On November 3, the night of the 2020 U.S. election, the mayor tweeted "Good luck @JoeBiden. @KamalaHarris, your high school city is rooting for you!" as Harris spent some of her formative years in Montreal, attending Westmount High School.
Yesterday evening, Plante took to showing her support for the projected new U.S. vice-president by turning a photo of herself into a "My face when..." meme.
With the photo of Plante looking pleased above, she included the caption "My face when a journalist asks me if I'm happy about the election of the first woman American vice-president @kamalaharris."
In Kamala Harris's memorable speech on November 7, she promised: "I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last."
Other Canadian figures, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault, have publically congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning the U.S. election, as is currently projected.
Trudeau, in the same vein as Plante, also recognized that Harris is set to be the first female vice-president.
"For so many people in Canada and around the world, seeing a woman — and a Black and South Asian-American woman — elected as the next vice-president of the United States is an inspiration," said Trudeau.
In the latest turn of events in the mounting national opposition to Quebec's controversial Bill 21, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that Toronto's city council will vote on a motion to help fund legal battles against the law, which bans many public servants from wearing religious symbols while performing their duties.
Tory also voiced his personal opposition to Bill 21 in a statement published on Twitter. "I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21," the mayor wrote.
I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Toronto City Council has also repeatedly voiced its opposition to this bill. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21.pic.twitter.com/TyekKVJ2NX
This news follows a recent letter published by Brampton, Ontario mayor Patrick Brown in which he implores mayors across Canada to consider pooling their cities' financial resources to help "fight Bill 21 in the courts."
Mayor Tory said Thursday that he stands with Brown and "[encourages] other cities across Canada to join this fight to uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
In the past week, Quebec has been under fire for applying Bill 21 to remove elementary school teacher Fatemeh Anvari, who wears a hijab, from her position in the city of Chelsea. The incident prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak out against the law.
"I don't find that in a free and open society that someone should lose their job because of their religion," Trudeau said at a press conference on Monday.
Quebec Premier François Legault clapped back, insisting laws need to be enforced. He said the local school board made a mistake by hiring Anvari.
What will Legault have to say about this latest move by Tory?
"Ill-founded and abusive" is how superior court judge Michèle Monast described a Quebec woman's defamation lawsuit against Justin Trudeau. In a decision published on November 29, Monast shot down Diane Blain's case against the prime minister.
The lawsuit followed a 2018 incident at a Liberal party rally in Sainte-Anne-de-Sabrevois, Quebec, in which Blain asked Trudeau when he would "give back the 146 million [Quebec] paid" to support what she called Trudeau's "illegal immigrants."
In response, Trudeau told Blain that "this intolerance toward immigrants has no place in Canada, this intolerance toward diversity, you have no place here."
Throughout the event, Blain confronted him and asked several times if he was "tolerant of the Québécois de souche" — people who claim descent from French colonizers.
"Madame, your racism has no place here," Trudeau responded before RCMP officers intervened.
In her lawsuit, Blain sought a total of $90,000 in compensation from Trudeau for what a court document describes as "distress, stress, and inconvenience caused to her" as a result of the 2018 interaction, as well as a perceived "infringement of her freedom of expression and opinion and her right to be treated without discrimination," among other claims.
But Judge Monast wasn't having any of it.
In her decision to dismiss the lawsuit, Monast wrote that "Ms. Blain's assertion that Mr. Trudeau's comments about her were defamatory and that he damaged her reputation is not supported by any evidence."
She cited a testimony that she said "was replete with contradictions, exaggerations and implausibilities" and concluded that Blain's "lack of civility, the aggressive tone in which she asked her questions" and, among other things, "her hostile attitude" demonstrated "that she was trying to provoke him."
Monast called Trudeau's response to her first question "legitimate" and said "it was not unreasonable" for Trudeau to "consider, in such a context, that Ms. Blain's comments indicated some racism."
"She testified that she found it offensive and hurtful to be told that she was intolerant and racist toward immigrants because she does not consider herself to be an intolerant and racist person," Monast wrote.
