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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Palin charms guests at Canada fundraiser

HAMILTON –In her trademark folksy, rambling style, Sarah Palin talked hockey, God, pregnancy, war, the economy and how she loved her neighbour to the north.

Or “right next door,” when she’s in Alaska.

“We share so much with that wildlife and those resources,” she told the sold-out charity event with 900 guests.

“Our accents too! Do you know how many people asked me if I’m Canadian . . . I feel right at home with you all. We share a lot in that accent.”

Palin stayed away from politics in her speech Thursday night, focusing more on personal stories about her son with Down Syndrome and her daughter’s pregnancy.

She also encouraged Canada to “ramp up development” in the energy sector and said “what a hoot” she was having appearing before rallies of the conservative Tea Party movement in the U.S.

A lone protestor outside the event with a tambourine and a sign that said “Honk 4 Our Health Care,” was the only spoiler during the festive atmosphere that greeted Palin Thursday.

The former Alaskan governor was given celebrity treatment at the charity dinner where some VIP guests had paid $1000 to get their pictures taken with Palin and a signed copy of her book, Going Rogue.

Among the well-heeled guests was former Ontario Premier Mike Harris, who said he came to support a charitable cause.

“Obviously I think I’m like everybody else, curious to hear Sarah. She has come from relative obscurity to certainly a media star in the United States,” Harris said.

When asked what he thought of her reported income of $12 million for speaking engagements, television contracts and royalties from her best-selling book, Harris said, “She has clearly done better at post-politics than I have.”

Loren Hawley was not among the VIP guests but came from Lindsay, Ontario, and paid $200 for a chance to hear Palin’s speech.

“I loved Sarah Palin from the first time I saw her on TV at the national convention. She thinks like I think – less government, less tax, more freedom,” he said, arriving three hours before the event to get a glimpse of Palin entering the banquet hall.

“It’s hard to describe my admiration for her but I put her really high up there.”

Not everyone was awestruck by the politician who appealed to Americans as the small-town hockey mom but has become a one-woman media empire since her failed bid for vice presidency.

“I have mixed emotions about what to think but I’d like to come and see what she has to say,” said Hamilton resident Janis Abbott, who had been given the tickets by her business partner.

“We’ll see if it changes my opinion.” (Continues here)

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