Hillary Clinton isn't a presidential candidate … yet. Based on the reception Clinton got in Toronto last week, some Canadians are ready for her to be the 45th president of the United States.
Clinton was in Toronto to promote her new memoir, "Hard Choices," and also spoke to a business crowd. The former U.S. Secretary of State also sat down for a 17-minute interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge.
Some people waited overnight outside the Indigo bookstore at Bay and Bloor in downtown Toronto. They weren't waiting that long because she was the Secretary of State.
No surprise that Clinton was asked about the Keystone XL pipeline. "I do not see it, though, nor should it be, a proxy for the relationship," Clinton said at the business forum at the downtown Sheraton Centre. "It is, after all, one pipeline. We already have a lot of pipelines that cross our border."
Clinton said Canada was the "indispensable partner" of the United States. "I do believe that both Canada and the United States can become even richer, more prosperous but also more environmentally sustainable by having a broad engagement over energy and climate, and not focusing everything on this one decision."
In the CBC interview, Clinton noted that the close relationship between Canada and the U.S. could be a model for successful global partnerships elsewhere in the world.
Clinton had praise for Kathleen Wynne's campaign. She said Wynne is "ready to make a lot of changes," after what was "a very positive, agenda-driven campaign on her part." Earlier this month, Wynne became the first elected female premier of Ontario.
Even if Toronto was just another stop on the book tour, Clinton was smart in incorporating Canada into the conversation. The memoir is reinforcing her foreign policy skills, and dealing with Canada is foreign policy.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, is a fan of Toronto and Canada. While George H.W. Bush's administration did the grunt work for NAFTA, Bill Clinton has received the credit/blame for NAFTA.
Hillary Clinton has incorporated Canada into two moments in her 2008 presidential campaign. You might recall Clinton drank a Canadian whisky (Crown Royal) in a bar in Crown Point, Indiana. She picked a song from a Canadian (Celine Dion) as her official campaign song.
If Hillary Clinton runs for president and wins in 2016, she will be her own person as president. She needs to develop a relationship with Canada, and this was a very good start.
Is it important for Canadians to like the president of the United States? I personally saw the positive reaction in Toronto on Labour Day weekend in 2008 to the prospect of Barack Obama being elected. We all saw the impressive reception the new president received in 2009.
By contrast, George W. Bush was as unfriendly to Canada compared to every president since the War of 1812.
If Clinton does get elected in 2016, you will see a similar reaction to what Obama received.
photo credit: Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star