You can build a better Canada, or you can get out of the way

Don’t see the problem? Then perhaps you are part of it, writes Scott Gilmore

Photograph by John Woods

Photograph by John Woods

This week, Maclean’s published a powerful piece of journalism. Nancy Macdonald wrote about her hometown, Winnipeg, and the terrible conditions under which some of its Aboriginal citizens live. The stories she told were shocking and hard to read.

There was a visceral reaction across the country and internationally. Soon after it began to circulate, a friend at the BBC contacted me. They were sending a team to Winnipeg to report that in a country considered one of the most inclusive in the world, there still exists a minority facing horrible intolerance. For the BBC, this is a stunning revelation. Sadly, for most Canadians we have learned to accept it, to rationalize it, to forget about it.

Which is why Macdonald’s writing felt like a slap across the face. To many, it woke us up. It painfully reminded us of what we have been so adept at avoiding: Canada has a race problem.

By every indicator, be it economics, health, or justice, the numbers are bad. The unemployment rate for Aboriginal Canadians is twice the national average. They are 10 times more likely to be jailed. They are twice as likely to die as an infant, and live 10 years less than the rest of us. By every single measure, an Aboriginal life is grimmer, shorter, less just, and more difficult.

The Winnipeggers who stood with Mayor Brian Bowman in his remarkable press conference responding to the article know these numbers. They acknowledged that something must change. And their conviction was shared by countless Canadians who read Macdonald’s story and said to themselves “We need to fix this.”

But the reaction amongst others was different. For them, the slap was a personal insult. These people reacted like small minds always do, with ad hominem attacks, misdirection and false equivalencies.

As always, there were those like Don Marks, who dismissed Macdonald’s article because he falsely assumed she is Toronto-based. Not only was he wrong. the idea of debating racism while using the defence “but you’re from somewhere else” is so ironic it borders on the satirical.

But the most telling example was an interview Macdonald did with a Winnipeg radio host named Dave Wheeler (who works for Rogers, which also owns Maclean’s). There, she patiently listened as the host claimed Winnipeg couldn’t have a racism problem because some minorities are doing fine there. And, because Aboriginal-on-Aboriginal crime exists, there can’t be a racism problem. Or, how could there be racism if the mayor is Metis — a variation on the “some of my best friends” gambit. At one especially absurd point he even questioned whether Macdonald could “really” love her hometown.

Wheeler’s views are not unique. We’ve all thought the same things. We flinch when confronted with the painful truth about our Aboriginal community. We become defensive. We look for excuses. We try to rationalize it away.

In some ways, Macdonald’s article is about two kinds of Canadians. Mayor Bowman exemplifies the first type. When he looks around, he sees poverty, injustice and pain, but he also sees hope and a potential for great things. He resolves to work harder, to achieve more, and to build a better city. Macdonald’s story is filled with people like him who acknowledge there are problems and work hard to fix them. These are the people who built Canada.

The other kind, by contrast, are people like Wheeler. When they see a problem, they first deny it exists. Then they make an excuse. They explain it’s not their responsibility. They blame someone else. They attack those who would suggest things could be better, and question those people’s loyalty and patriotism. A Third World population in the midst of a wealthy country like Canada doesn’t just happen. It requires people like this. It requires denial, indifference, ignorance, and wilful blindness.

To those people we all need to patiently and slowly say this: Canada does have a race problem. It persists because of people like you. We don’t expect you to help fix it. But as better men like Bowman try, the least you can do is get out of the way.

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You can build a better Canada, or you can get out of the way

  1. You are likely right. Mr. Bowman as a Metis is the person who should work to fix this racism. Us white people should get out of the way because our input will not be welcome, even if it is well meaning.

    • you seem to have quite willfully missed the point. that bowman is metis is irrelevant. it’s that instead of making excuses, or deflecting blame, he faced the claims head on, accepted them for the truths they are, and vowed to work toward fixing them.
      those that will turn a blind eye and claim there is no racism in canada are the ones who need to stay out of the way.

      • No, I didn’t miss the point. I think Scott Gilmore missed the point. There is racism but it goes both ways. The FN community doesn’t appear to like the white community (or should we just call ourselves colonials) either. It isn’t us white people according to Nancy McDonald who are responsible for perpetrating violence against FN people in Winnipeg and according to several white citizens of Winnipeg, the FN citizens don’t appreciate white people when they see them on the street and tell them so in no uncertain terms. Mr. Bowman being a Metis won’t be called a colonial for interfering in their lives or telling them what to do because he shares a background with them.

