MTL Blog reached out to Jonathan Mireault, the person behind the billboards and street ads, to learn more about how and why the posters came to be and what we can learn from the GameStop situation.
Answers have been edited for clarity and conciseness.
What can people learn from what happened with GameStop?
I think the GameStop situation can teach us a few lessons. It boils down to this: We, the 99%, do have the power to make changes and have an impact even when big players are involved. But it's also clear that the 99% aren't playing the game with the same set of rules as the 1%.
For example, the SEC is reportedly probing whether social media posts on Reddit boosted GameStop to try to find evidence of "fraud." How is it fraud for millions of people to buy stocks?
Sure, it's probably market manipulation to some extent to be online commenting to buy the stock and say to hold it. But how is it different from the "think tanks” on Wall Street that do it or some analyst going on CNBC to offer a stock suggestion or an activist going on a media tour to denigrate a company or to promote it?
Either ban all of it or investigate Wall Street, as well.
It's not like we're coordinating like most big players on Wall Street that have the funds to move the market. It's not insider trading, it's outsider trading. Why is the SEC interested in looking up what we wrote publicly?
Only one person went to prison for the 2008 financial crisis… but now the fed wants to look at our memes and due diligence post online? It's not hard to see that the rules apply differently depending on which class you belong to.
Why are you anti-Wall Street?
I'm not anti-Wall Street. I'm not anti-government. I just tend to root for the underdog.
So many people were and are left behind in this economy.
A lot of people don't have the savings to be able to risk money in the stock market, and the ones that do get very poor returns on their investment by trusting their bank to invest their money for them in their mutual funds by giving them a measly 3% return per year.
And that's before the bank takes their 1.5% fee on the total of your investment, so the common folk ends up barely beating inflation while the banks keep getting richer.
Where did the different ads go? Were they all in Montreal? Why is it important for them to be shown in a city like this?
I decided to only invest in billboards on the island of Montreal. Since public transport is more widely available downtown, it was better for the exposure.
I was inspired by other Redditors who purchased billboards across the U.S. I wanted to do my part here in Montreal since this is where I live.
Even though this isn't Bay Street, which is the equivalent of Wall Street but in [Toronto], Montreal is populated by all the big financial institutions and all the big banks. I thought it was important to show that we are present everywhere.
The internet is bringing us together, no matter where we live. So this was my way to show support to the ones that actually believe in change.
Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Women will lead five of Quebec's eight largest cities following the 2021 municipal elections.
The biggest headline of the night may have been Valérie Plante's triumph over old foe Denis Coderre in Montreal, but across the province, the faces of municipal politics have become more gender-balanced.
According to the latest counts and projections, France Bélisle (Gatineau), Catherine Fournier (Longueuil), Évelyne Beaudin (Sherbrooke) and Julie Dufour (Saguenay) are all also on their way to their respective (and figurative) city hall corner offices.
In Quebec City, it seemed for a while like Marie-Josée Savard would join them. Multiple outlets had even called the election for her until the vote count for her opponent surged into the evening. Bruno Marchand ultimately claimed victory.
Mayor Plante commented on the historic nature of her second mandate in her victory speech Sunday night.
"Four years ago, Montrealers elected the first woman mayor in the history of the City of Montreal," she said.
"Tonight, they told us again, 'yes, this mayor, we're going to continue to work with her, we trust her!'"
This year, for the first time, Montrealers will have two women leading the city, as Projet Montréal's Dominique Ollivier is set to take over as president of the Executive Committee.
The government is in the process of filling a Service Canada job bank and it's advertising salaries of between $61,152 and $65,887.
On an online recruitment page, the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) office says it needs to fill 45 benefits officer and program officer positions in Quebec and encourages qualified individuals to apply.
The only education requirement is a high school diploma.
While benefits officers review and process employment insurance applications, the government describes a wide range of duties for program officers, including coordination with local stakeholders regarding services from the ESDC.
Service Canada says it has EI processing centres and "program branches" in Montreal, Laval, Boucherville, Drummondville, Thetford Mines, Shawinigan, Quebec City and Saguenay, but that it may assign alternative workplaces to applicants who don't live in these areas.
In addition to a high school diploma, Service Canada is looking for applicants who have experience totalling six months "in delivering services or programs to the general public" or "interpreting and applying legislation or policies."
The language requirement is either French-only or French and English, depending on the position, according to the recruitment page.
Complete details about the positions available and the application process are online.
To the surprise of many, Quebec City also made the Top 10 — and it ranked higher than Montreal, with Quebec City at #4 and Montreal at #6.
This ranking looked at the cost of living, internet speeds, the percentage of young people, levels of safety, and more.
Our province may have been blessed enough to score two top spots in this ranking, but we still didn't make it to #1, which was Tokyo, Japan.
If ever you were thinking of going to study abroad, you may want to put Tokyo high on your list, considering it "ranks well in nearly all categories helping it to come out on top of the study. It has a good amount of high-ranking unis, great food options, and offers cheap tech. It has high levels of free speech and is above average for safety and high-ranking institutions."