In Montreal speech, Obama warns about appeal of authoritarianism
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 07, 2017,
Jun 07, 2017, 10:17
"That's a recipe for more cynicism and more polarization, less trust in our institutions and less trust in each other".
Obama never mentioned U.S. President Donald Trump, but his carefully chosen words nevertheless seemed to offer a critique on the direction his successor has taken in a few short months.
Barack Obama's appearance on St-Henri's gourmet restaurant strip coincided with a non-rainy night to ensure that people lined up on both sides of the street to catch a glimpse of the former USA president, as police and Obama's security detail kept a close watch.
Obama however, did not directly criticize the Trump administration but expressed confidence in the Paris deal to combat climate change.
"It's not as if Wal-Mart is now going to suddenly reverse itself - they're going to continue to build on the clean energy they've already invested in because it turns out it saves them money", Obama said.
While there is an unspoken rule that ex-politicians don't weigh in on current matters, Obama warned as he was leaving office that he would speak out if he thought it necessary.
The former president also appeared to hint towards Trump while he spoke about the current age of instant information and its advantages and disadvantages.
"In Paris, we came around to the most ambitious agreement in history to combat climate change, an agreement that even with a temporary lack of USA leadership will still give our kids a fighting chance against climate change", Obama said.
"Where TV and Twitter can feed us a steady stream of bad news and sometimes fake news, it can seem like the worldwide order we have created is constantly being tested and the center may not hold", he said.
"And in some cases, that leads people to search for certainty and control and they can call for isolationism or nationalism or they can suggest rolling back the rights of others", he said.
It will be his first visit to Canada since he left the White House in January.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama has once again decried what he called the lack of American leadership on climate change, saying Tuesday his country's absence as an worldwide force on the issue is only temporary.
A video capturing the moment when the two world leaders exited the eatery shows the crowd erupting in cheers as they both smiled ear-to-ear and waived. He said people who felt at a loss with the democratic process could "try anything", but that liberal values would win out over time. "And that's why I do think you guys (women) are a little better".