“For me the graphic novel format was always what I wanted,” she said in a recent interview at her publisher’s offices.
“I think it’s accessible, it can be fun, and I love graphic novels myself.”
The book is based on Plante’s own sketches and anecdotes she began jotting down in 2013, during her first run for a seat on city council. Four years later, she became the first woman elected mayor of Montreal after her surprise defeat of experienced incumbent Denis Coderre.
While the writing and drawings were initially a form of self-care to help her “stay balanced,” she said she eventually came to see that her story might inspire others, especially young girls.
“I wanted to show, and maybe tell, people it’s OK not to have all the keys and codes to do something you think would be a good thing to do or you believe in,” she said.
“Just go for it.”
She began working with Cote-Lacroix on evenings and weekends, taking about two years to finalize the story and illustrations.
Plante said that, much like her character in the book, she had been looking for a new challenge before her entry into politics. Then she received a phone call from left-wing municipal party Projet Montreal, which was looking to diversify its slate of candidates.
In the book, Plante doesn’t shy away from the challenges faced by women who put themselves in the public eye. At one point, one of her character’s posters is defaced by sexist graffiti. In another, her character’s husband gets effusive praise for helping to care for the couple’s children — something the book points out is a given for female political spouses.
While the book “won’t change sexism,” Plante said she hopes it will help highlight the double standards women face.
Three years into her mandate, Plante has had a bumpy year, marked by a global pandemic that has devastated the city’s economy and criticism over her administration’s failure to implement its big visions for affordable housing and transportation. She has also faced anger over what some have described as an anti-car agenda, which includes building bike lanes, eliminating parking spots and temporarily closing some streets to vehicle traffic to create “sanitary corridors.”
At times, that criticism has escalated to the level of death threats.
While some criticism is to be expected, Plante attributes much of the public anger directed her way to the anxiety wrought by the pandemic.
“Not to minimize their actions of being very aggressive, violent or doing death threats, but I like to hope in the future, when people are less stressed and in a better position, things will calm down,” she said.
She also faced criticism earlier this year over her novel itself, with some high-profile commentators questioning her decision to “draw cartoons” as the city was embroiled in the COVID-19 crisis.
Plante dismissed this as unfounded, especially since she says the writing process wrapped up in late 2019.
“People were just kind of trashing the book (without) even reading it, which I thought was sad, because it wasn’t about the content, it was about criticizing the author,” she said. However, she did push back the book’s publication for a few months when the pandemic’s second wave began.
Plante said she would still recommend politics to young people who want to make a difference, even as she acknowledges it’s a “tough” career that comes with unusual levels of public exposure.
“But hopefully people see in the book, the love that you get from your volunteers, it’s a community, it’s people working together,” she said.
“It’s worth it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.
Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Politics crash Couche-Tard's US$20B shopping trip to Paris – BNN
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. founder Alain Bouchard hoped to salvage a US$20 billion offer for Carrefour SA when he arrived at the French Finance Ministry, whose headquarters juts out over the Seine like a beached aircraft carrier in eastern Paris.
After being kept waiting for a brief audience with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Bouchard got the message: The proposed deal was dead on arrival, torpedoed by French political opposition.
The meeting Friday capped a tumultuous week for Couche-Tard and Carrefour. Bouchard, a self-made billionaire who had transformed an obscure Canadian gas-station operator into an empire of 14,200 retail sites through acquisitions, wanted to take the next step. Buying the French grocer would have turned Couche-Tard into a global retail giant, alongside the likes of Walmart Inc.
However, the overture ended only four days after it came to light, and the companies said they’ll seek a looser alliance instead, sending Carrefour shares as much as 7.6 per cent lower on Monday. Couche-Tard shares rose as much as 5.3 per cent in Toronto.
Ceding one of France’s biggest supermarket owners to foreign ownership was impossible at a time when COVID-19 lockdowns underlined the strategic importance of the country’s food supply, Le Maire said.
A Couche-Tard convenience store in Montreal, Canada. Buying the French grocer Carrefour would have turned Couche-Tard into a global retail giant.
Couche-Tard is not the first foreign acquirer to be stymied by French concerns about economic sovereignty, but it underestimated flag-waving reflexes that have sharpened amid COVID-19. With regional elections looming later this year and a presidential vote set for 2022, allowing the country’s biggest private employer to fall into foreign hands could have given nationalist leader Marine Le Pen and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon a new cause celebre to attack centrist President Emmanuel Macron.