        • I have witnessed hateful slurs, spitting, drive by harassment, and so many other despicable acts of racism, and they all go one way. Whites on natives. I am Caucasian and have sat, walked and talked with many of my native brothers and never once have I been discriminated against. I have also witnessed many native brothers brush people like you off with barely a wince, showing far greater respect than you demonstrate, but I have also witnessed their anger, but that anger was always a response. You are a hugh coward. Pity you!

    • Umh, “even if it is well meaning”, and “Us white people”, are you for real? Now maybe you are not racist, I can’t tell by your, er, comment, but if you think all ‘white people’ are respectful and well meaning you should just recede further into your shell and stay out of the way.

    • We can start by not propagating the stereotypes that we grew up with–yes, even those of us with a good dose of Indian blood in our veins!

      • If I may, having lived in every part of Canada in my long life, I have found Indians to be different in every part depending on many factors – date of first encounter, experiences, North, South, East, West, Arctic, financially responsible and entrepreneurial, cravenly corrupt, dispirited and so on. One cannot generalize. Do I choose the Osoyoos BC band – entrepreneurial, financially very successful, full of initiative, no drinking or drugs – or do I choose a band on the shores of James Bay, impoverished, financially corrupt, drinking and drug problems, poor leadership, despairing. Or the off Rez people, poor, drunk, despairing on the downtown streets, fallen into prostitution, taken advantage of, and so on. You get different pictures. Do we, like the Indians blame residential schools of various abuses, or count the successes therefrom in their own words? Actually, the conditions are little different than how children of that age were treated. If, when I was a child I insisted in speaking pig-latin or cussed and swore or misbehaved, I got the strap in school and a kindling stick at home. Such would be considered child abuse now. Turns out there were those abusing the rest of us – sometimes familial. Think of the Mount Cashel scandal in New Foundland. Actually, I think that although conditions vary from extremely bad to very good, some of the Indian leaders have found that making the rest of us feel guilty pays.

        The causes: the Indian Act, the Indian Affairs Department, the divisive attitudes thereto by the Indians themselves? Who?

        Having lived next to a Rez for 15 years, visited several in different places, I have come to the conclusion that:
        1. Indians cannot expect to live a decent life on the Rez unless it is endowed with natural assets and first class leadership (such as the Osoyoos Band.)
        2. A life on a reserve dependent on ancient hunting and fishing concepts will never be possible or fulfilling but lead to non-fulfilment and greater despair.
        3. An insistence on teach Indian children legends and fantasies of a past tribal life are misleading.
        4.Indians must be prepared educationally, vocationally to compete in the general milieu. When they produce they will be respected.
        5.Their land (rez) assets should be sold off with the proceeds placed in a trust fund with the invested proceeds distributed evenly and fairly periodically on performance Obviously, this will have to be supplemented with addition funds until the Indians can demonstrate they are able to compete successfully.
        6. The paternalistic and bureaucratic Indian Affairs Department should be eliminated with Indians entitled to the same safety net as the rest of us.

        Finally, just because one does not like filth, laziness, drunkenness, substance abuse, and ignorance does not mean one is a racist.

  2. Something that should be studied in depth is how grown adults….grown educated adults….can look right at a problem….and still not see it.

  3. I’ve now read these two articles which call an issue racism where really it is something else. When the majority of a group live in areas where there is no opportunity to be employed but receive a large dose of welfare, the evils of funded idleness take over resulting is substance abuse issues, high crime rates, low self esteem, poor health and all the rest that goes with that. So if the statistics shown in the first article are to move to the norm something must be done to get these people to areas where they can be employed and enjoy the dignity associated with looking after oneself.

    • Translation…make ’em like white folks.

      • That’s not what he’s saying at all Emily. However to not admit it’s racism is wrong because this is the culmination of centuries of racism. Why does living off a Reserve suddenly “make em like white folks”? Does living in the city make Black and Asian people like white folks too?

        • Many FN live off reserves. But they don’t get much education on the reserve…..and so don’t get much in the way of a job in the city.

