On Tuesday afternoon, I had the privilege to attend Barack Obama’s powerful speech with several of my colleagues on the Democrats Abroad Montréal leadership team. Together, we listened to our dearly-missed commander-in-chief offer his invaluable insights on a number of pressing challenges before the United States today, notably the uncertain future of American leadership on the global stage and the threat of climate change in the wake of President Trump’s withdrawal from the ground-breaking Paris Agreement.

Yet, true to form, Obama invigorated and inspired a sold-out crowd at Palais des congrès with his unceasing hope for humanity and conviction in his presidency’s long-term impact. “We came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change,” he reminded us. With a rapidly-expanding pledge signed by thousands of cities and organizations to uphold America's commitment to the Paris Agreement, we show the world that we will move forward on climate change with or without the current U.S. presidential administration.

We also cannot give in to reactionary forces of ignorance or self-serving “populists” that consciously manipulate fears surrounding globalization. Pragmatic voices like Obama rouse each of us to action as my colleague David Shelton acknowledged Wednesday in a radio interview with CBC. Our opposition party is at a watershed moment for American democracy; and WE have an unique opportunity to shape the political conversation!

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