“It wasn’t the moment to do a deal like that,” said Fabienne Caron, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. “The government had much more to lose than to win. The real reason is politics.”
The companies compounded their miscalculation by blindsiding Le Maire and Macron. The finance minister found out about the talks late Tuesday via a text message from Carrefour Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Bompard, according to a Finance Ministry official who asked not to be named, citing government rules. It came around the time a Bloomberg News report revealed the talks that evening.
This article is based on interviews with people familiar with the discussions and the government’s position, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Representatives for Carrefour and Couche-Tard declined to comment.
Talks between the two companies began in the autumn, after Couche-Tard failed in an effort to buy Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway gas station network. Previous acquisitions had built up Couche-Tard from a single store in a Montreal suburb into an operator of convenience outlets spanning from Texas to Hong Kong.
Carrefour, best-known for giant, out-of-town stores that sell everything from baguettes to T-shirts to grass seed, has been challenged by the rise of online shopping and the growth of discounters Lidl and Aldi. Under Bompard, it has scaled back its hypermarkets while investing in convenience stores, e-commerce and organic food, but the shares had fallen by more than one-third over his 3 1/2-year tenure before Tuesday’s news broke.
Later that evening after the leak, both companies confirmed the discussions, emphasizing that the negotiations were friendly. The next day, Carrefour’s stock surged, with Couche-Tard confirming it was weighing a price of 20 euros per share.
In government quarters, however, opposition was welling up. On Wednesday afternoon, Le Maire spoke with Bompard as well as key Carrefour investors such as LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, who holds a 5.5 per cent stake. Late in the day, the finance minister went on television to say he opposed the deal.
A representative for Arnault did not respond to a request for comment.
Carrefour’s advisers and some analysts saw an element of posturing in Le Maire’s hard line, figuring the finance minister would eventually yield. They had reason to believe that this deal might be seen differently from a 2005 approach by PepsiCo Inc. to French yogurt maker Danone SA, which was blocked on grounds of sovereignty.
After all, Macron is a former Rothschild banker who entered office four years ago with a vow to shake up a French economy held back by state interventionism. Couche-Tard hails from Quebec, which shares close linguistic, cultural and business ties. And Carrefour could use a deep-pocketed partner to finance its incomplete turnaround.
In 2019, France led European countries in a ranking of foreign investment projects by accounting firm EY. Its companies have also stepped up overseas expansion, with LVMH recently completing its US$16 billion purchase of Tiffany & Co. Some French champions have stumbled of late, however — notably drugmaker Sanofi, whose Covid vaccine project faces a months-long delay after a dosing problem during tests.
Couche-Tard was ready to respond to French concerns with commitments to pump 3 billion euros (US$3.6 billion) into Carrefour while guaranteeing jobs and pledging to maintain the retailer’s headquarters in France, as well as listing the combined companies’ shares in both countries.
Le Maire appeared to open the door slightly at a conference Thursday when he described Carrefour being acquired by a foreign entity as a “major difficulty.” By Friday morning, he attempted to clear up any ambiguity, declaring in a morning TV appearance that his position on the Couche-Tard approach was a “clear and definitive no.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, the strident French reaction left little room or time for behind-the-scenes lobbying. The effort was led by Quebec, which deepened its economic ties with France last year, when Bombardier Inc. agreed to sell its rail unit to Alstom SA. The province also owns 25 per cent of the A220, the former Bombardier jet project now controlled by Airbus SE, headquartered in Toulouse, France. That’s a relationship the French-speaking province expected to go both ways.
Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon first reached out for information to Roland Lescure, a former top official at Quebec’s pension fund who, in his current job as head of the French National Assembly’s economic affairs committee, has regular contacts with Macron’s and Le Maire’s teams. Fitzgibbon also spoke to Bouchard on Thursday evening before the Couche-Tard chairman flew to France, and was about to go on a call with Le Maire when he briefed journalists on Friday morning, Canadian time.
The economy minister said he understood concerns about food security, a recurring topic at home, too. In speaking with Le Maire, he intended to promote Couche-Tard’s track record, and to tout the links between France and Quebec, he said. He struck a hopeful tone.
“The dust has to settle a bit,” Fitzgibbon said. “Nothing’s going to get decided in the next 24 hours.”
He was proven wrong a few hours later.
