirists, along with Jews and police officers truly sent a signal about what we are contesting."

She called it a "contest of ideas and values", adding that "Islam itself is not the adversary".
    
"But we can't close our eyes to the fact that there is a distorted and dangerous strain of extremism within the Muslim world that continues to spread," Clinton continued, calling it "a generational challenge" that must be "waged on multiple fronts simultaneously".

Those include the effort to stop the spread of ISIS and other violent extremist groups in the Middle East. She also said there's a need to empower moderates and marginalize extremists in the wider Muslim world, as well as target extremist propaganda and recruitment.

"And we still have to do a much better job of contesting on-line space including websites, and chat rooms, where extremists inspire and recruit followers," Clinton said.

Clinton had lots of praise for Canada's health care system and said she admires Saskatchewan for what leaders like Tommy Douglas accomplished.

Douglas, a former Saskatchewan premier, is considered the father of medicare in Canada.

She spoke about Obama's signature health care law and said the U.S. is in a learning period that has had its shortfalls and glitches.

She said they must keep moving forward to get to affordable, universal health-care coverage like Canada has.

Having spoken in Winnipeg earlier in the day, Clinton described her visit to the newly opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where she found "so much information presented dramatically and poignantly about what it means to be deprived of your human rights".

Clinton also linked the struggle against extremism with "sharing prosperity more broadly and fairly".

During a question-and-answer session that followed, Clinton advanced the idea of a "North American energy system".

"When I was in Winnipeg I talked about how there's a deal between Manitoba's hydroelectricity and some companies, utilities across the border that deal with clean energy, solar, wind and how we need to be looking for ways to connect ourselves up, to thicken the co-operation on energy among us," Clinton said.

However, there were two questions she would not touch — her views on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and whether she will indeed enter the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

With files from Canadian Press

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