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On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with U.S. Vice President (and former Montrealer) Kamala Harris. They discussed, among other more important topics, the vice president's time growing up in the Quebec metropolis.
Harris "recalled fondly her years spent in Montréal," according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister.
I used to joke that I felt like a duck because all day long at our new school I'd be saying 'Quoi? Quoi? Quoi?'
Kamala Harris in her 2019 memoir
The two leaders also spoke about the pandemic, trade, diversity and inclusion, "the importance of mental health, as well as the need to address online hate, firearm trafficking, and gender-based violence," the statement readers.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who faced backlash after wishing Biden and Harris good luck before the election, posted photos of first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Harris, saying "a page of history [has] turned."
She commented again the next day about how heartening it was to see three past presidents "of different political stripes wish the new president good luck," adding, "Finally decency and gentleness!"
Je ne sais pas pour vous mais moi je trouve ça incroyablement fort et touchant de voir trois présidents de différen… https://t.co/dSFWzkes4W
QLP leader Dominique Anglade, Quebec's first Black female party leader, acknowledged the "long way and many battles" leading up to Harris becoming the first woman of colour vice president, which she called a "historic day."
As of 12:00 p.m. on January 20, 2021, the United States officially has a new president and vice president. Kamala Harris takes office as the first female, Black and Asian-American vice president in American history.
For Montrealers, Harris' ascension comes with another cause for celebration.
I’m here today because of the women who came before me.
Kamala Harris on Instagram
The former California senator and attorney general spent many of her formative years in the city, attending Westmount High School while her mother, Dr. Shyamala Harris, worked at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University.
On Wednesday, Westmount High School shared a video message from students and teachers congratulating the barrier-breaking alumna.
The new vice president made clear in her memoir, however, that she had mixed feelings about living in Quebec's metropolis.
"Moving away from sunny California [...] to a French-speaking foreign city covered in twelve feet of snow was distressing, to say the least," she wrote.
She also struggled with French.
"I used to joke that I felt like a duck because all day long at our new school I'd be saying 'Quoi? Quoi? Quoi?'"
She said she eventually "adjusted" to Quebec, but returned to the United States after high school to attend Howard University.
But as Harris steps into the second-highest office in the country, Montrealers can at least be proud that she takes her experience in the city with her.
To see you, a woman, in your position of power — and a woman of colour at that — is truly inspiring.
Westmount High School Student
"Someone from my high school actually made it into the White House," one student says in the video. "It's a great feeling."
"I'm so proud to have this role model be our alumni — that our students can look back at this moment and know that they will read about her in their history books," added Westmount High guidance counsellor Karen Allen added.
The video concludes with messages of "congratulations" from students and faculty.
In her memoir, the soon-to-be vice president makes clear she had mixed feelings about living in Quebec.
"Moving away from sunny California [...] to a French-speaking foreign city covered in twelve feet of snow was distressing, to say the least," she wrote, also admitting that she always yearned to return to the United States.
But Montrealers and the Westmount High community, in particular, can at the very least know that the city and school played some part in shaping the new vice president.