Bouchard’s visit to the French Finance Ministry was the second of the day by Couche-Tard officials, some of whom had spent part of the week in Paris. Earlier Friday, CEO Brian Hannasch met with Le Maire’s chief of staff, Bertrand Dumont.
Between both meetings, the Canadians huddled with their bankers and advisers at Rothschild & Co.’s headquarters on Paris’s elegant Avenue de Messine. Bouchard and Bompard strategized that day, working on the best arguments to win over the government, a person familiar with the men’s day said.
Their efforts were fruitless, as the finance minister made it clear in the hastily arranged meeting that his opposition was unconditional.
With any hope for a deal dashed, Couche-Tard and Carrefour say they’re focusing on the proposed alliance. The companies will consider how to work together on fuel purchases, branding and distribution where their networks overlap.
The Canadians had to return home empty-handed, but things could change after the dust settles on the 2022 election campaign, said Clement Genelot, an analyst at Bryan, Garnier & Co.
“Ongoing discussions surrounding operational collaboration leave the door open to restart merger talks in the future,” he said.
–With assistance from Manuel Baigorri.
Capitol riots: Bumble dating app unblocks politics filter – BBC News
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.css-14iz86j-BoldTextfont-weight:bold;The dating app Bumble has reinstated its political preferences filter after disabling it “to prevent misuse” in the wake of the US Capitol riots.
Following the violence, reports emerged online of some Bumble users switching the filter to find those who had taken part – and report them to authorities.
Bumble said it had noticed people using the filter in a way that was “contrary to our terms and conditions”.
But it faced a backlash online from users unhappy with its decision.
The feature enables people to display their chosen political views – such as conservative or liberal – and filter their matches accordingly.
Some app users claimed on social media that they had deliberately changed their political preferences in order to attract rioters and then report them.
Some accused the company of “protecting” those who had carried out violent acts by disabling the filter.
Others said they needed the filter to make sure their matches shared their political outlook – and many tweeted to the company to say they were cancelling their accounts as a result.
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We’ve temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse. However, please rest assured that we prohibit any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred, and we’ve already removed any users that have been confirmed as participants in the attack of the US Capitol.
— bumble (@BumbleSupport) January 14, 2021
Bumble said it had restored the function within 24 hours of suspending it.
In a statement it also said it was blocking people who had been using the platform to “spread insurrectionist content”.
Match Group, whose brands include Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid and Plenty of Fish, told the Washington Post it had banned “any users wanted by the FBI in connection with domestic terrorism” from all of its platforms.
Politics of Hate – Motives for Murder & Desecration of US Capitol – PRNewswire
DALLAS, Jan. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Justice Facts Podcast released the “Politics of Hate” episode featuring a redeemed militia leader who came close to carrying out one of the nation’s deadliest attacks by right-wing extremists.
The podcast is both shocking and informative about the potential for violence in the wake of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, a world symbol of Democracy.
Former federal prosecutor William Johnston and Peabody award-winning investigative reporter Robert Riggs interview Kerry Noble, one of the founders of the Covenant, Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). Noble is the author of Tabernacle of Hate: Seduction into Right-Wing Extremism, which provides a first-person account of how a religious group transformed into a domestic terrorist organization.
Noble warns that the same delusional mindset is at work among both right and left wing extremists threatening more violence before and after the presidential inauguration. “I think there are tens of thousands of people who are close to crossing the line Especially, disaffected young single white men who are dissatisfied with their lives and are seeking someone else to blame,” said Noble.
The CSA was a combination paramilitary white supremacist group and a religious cult that engaged in an April 1985 standoff with hundreds of state and federal agents at its Ozark mountain compound in northwest Arkansas.
Riggs and Johnston express concern that January 6th may become the new rallying cry for extremists. April 19, 1993, marked the fiery end to the 51-day Branch Davidian siege in Waco, and extremists retaliated on April 19th, 1995, with the deadly bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Riggs covered the siege, bombing, and militia movement. Johnston prosecuted surviving Davidians for the murder of federal ATF agents and prepared the original search warrant for the weapons raid.
Noble, now a Christian minister, says extremists may be motivated to believe they can make their name in history as the founding father of the Second American Revolution.
If you are trying to come to grips with why seemingly ordinary citizens choose to follow a path to violence at the U.S. Capitol, Johnston and Riggs offer insight in “The Politics of Hate” Episode 11 of the Justice Facts Podcast. Click here to SUBSCRIBE.
Justice Facts Podcast
SOURCE Justice Facts Podcast
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