Thought I'd let you know that the guy billed as "the greatest speaker on the circuit today" graced my fair city yesterday with his presence. Interesting...the FIRST PLACE EVER where he has spoken to a partially-full venue. Some 600 seats weren't sold! And who says Winnipeggers aren't classy? Although, there remains the issue of the dolts that paid $1100 to sit with him at a restaurant... probably not from Winnipeg.
Sorry...couldn't find the Orthodox angle on this one. Forgive me in advance.
From CTV.cahttp://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1071055638043_122/?hub=CanadaClinton slams Iraq war in Winnipeg address
WINNIPEG — Saying he disagrees with many current American policies, former U.S. president Bill Clinton warned there will be more wars and unrest unless richer nations provide more help to poorer ones.
"This stuff is not rocket science but every time you do it, you make a world with more partners and fewer terrorists," Clinton told some 1,600 people who paid up to $250 to hear him speak at the Centennial Concert Hall.
"If half the people live on less than $2 a day and millions of people are dying of preventable diseases and 120 million kids never go to school ... you can hardly expect sweetness and light to prevail in every trouble spot on Earth."
Providing poorer countries with more economic help, AIDS drugs and other benefits will encourage peace, Clinton said.
He drew applause from the crowd as he made his feelings clear on President George W. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.
"I thought it was the right thing to go to the UN and the wrong thing for us to start the conflict before (UN lead weapons inspector) Hans Blix had finished his job," said Clinton.
"The president said he would let the UN process play out. What happened was Mr. Blix was begging for four to six more weeks and America didn't give it to him."
Clinton told the crowd he hoped the UN will now take over much of the responsibility for security and humanitarian efforts in Iraq.
He said richer countries would not only encourage peace by sharing their wealth, they would also save money.
"It is much cheaper to share the benefits of the future than it is to clean up the mess once it occurs."
Despite the fact that a few hundred of the 2,200 auditorium seats were empty, it was still one of the largest crowds in Canada that Clinton has spoken to.
The ticket price -- ranging from $125 to $250 -- may have kept some people away.
"Some of my students actually were interested in seeing him, but they found out the cost and said, well, that's just out of their league," teacher Keira Christenson told Global News earlier in the day.
Marvin Meltzer, who organized the event, also pointed to the frugality of city residents.
"Winnipeggers traditionally haven't been prepared to pay (these) prices for events of this type. Maybe if we can do it once or twice, people will get used to it."
In previous visits to Canada, Clinton has usually spoken to sold-out but smaller venues. A 2002 fundraiser for a Toronto Jewish women's charity sold 350 tickets at $1,000 a plate. A 2001 dinner gala in Calgary saw 1,300 tickets sold at up to $375.
Before his Winnipeg speech, Clinton attended a private dinner where 34 people paid $1,100 each to dine with him at a downtown restaurant. Another 100 paid $275 each to have dessert and a photo taken with him.