"The statements she has made on various occasions, her social media posts, and the testimony she gave during her examination for discovery and at trial unfortunately indicate otherwise."
The judge concluded by accusing Blain of using the event to "gain notoriety and to promote her political ideas."
"It is not unreasonable to conclude, as suggested by Mr. Trudeau's counsel, that she initiated legal proceedings against Mr. Trudeau for the same reasons."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
"We live in a francophone province in a francophone city from a legislative perspective, but the reality of Montreal is far different," the leader of Mouvement Montréal said in an interview with MTL Blog.
"So, for us, it was important to re-establish the identity of Montreal, which is one that is inclusive."
"This is not a contested question," Holness said, citing a survey showing most Montrealers believe the city is bilingual. "We all know Montreal is bilingual and multicultural and it is something that we should embrace and recognize."
"Moreover, Montreal beyond that is even trilingual," he continued. "There are people from all over the world who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian. And all of these languages make up the diversity of Montreal, and it enriches us all."
Rather than contributing to the decline of French in Montreal, Holness said his language policies would help preserve it by offering non-francophones incentives to learn.
"The fact that we are going to incentivize and ameliorate the chances of anglophones to work in the City of Montreal means they'll be able to learn French through their employment activity," he said. "We're going to be increasing la francisation des anglophones."
"Right now, what's happening is that we're excluding anglophones," he continued. "They're moving to demerged cities such as Westmount, such as Côte Saint-Luc, such as Kirkland. They're not being incorporated into the reality and to the economic life of Montreal, and we're just pushing them all away."
Holness wants more jobs for people with spotty French
If elected, Mouvement Montréal would work to create a more inclusive municipal workforce because it's currently falling short in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity, he said.
Of the city's roughly 25,000 municipal employees, "only about 2% of those in management positions are visible minorities and even less of those are anglophone," Holness claimed.
To change that he plans to lower the French language requirements for municipal jobs.
"Right now, when you go in for a [municipal] job, there is an evaluation based on your capacity to speak French," he said.
"So, we want to create assessments and evaluations of language that are less severe to allow individuals to get into the workforce. And then they can learn French, once they are on the job, through their interactions with their coworkers and with the public."
"The idea is that anglophones, especially those that are visible minorities, should have an easier time getting into the workforce," he continued.
'They don't want to be inclusive'
On November 7 people will vote to elect a mayor as well as 46 members of Montreal's City Council.
The current mayor, Projet Montréal's Valérie Plante, is seeking re-election and her main challenger is the previous mayor, Ensemble Montréal's Denis Coderre.
As Plante recently introduced an "action plan" to promote the French language in Montreal and Coderre is reportedly open to provincial government-led language reform, Holness accused his opponents of trying to impose provincial ideas on the metropolis.
"Valérie Plante is from Rouyn-Noranda, Denis Coderre is from Joliette," he continued. "And there's this whole idea that the regions are imposing on Montreal their vision for Montreal. And the question is, what do Montrealers want for their city?"
"Many people across the region say Montreal is the only francophone city in North America, and they're right, but Montreal also has a bilingual multicultural reality," he said. "So you have Quebec City trying to impose an identity on Montreal does not meet reality, which is multilingual and multicultural."
"We need a multilingual and multicultural policy and beyond that, a political party that reflects that diversity through and through," he added.
Projet Montréal does not reflect that diversity, he concluded, explaining how he helped organize a grassroots anti-racism movement, which he says prompted the city's public consultation agency to hold a series of hearings on systemic discrimination in 2019.
As a result, Plante created a commissioner on systemic discrimination and promised to hire more minorities for municipal jobs. But Holness had sharp words for the mayor, saying she only took those steps out of "obligation."
"The reason why there was a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination is because the administration had an all-white French executive committee when they were elected in 2017. Period. That's their vision of Montreal," he said.
"They don't want to be inclusive," he said. "Mouvement Montréal, my political party, is by its very nature, authentically diverse. We've done in two months what it took them nearly two decades to do, which is have a diverse team."