          Plus FN culture is different than ours….more communal, not so individual. Living in the city is hard to do. It’s culture, not race, that makes the difference.

          Culturally Blacks and Asians don’t live communally or live off the land.

          • That last sentence was painfully ignorant.

          • Lemme know when you find a band of black or asian hunter-gatherers.

          • Asian: Batek, Mani, Semang
            Black: San, Ogiek, Akie

          • This is so ridiculously ignorant and offensive. Half the population of China alone lives in rural communities.

      • This seems to be an unfortunately common response to any argument that there are social maladies within groups that are also discriminated against – and there almost always are. If providing opportunities to help people get an education, find gainful employment, fight addiction, etc means making people like white folks then I don’t know what to say

        • Capitalism, industrial age…..that is your world.

          It is not the same for everyone.

          • So what’s YOUR solution Emily. Anytime these articles appear you are quick to paint commenters as racist (whether justified or not), but not so quick to offer solutions. By any measure it is completely unacceptable for First Nations people to be living in the conditions too many of them are. What’s your answer?

          • Indeed it isn’t! But some people are rather pompous and think their way is best! Pity them! They lack comprehension of respect. To KAY53, did you get that, R – E – S – P – E – C – T, in case you needed things to be spelled out. It’s actually quite an effective answer, and it seems obvious to me in EMILYONE’s comments.

        • GAGE G, so you either deny racism or you deny it’s effects. You reak of ignorance. Should I tout you whilst I spit on you, and would you rise up or whilt.

    • Jerome, you’re part of the problem. Either wake up or step aside. Your comment is the most racist I’ve read. Pity you!

      • Pathelion,
        How can possibly call my desire to have reserve native Canadians enjoy a healthy, productive life as racism. Have you got a better solution? If so, let’s hear it.

        • 70, or so, years ago you would have promoted the residential schools. But history will tell you how that was equivolent of a miserable and pathetic attemp at genocide. I do have a far better solution. It’s called respect. All you people who think you know what is better for you, is better for others, and that is bullshit. Can I move into your home and completely revamp your way of life. Can I impose on you my superior and unfaltering religion, and then murder your children when they don’t comply. Can I break you up and force you to live my way. You wouldn’t like me if I did. So my solution is to end this debocle of assimilation and imposition and let the native people choose how they want to live, where they want to live, and who or what they desire to worship. And without assignment or reservation. RESPECT!

  4. 58 years I grew in this city I love, Winnipeg. However racism, especially against first nations people, has always existed. Overtly on occasion but always pervasively subtle. At school aborginals were always the poorest and there was always the myth of the drunken lazy Indian. I like to think Winnipeg is turning the corner with some hope and seeing that our aboriginal population is an asset to our community. But as long is there is wide spread poverty in this city it will be a daunting challenge. I was a letter carrier in the core area of Winnipeg for 10 years and saw third world conditions among poor and aboriginal citizens. One time I started on the first day on a core area route and delivered to an apartment with young aboriginal families. There was an strong smell of mold there. When I returned to the depot I was informed not to deliver there because of mold and it was deemed a health and safety issue. Yet folks were still living in this building. I heard a baby crying there during my delivery. Until third world conditions are addressed in this city we wont have a better city.

    • So what would the correct response be in that case? Move the family to a new home, free of charge? I’m not sure what solution you are suggesting?

      • A better question – What is your solution?

      • Gosh, are you really that blind and shallow. Yes that’s what William was suggesting, and lets throw in a pool and a new car! NOT!!! Do the following words mean anything to you: respect, dignity, compassion, heart, kindness, acceptance, compensation, justice.

  5. Wheeler never denied there was racism in Winnipeg – he questioned the way the article portrayed Winnipeg, and how the headline was misleading. Maybe try listening to the interview first?

    • Exactly! Scott calls Nancy’s article a “powerful piece of journalism”, but it fails on so many levels. Most of her examples were Aboriginals committing crime on Aboriginals, which is NOT my fault, and it is NOT racism.

      • You havent been paying attention. Everything is your fault because you are a white racist. Nothing is their fault because they are the non-white victims of your racism.

        That’s what they teach in university today.

        • My bad. You are right, they do teach that. But I have a trump card. I’m not technically white. Not in appearance anyways. :) I’ve actually never really had any racism issues in Winnipeg, which is where I live. I have in many other places, especially in Ontario.

