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” The former city councillor and long-serving, centrist politician didn’t bother apologizing. For decades, the friendly Prairie city has been known for its smiling, lefty premiers, pacifist, Mennonite writers and a love affair with the Jets.
Licence plates here bear the tag “Friendly Manitoba.” But events of last fall served to expose a darker reality.
And it is quickly becoming known for the subhuman treatment of its First Nations citizens, who suffer daily indignities and appalling violence.
Winnipeg is arguably becoming Canada’s most racist city.
They came after Nunavummiuq musician Tanya Tagaq, last year’s Polaris Music Prize winner, who complained that while out to lunch in downtown Winnipeg where she was performing with the city’s ballet this fall, “a man started following me calling me a ‘sexy little Indian’ and asking to f–k.” They came the very week an inquest issued its findings in the death of Brian Sinclair, an indigenous 45-year-old who died from an entirely treatable infection after being ignored for 34 hours in a city ER.
“They have contributed NOTHING to the development of Canada. Get to work, tear the treaties and shut the FK up already. ” Another day in Winnipeg, another hateful screed against the city’s growing indigenous population.
This one from a teacher (now on unpaid leave) at Kelvin High School, long considered among the city’s progressive schools—alma mater to just about every Winipegger of note, from Marshall Mc Luhan to Izzy Asper, Fred Penner and Neil Young.
Little is known about what happened to her in the weeks after that. She was failed repeatedly by agencies meant to protect her. 8, police came across Tina in a roadside stop: she was in a vehicle with a male driver who was allegedly intoxicated. Officers let Tina go, even though she was listed as a high-risk missing person.
A few hours later she was rushed to Children’s Hospital after being found passed out in a core-area back alley. When she woke, Child and Family Services placed Tina in a downtown hotel where she was allowed to walk away.
Meaningful change will not come easily, but all this holds the promise, however faint, of a more hopeful future for the city.