But his Toronto trip was light on real-life exposure to the Canadian system’s challenges.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrived at the University of Toronto’s Simcoe Hall around 10:40 am on Sunday ahead of his sold-out speech on health care and progressive politics, the college students who had lined up outside in the 45-degree weather for standby tickets began to holler with joy. Sanders, grinning, stopped to shake hands and pose for selfies before going inside.
Bisma Ali, a 17-year-old University of Toronto student, had arrived at 5 a.m., ensuring that she and her classmates Tebat Kadhem, 20, and Catherine Stratton, 21, would have spots at the head of the line.
“Bernie Sanders represents hope for the younger generation,” said Kadhem, who ran unsuccessfully for a Toronto city council seat in February. “Even if we’re Canadian, we see an American politician that is standing up for human rights and standing up for the people that don’t have a voice, and we resonate with his message.”
Asked if, in an alternative universe, they would ever support Sanders for Canadian prime minister, the three women nodded eagerly.
“He should come join Canadian politics in the House of Commons! We’d love him there,” Ali said.