          • Oh ok sorry if I assumed you were white. I’m told by my progressive betters that non-whites who dont blame whites for their problems have something called “internalized racism”. It sounds pretty serious.

        • You forgot the part where you are not allowed to offer any suggestions for a solution because that is white colonialism.

          • As white people, we should only apologize, call other white people racists, and pay taxes. Anything else is racist.

        • If a blind man leads a blind man they both fall in a pit. You commentors arguing against Macdonalds report are blind. You distort her facts and opinions to defend your ignorance. Go ahead and fall in a pit! If you are a white racist then indeed you are at fault, but if you are white and respect the differences of others, white or non-white, then you are not racist. Pretty simple, unless you are blind in heart.

          • If you are a white racist then indeed you are at fault, but if you are white and respect the differences of others, white or non-white, then you are not racist.

            That was true even a couple years ago. Now progressives have redefined racist to be equal to white. Im not even being sarcastic or exaggerating. White = racist. If you are white, you are racist. If you are not white, you cannot be racist.


  6. Hey – maybe we could hear from one of Maclean’s aboriginal writers? Or one of their writers of colour?

    Oh – they only have white writers?

  7. Racism is serious in any way, against anyone. And it happens to every race and gender. We do it to others and to our own race/gender. The only way it will change is if we all take the time to make an effort. I, myself , is not innocent, I will admit that I have done it myself. I have also been on the receiving end of it too. We tend to use our racism to make ourselves feel better than others. To make ourselves look better. But how does that make us look better? It doesn’t, it makes us lower than the ones we are talking down about. We are all equals despite race/gender or our class. We are all HUMAN. Human is a race…human is a gender…so when we are being racist to those around us, we are being racists to ourselves.

  8. Actually, had you bothered to listen to the interview with unbiased ears, Wheeler was pointing out that Nancy Macdonald used several examples of crime against aboriginals as evidence of RACISM. These crimes were in fact committed against these aboriginal women by aboriginal men, or in the case of Tina Fontaine are still as of now unsolved, and he was questioning the implication by Macleans and the author that these were representative of racism in our city, which they were not. A crime committed by an aboriginal against an aboriginal is a problem yes, but certainly not an example of racism as you would have the whole of Canada believe.
    This piece was an incredibly irresponsible piece of journalism. If you are going to publish a piece that will be so obviously controversial, you had best make sure that its author is well prepared to discuss and defend it. Nancy Macdonald did neither with any knowledge, intelligence or credibility in that interview. Which was a shame. I disliked the article to begin with, but was willing to hear her views, her explanations of why she made the points she did…. she failed at every turn.
    Winnipeg certainly has a problem with racism, as does many other places. But if we are all going to have a truly honest conversation about the issue, it needs to be represented on both sides of the coin. Both sides need to take accountability and action. I grew up in northern Manitoba in a small town that bordered a large reserve. I had friends from both spots, spent time on the reserve, and honestly never gave it too much thought. After moving to Winnipeg, I lived in the downtown area for the first seven years. And I could not even count to you the amount of times that I had racial slurs slung at me by aboriginals just for walking past them. One notable instance being called a “stupid white b*tch” while having my purse stolen. And I’m not the only one. Many people have similar stories. There is racism coming from both directions, and respect needs to come from both sides. But as long as people are only pointing the finger in one direction (that goes for both sides as well) there will never be any open and honest dialogue, and there will never be any progress.
    And now that two Macleans writers have shown their ignorance, that will be the last Macleans magazine I purchase.

    • Spot on. Very, very well said. I will also not be purchasing another Macleans magazine after reading these absolutely irresponsible articles.

    • I think the issue is that the high crime in aboriginal areas – yes mostly perpetrated by people of the same race as the victims – is an effect of long standing racial discrimination, and long standing disempowerment. It’s not the KKK that is ruining life for aboriginal people in Winnipeg, most non-aboriginal people after all harbor only mild conscious racist opinions, it’s the last several centuries. This is sometimes called structural racism meaning that the overall structure of society has racist effects on a disadvantaged group even if the ideas in peoples minds are not actually that overtly racist.

