obama halifax

Barack Obama just showed up in Halifax and gushed about Canada

Former U.S. president Barack Obama stopped in Halifax last night to speak to a crowd of over 9,000 people, and they hung on his every word. 

Obama was in town to speak at his sold-out event titled A Conversation With Barack Obama as a part of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council's 70th anniversary celebrations.

On top of the approximately 6,000 regular attendees, about 3,000 young leaders and students had been given tickets to attend the event and hear Obama's words of wisdom, according to the Toronto Star.

The former president spoke about many issues facing the world today, and he also included some good old Canadian flattery. 

"I have to confess, and I speak for Michelle as well, we’re just suckers for Canadians," he said to the adoring crowd. "We like it here."

Obama complimented Canada on our level of civility and tolerance, among other things. 

"I think that there’s a spirit in Canada that is unique, and I think worth feeling very great about," he said.

"I think the people here are still modelling the kind of civility and tolerance and thoughtfulness that is required for the maintenance of a democracy and I hope that continues."

He also included some practical advice for the young leaders in the audience, advising them to focus more on action than anything else. 

Obama cautioned against the polarization currently taking over many of the world's democracies, and he said it's important to focus on what we have in common rather than what separates us.

And of course, the former President spoke about climate change, calling it the number-one issue of today. 

"At this point if you are still in denial about the science around this, you’ve got to read a little bit. You’ve got to get out there a little bit," he said.

He said the issue is dire and urgent, and that there's no longer any time to waste discussing whether or not it's real.

Obama also expressed admiration for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying they have a similar approach to politics. 

When asked by interviewer Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, what his most difficult day in office was, Obama somberly cited the Sandy Hook shooting as the worst of them all. 

He talked about gun violence, and said his inability to move the needle on this issue while in office is a "source of anguish" to him. 

Obama avoided all mention of Donald Trump in Halifax last night, and instead he focused on encouraging the world's future leaders to be idealistic and bold. 

And as he did once before, Obama warned against cancel culture.

He told young people not to focus so much on being right and judging others, but instead to concentrate on effecting change by listening to perspectives that are different from your own.

Lead photo by

Barack Obama

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