4 hours ago
TORONTO (AFP) — Ticket sales for a "conversation" here Friday between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the 42nd and 43rd US presidents, were reportedly less than hoped for, but protesters are expected at the event en masse.
The two former leaders will share a stage for a 90-minute discussion about global and domestic challenges facing the United States and Canada, moderated by Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to Washington.
Hundreds of protesters, meanwhile, are expected outside the convention centre where the event will be held at 3:30 pm (1930 GMT). They will roll out a giant "not welcome" mat and throw shoes at a picture of Bush, according to protest organizers.
"Bush is kind of a lightning rod for a lot of things that are wrong, and so I think people want to express that," Nadine MacKinnon of the Coalition to Stop the War told public broadcaster CBC.
"We are not expecting to get Bush's attention by this," she explained. "We are expecting to engage the public."
"It's the people that will put the pressure on the government to affect any real change."
The daily Globe and Mail reported ticket sales for the event did not meet expectations of organizers Power Within, with as many as 500 of 6,000 tickets still unsold hours before show time.
In addition several people who bought tickets for 229 to 595 dollars (209 to 543 US dollars) were apparently trying to unload them online at a discount, said the newspaper.
After their on-stage talk, Clinton and Bush, both 62, are to field questions from the audience.
Clinton and Bush's father have joined efforts for philanthropic causes and global assistance initiatives, but this is believed to be Clinton and George W. Bush's first public appearance together since both left office.