      • Yes, exactly. Even if you’re not actually racist, everything is your fault because you’re white and at some point, some white guy was racist. That is what is called magical structural racism. I know this because I have an edumacation in gender theory.

        Nothing is the fault of the natives or the current policies.

  9. Wow unbelievable another journalist missing the point of the argument made by wheeler and others speaking out against the poorly thought out arguments in this article. First I will say racism exists here (I’m a life time winnipegger) just like it does EVERYWHERE ELSE. The point I would make is that the conclusions that the reader is led to at the beginning of the article are false. 3 of the first 5 examples of “racism” in these stories were aboriginals on aboriginal crimes however the irresponsible manner in which the article is written fails to point this out. Instead leading with a sensationalist title and drawing the reader in with stories that do not contain all the facts. The point is if you’re going to say these things back it up with FACTS provide evidence that the statistics presented are caused by systematic racism and aren’t simply facts. Where is the evidence of racism in this article? I see a problem I see it every day no one is blind to the fact that aboriginal people are struggling but if you are going to blame it on systematic racism collect some evidence to support your data anything less is irresbonsible. All the article did was show effect ie there are several problems that aboriginals face all the time this is a true statement the conclusion that these stuggles are caused by implied systematic racism here in my opinion is unsubstantiated in the article. There is aan abundance of stories and stats but nothing on the cause. There is a problem yes but if you’re going to blame it on systematic racism you better be prepared to show the cause that draws the line to your conclusion.

  10. Enough with the lame excuses and the whining, folks….solve the problem.

    • In order to solve a problem you must first identify the cause of the problem. Something this article failed miserably to do.

      • We know how to solve it. We always have.

        We just don’t do it.

        • go on…. How do we solve a problem for which we don’t have a root cause?

          • The root cause was their land.

            After 3 centuries it’s time to settle the treaties….and make arrangements elsewhere.

            Then there’s Kelowna.

          • Ok so 300 years later reparations have been paid social and economic programs are being offered equal schooling is available to all we elected a Metis mayor reserve lands have been put in place and are government funded so I’m not sure what the solution here is I’m not hearing a solution

          • Yes you are.

            They would have their land and culture back if that happened…..and an education for the future.

            They could then choose to live any way they wanted.

          • So the solution is Europeans should have never come here in the first place or we should all go back to Europe? I’m not sure what you mean from what I can tell we all live in a free country so natives can and do choose to live any way they want and a are more than free to calibrate their culture I also believe if I am not mistaken that aboriginals have even more of a right to education to so called “priveliged whites” since those who are treaty status can have their education paid for by the government and those with Metis status get a portion of it paid for. Its not the 1700s anymore Europeans aren’t holding back natives anymore there are more programs and more assistance offered than ever time to step up and use them.

          • You ‘believe’ a lot of things.

          • I do believe a lot of things. I believe the things I see everyday. I believe that there is a problem in our aboriginal communities I believe that there are people who are racists I also believe that for every bigot there are 10 people who aren’t bigots. I believe that this racism goes both ways. I believe that if people make an effort they can make something of themselves like Robert Falcon Ouellette. Or they tens of thousands of other successful aboriginal people in our country. I believe these things because I see them I see successful Metis and Natives where I work and I’ve lived downtown and seen their struggle the difference is the effort the difference is attitude just like anybody else I had every opportunity in my youth to join gangs and make bad choices and hang with the wrong crowd instead I got a job at 15 and have been gainfully employed ever since. What is preventing others from making this choice who is stopping them?

          • From this day forth, have the parents of all children make sure they go to school everyday…

  11. Absolutely rediculous article. This was the nail in the coffin for me to never buy another Macleans magazine, or read another article written by anyone employed by them. Nancy Macdonalds article was the worst piece of news I have ever read. Until this. Her article had extremely poor examples of racism, trying to fool people who read it. Very unprofessional work that belongs in a tabloid, not a news magazine. Wheeler pointed out the facts. Plain as day.

  12. Another excellent example of irresponsible journalism.

    Congratulations to your complete inability to see the that the real problems do no stem from racism but individuals lack of responsibility for their own lives and fates. There is no shortage of programs and assistance options in Winnipeg to help people of all walks of life succeed. What individuals do to take advantage of these options is up to them.

    As the Dalai Lama put it – “A genuine change must first come from within the individual, only then can he or she attempt to make a significant contribution to humanity.”

