(Winnipeg) Winnipeg cartoonist says he is honored to play a small role in historic moment after his comic book about US Vice President Kamala Harris was included in Canadian celebrations for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Kamala in Canada by Kaj Hasselriis was among the gifts given to those who attended a virtual event at the US Embassy in Ottawa.
The comic follows Mme Harris as a teenager while residing in Montreal.
Mr Hasselriis said he was inspired when he heard how a young Kamala Harris organized a protest after her landlord banned children in her apartment building from playing soccer in the yard.
He pointed out that many children may have given up on the game, but Kamala Harris has chosen to act.
Mr Hasselriis hopes the book shows children that they can make a difference and that it will inspire some to get involved in politics.
“It helps them to know that politicians were once children themselves,” he said. “And if you’re a kid, that means you might one day be a leader. ”
Mr. Hasselriis decided to create the comic when Mr. Biden named Mme Harris as his running mate. It was released just before the debate between the vice presidential candidates in October.
Kamala Harris lived in Montreal for five years, from the age of 12 until she graduated from Westmount High School in 1981.
Mr. Hasselriis said his book also examines the climate around the Quebec referendum in 1980 and how this may have affected the new vice-president’s view of politics.
“It’s impossible that Kamala Harris could have lived as a teenager in Montreal without having this huge political issue hanging over her head,” he said.
Mr. Hasselriis has already produced a comic strip entitled Politikids which tells childhood stories about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and former Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
In the months leading up to the 2019 federal election, he was able to give a copy to each of the politicians during their stopovers in Winnipeg.
Mr. Hasselriis said he did not know whether Mr.me Harris had read his comic Kamala in Canada. He had sent a copy to his Senate office after it was published.
Copies of the book were also purchased by the US Consulate in Montreal.
Mr Hasselriis said he hoped the comic would one day be in the hands of the vice president. But for now, he’s happy to know that this has been included in the inauguration celebrations at the U.S. Embassy in Canada.
“What this means is that they are celebrating the election of the first woman vice president, the first woman of color, the first black woman,” Hasslriis said.
“This is a historic moment. It is a major event. ”