Canada's race problem

Cover preview: Canada’s race problem

Video: Maclean’s Nancy Macdonald discusses this week’s cover story — now in Next Issue and on newsstands



Update: This cover story is now online. Read it here.

Is Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada?

The Manitoba capital is deeply divided along ethnic lines.

Its Native citizens suffer daily indignities and horrific violence.

In the video below, Nancy Macdonald discusses her cover story and explains why the death of a 15-year-old is forcing the city to face its problems:

This issue of Maclean’s is now in Next Issue Canada and available to our digital subscribers. The print edition reaches newsstands today.

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Cover preview: Canada’s race problem

  1. I find the video for this article to be, unfortunately, very one-sided. It’s fine to moan and groan about the plight of the natives in Winnipeg, but one has to admit that (A) they get a lot of free social benefits which are ultimately paid for by the working population, and (B) the native community in Winnipeg imposes filth, violence, petty crime, organised crime, public drunkenness, drug habits and prostitution on the general population. I invite the Torontonians who made this article to spend a few years living in central Winnipeg. Funny how your perspective can change.

    • Remarkable – a comment that is perhaps a perfect embodiment of the discrimination expressed toward First Nations people.

      Imagine, if you will, replacing “native community” in your phrasing with that of any other minority community in Canada: “the Jewish community/Black community/Muslim community etc in Winnipeg imposes filth, violence, petty crime, organised crime, public drunkenness, drug habits and prostitution on the general population”. Racial profiling, and thus racism, is it not? Why is it then an appropriate, non-racist description to give when describing First Nations people?

      Granted, I may be one of your hated and inexperienced Torontonians, but I try not to make a habit of ‘othering’ minority populations and propagating their systematic discrimination.

      • Additionally the idea of “imposing” – the imposition of things by an indigenous population upon a non-indigenous population – is rather unfortunate phrasing.

  2. Canada does indeed have a race problem. A major one.

    Thank you Macleans for making people aware of it.

  3. Perhaps Macleans needs to turn their “racism” finger pointing inwards – how many writers of colour do you have on staff again? Their author list is whiter than a Winnipeg January.

  4. I totally agree there is a racism issue in Winnipeg, but to say Winnipeg is the most racist city without any factual basis is just poor journalism. I never come to expect any publication to be truly bias as they are all apart of a media conglomerate who have their own views and ideals to push. I’m glad that this article is bringing the issue of racism to light, but to single out one community where the target population is the highest in the country seems a little smelly. I bet a quick polling of the African Canadian population in the GTA would result in a large racism issue there as well.

  5. I would like to see the research, studies, statistics compiled for this article and how it compares to the same data for the remaining Canadian cities. Can you do that Macleans? Otherwise, this is just poor journalism.

  6. They called me a Whitey Settler and told me to get off their land.

    • And nobody bowed?? How shocked you must have been!

  7. Good evening I have read and seen many racist remarks and actions in my lifetime. I believe that the general issue is the color of our skin I find this amazing all from the pigment of our skin!! isn’t that truly amazing and quite childish. Many civil wars and outcries have come from racial issues I can imagine all the progress we could have had if the racial aspect were never there…the heartbreaking story of residential school and the sixties scoop. In my opinion we never harmed or been malicious to the majority race never have we even come close to such hatred as seen in the present media…I am glad we are not like that the amount of hate that is shown to Aboriginal peoples presently is so sad so needless…what is the end result? there is none that I can see….

    As a nation of people we have survived all negative attempts at genocide of our people but we are still here and we will continue to be here. Its right its not healthy for Canada’s people to be treated in such an adverse manner. We are all Canadians we are all as one nation no one is better or worse than the other…I may be idealistic but if we had more idealistic people in this world speaking up we would change it.. I sincerely believe this..there will come a time when our skills as Aboriginal people will be needed because one day there will be no heat, no lights, no food…but as Aboriginal people we will know how to survive….Be Kind Always……

  8. Thank you for this important article. Neechi Commons is an aboriginal-owned co-operative in the North End of Winnipeg which is attempting to bring social and economic healing to the First Nations communities there, in a beautiful space including a food store including aboriginal specialty products, an arts and crafts store and a restaurant. People can read about it here: . We encourage people in Winnipeg to shop there, to invest when the next investment share offering is made and to donate when the crowd-funding campaign begins.