Winnipeg mayor calls summit as city tries to shake ‘most racist’ label

Winnipeg’s mayor is calling a race relations summit for next month as the city tries to shake off being dubbed the most racist in Canada.

Winnipeg’s mayor is calling a race relations summit for next month as the city tries to shake off being dubbed the most racist in Canada.

Mayor Brian Bowman said the race relations summit, to be held at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, will continue a much-needed discussion about racism.

“We do have a problem here,” Bowman said Tuesday. “Cities across our nation have the same problem — intolerance, ignorance, racism. We have a problem. It’s not Winnipeg’s alone but together we are ready to lead the nation in the battle to take on racism together.”

The summit comes as Winnipeg struggles with its image as an intolerant city, especially for aboriginal people.

Winnipeg has come under a harsh spotlight numerous times. Brian Sinclair, an aboriginal double-amputee, died during a 34-hour wait in a Winnipeg emergency room in 2008 while many assumed he was drunk or homeless rather than someone seeking medical care.

Some have called Winnipeg the epicentre for missing and murdered aboriginal women following the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine whose body was pulled from the Red River wrapped in a bag last year.

Earlier this year, a Winnipeg high school teacher made national headlines when he ranted about aboriginal people on social media, accusing them of being lazy and seeking free money from non-aboriginals.

Bowman tearfully promised to tackle such intolerance in January when Winnipeg was labelled the most racist city in Canada in a cover story in Maclean’s magazine. Since then, he has appointed an indigenous advisory council and said the two-day summit will bring people together to share ideas on how to fight racism.

“No single summit of leaders can or will end racism. We all know that,” Bowman said. “We need more than words to affect the most necessary change in Canada … But the summit is an attempt to begin that process.”

The summit is to feature a keynote speech by award-winning author Joseph Boyden and American civil rights speaker Gerald Durley.

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson with the Southern Chiefs Organization said a two-day summit does little to address soaring aboriginal unemployment rates, hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women, the disproportionate number of aboriginal people in jail and the thousands of aboriginal children in the care of child and family services.

If Bowman was serious about addressing the plight of First Nations, Nelson said he would focus his attention on creating an urban reserve rather than organize a summit.

“We all know the problems,” Nelson said. “We have to have concrete action, not simply another conference.”

Education Minister James Allum said the province will help fund the summit and congratulated organizers for tackling the issue head-on.

“There are some in this community who don’t think we need to have this conversation. There are some who have said it’s not a problem, we shouldn’t talk about it,” Allum said. “(It’s) a conversation that needs to happen among all of us.”

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Most Read