On March 18, Hillary Clinton spoke to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd in Montreal. The Palais des congrès was packed with members of Montreal elite eager to hear her speak, with Premier Pauline Marois, mayor Denis Coderre, and federal cabinet ministers in attendance. Clinton spoke about empowering young women and Russia’s foreign policy in what what was described as, “Oh, okay I have heard this before, but it’s cool to see Hillary Clinton!”
When talking about Russia, Clinton warned that Russia was looking to redraw its post-war borders through aggressive territorial expansion. “This is a clash of values and it’s an effort by Putin to rewrite the boundaries of post-World War II Europe,” said Clinton, who said something that has been said by a lot of policy analysts. People in the audience nodded politely and hmm-ed murmurs of moderate agreement.
Although McGall did not plan this event, several McGall students were in attendance. Batt Moblin, U2 Poli Sigh major with a minor in Neoliberalism studies, commented, “It was pretty cool to see Hillary Clinton! I got free tickets through McGall, I haven’t been this happy since I saw Al Gore last semester! These speakers who do not conflict or challenge my current moderate political views are great!”
Clinton finished her speech and the audience went home convinced of things they had already believed prior to the talk.
“It reminded me of a TED talk. I love TED talks!” added Batt Moblin excitedly.
McGall University, responding to this positive response, has booked several speakers for next year. The Mainstream Political Figures Reciting Talking Points (MPFRTP) initiative promises speakers for the McGall community.
“I think we really are filling a need on an institutional level. McGall wants to listen to politicians who have high brand recognition and have recognizable messages. The students want to hear a politician who preaches environmentalism but won’t denounce capitalism’s role in climate change,” said Kristie Boss, director of Media Within McGall.
Emphasizing the ‘middle-of-the-road’ flavour of politicism that McGall students best empathize with, Boss added further suggestions. “Maybe a speaker who wishes for peace in Ukraine but was involved in an administration which used drones in an illegal secret war?”
Media Within McGall, the organizers of the MPFRTP speaker series, has run into difficult booking guests since McGall is no longer the Most Prestigious University in Canada©.
“We are going to need to settle for the second-best mainstream political figures. I mean it’s still cool that Al Gore was almost president,” said Boss. “The second-best speaker is good enough for the second-best school in Canada!”
The speaker series begins fall next year with 2008 presidential hopeful and former U.S. congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Response to the initial line-up has been largely positive. “Wow Dennis Kucinich! I saw him on the news five years ago! I am gonna tell everyone in my Poli Sigh conference about this,” said Moblin.