When Kamala Harris was 12 years old, she moved to Canada with her mother and younger sister and lived there for six years.
Harris, 56, is now the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate, alongside presidential candidate Joe Biden.
But the fact that she spent her formative teen years living in the wealthy English-speaking suburb of Westmount in Montreal, Quebec, is something the California senator is strangely reluctant to talk about.
Harris barely mentions her Canadian experience in The Truth We Hold: An American Journey, her 336-page memoir published in January 2019 as she was launching her ill-fated campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Indeed, Canadian writer Allen Abel related in a Macleans article that while on the campaign trail, Harris deflected a question on the turbulent Quebec politics and rise of the separatist Parti Québécois that coincided with her time in Canada.
Her Canadian adolescence is “another blank page in the candidate’s life,” Abel wrote.
Is Harris reticent on this part of her history because her real life, quite simply, does not match the image she is cultivating for her political advantage?
The question is critically important at a time when, in the words of Winston Churchill, “the terrible ‘Ifs’ accumulate.”
If the almost 78-year-old Biden wins the U.S. general election on November 3, given his age, frailty, and evident cognitive decline, he may not be capable of even being inaugurated on January 20, 2021, let alone serving out one four-year term.
If that happens, then Harris — whose campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination collapsed abjectly because of bad decisions, lack of leadership, and internal bickering, for which, many say, Harris was directly to blame — will become president of the United States.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964, and while she evidently wants to be seen as African-American, with an upbringing and experience to match, her childhood and adolescence were marked by educational and material advantages — arguably not the norm for an African-American child in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s….
Kamala Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in Chennai (Madras), in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Gopalan’s father was a high-ranking government official in India and part of the elite Brahmin caste. Of his four children, two earned Ph.D’s at American universities and had academic careers, another worked as a scientist for the government of Ontario, Canada, and the fourth became an obstetrician-gynaecologist.
In 1958, at age 19, Gopalan left India to pursue graduate studies in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. Four years later, she met fellow graduate student Donald Harris, a graduate of University College of the West Indies–University of London, who had just arrived from Jamaica.
They married in 1963. A year later, their daughter Kamala was born, and Gopalan earned a Ph.D in nutrition and endocrinology. Harris completed his Ph.D in economics in 1966.
When Kamala Harris was about two years old, the family moved to the Midwest. Her father taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her mother conducted research. Her sister, Maya, was born there. Over the next few years, their posts included Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In 1972, Kamala’s father joined the economics department at Stanford University. Donald Harris, described in the Stanford Daily in 1976 as a “Marxist scholar,” taught there until he retired in 1998.
Meanwhile, the marriage did not last. Gopalan filed for divorce in 1971, and gained custody of her daughters in 1973. They lived in southwest Berkeley, and as an elementary student, Kamala Harris was a part of the second class of the busing program at Berkeley Public Schools.
Harris made much of this during the Democratic presidential nominee debate in July, when in a heated exchange, she rebuked Biden for opposing busing, a highly controversial attempt to racially integrate schools that began in the late 1960s.
However, when Harris was 12, she decamped to Canada with her mother and sister where they settled in an affluent suburb of Montreal, Quebec.
Gopalan, who died of colon cancer in 2009, spent 16 years as a breast cancer researcher at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and a teacher at McGill University Faculty of Medicine.
Gopalan, Kamala, and Maya were also world travelers, frequently visiting India, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Kamala Harris graduated from Montreal’s Westmount High School in 1981, and returned to the United States at age 18.
However, rather than attend a prestigious university, as might have been expected of a daughter of prominent academics, Harris enrolled in Howard University, a private, historically black university in Washington, D.C.
It was “the hub of the city’s Black elite, a speaking stop for dignitaries and a social hub for Washington’s Black political class,” according to The New York Times.
Harris earned a B.A. from Howard and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, a second-tier law school.
From 1990 onward, she steadily advanced in her career as prosecutor in California, first as assistant district attorney in Alameda County, then as a recruit to the district attorney’s office in San Francisco.
In 2004, she was elected San Francisco’s district attorney, and was re-elected in 2008. In 2010, she was elected California’s attorney general, and was re-elected in 2014. In 2016, she ran for the U.S. Senate and won.
As demonstrated in her choice of college, Harris has been clear about her preferred racial identity throughout her career.
“I was born black and I will die black,” she said in a radio interview at the beginning of her campaign for the Democratic nomination.
However, while she is clearly of the elite Brahmin class on her mother’s side, her heritage on her father’s side is more complicated, and became politically problematic when Donald Harris stated in a 2018 autobiography that his family tree includes Irish-born sugar planter and slave owner Hamilton Brown.
“My roots go back, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as a plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town),” he wrote….
While liberal-leaning media such as Reuters, Snopes and Politifact pointed out that this claim has not been verified, Trevor Burnard, the Wilberforce Professor of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull in England, told Politifact that if Donald Harris said it, “I would be inclined to believe him.”
Meanwhile, a number of Indian-Americans told India Today they were unhappy with Kamala Harris’s politics and her reluctance to identify with her mother’s race.
“She has always claimed to be of African descent rather than Indian and her record as an attorney in California is highly questionable. She has in fact promoted corruption in California,” said Aditya Satsangi, founder of Americans4Hindus, a super PAC representing the interests of Hindus….
In 2016, while accepting Planned Parenthood’s donations for her Senate run, Harris ordered the raid of undercover journalist David Daleiden’s apartment after his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in aborted baby body parts, in violation of multiple federal laws.
Numerous pro-life organizations called on Harris to resign over the apparent conflict of interest, and Daleiden’s attorneys cited leaked emails that showed Harris’s office coordinating with Planned Parenthood to draft legislation to criminalize undercover investigations like CMP’s….
The above comes from an Oct. 30 story on LifeSiteNews.
Mary Rose, who writes for California Catholic Daily, contributed to the report.