    This applies to every human being; aboriginal or not. Many cultures and races have experienced unconscionable acts but yet are still able to thrive and do not have such high unemployment rates, jail rates, infant mortality, missing woman, substance abuse and early death rates.

    Is racism really the cause of all of these things? Because somehow, people from different races from all over the world are able to successfully contribute to the society and economy in Winnipeg harmoniously without blaming others for their place in life.

    Maybe this is less about the colour of ones skin or the culture they associate with but more so with the choices they make and the lifestyles they live. When a human being is irresponsible for their own life or those of their childrens and families, it makes it hard to look at them with respect.

    There are resources available to help but if you choose to ignore your responsibilities as a human being to yourself or your family then you have no right to blame anyone but yourself.

  13. You talk of ad hominems and false equivalencies and then present us with a false dilemma?

  14. Are none of you aware we have treaty obligations we have never fulfilled?

    That FN still do not have the educational and medical care that whites get?

    Do you think it’s a simple matter of requiring a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ pep talk??

    • Umm, Manitoba has a free public school system and free healthcare….. so you’re trying to say aboriginals are not eligible to take part in these public services?

      Because last time I checked they were available to all citizens….

      However, it does mean you have to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” in order to get out there and take advantage of them.

      Is that really too much to do?

      • These things exist on remote northern reserves do they?

        And if you take a reserve education and move to the city….you won’t have a job.

        • Especially if you happen to have FAS. Is it racist to talk realistically.

        • The article is about racism in Winnipeg…. Aboriginals living in Winnipeg….

        • not only do they exist on remote reserves, those same reserves get housing built for them (which they promptly tear apart to burn in oil drums in the living room, complaining that “drywall doesn’t burn very good”). Also, as a FN, you get hefty government sponsordship to university (check it out) and most of the standard requirements and even degree testing gets waived. As a white jewish male, I get none of this.

          Let me propose something to you. If Hitler had had children, would those children owe me part of their work for their entire lives because of something their ancestor (Hitler) did? Should they? I’m a jew, and I think the idea of paying for something that happened generations ago is atrocious. The particular phrase is “sins of the father” and it’s abhorrent.
          So why are Canadians paying off the FN constantly? When does it stop? When are THEY to be held responsible for their own actions or lack thereof?

    • Emilyone do you write for Macleans? It sure sounds like you do – full of incorrect information and accusations without any validating facts.
      No one is denying that racism exists and that the road of aboriginals has been a very difficult one. However, there are many things available to them in terms of education and healthcare that unfortunately go unused by a large number.
      I acknowledge the difficulty faced but I am also a firm believer in forging your own destiny and creating a better one for your children. My husband is Metis, and was raised by a single mother in an extremely high crime area of Winnipeg. He could have easily let the difficulty of his circumstances define his life in a negative way. But he was raised to show respect for everyone and to earn respect for himself. He was taught that you can achieve absolutely anything if you work hard for it. And so he did, and is quite successful. Yes there is racism but it’s not, at the end of the day, what is holding people back in society. Things need to change within the community by the community and family counselling and support needs to be at the forefront. It starts at home.

      • LOL no I don’t work for Macleans….and what you ‘firmly believe’ about another culture has no bearing on the problem.

        • Well we could all say the same about all of your posts…. But that type of ignorant attitude is part of the problem isn’t it!

          • Do you really think that statement makes any sense?

  15. It is so easy to label this as racism with such sensational stories by a couple of barely tabloid worthy Maclean’s articles.

    Using examples of Aboriginal against Aboriginal violence, abuse and exploitation really makes it tough to agree with the claims of racism in Winnipeg being the root of all of these problems. Is there racism in Winnipeg? Yes indeed there is. Is ongoing racism the reason for the grim outlook for Aboriginals living in the prairies? Simple answer is NO.

    Nancy MacDonald’s article is full of contradictions – she states 92% of violence against Aboriginal women is committed by Aboriginal men. Then the next paragraph she writes about how Aboriginal men in Winnipeg are targeted by police because “they fit the description”. Must be because Winnipeg people are racist.

    She chose to not write about the leaders of Aboriginal communities failing to provide real help and support to their own communities with the funds provided by the Federal Government. Yet, she does attack the government for not giving enough money. When the Government asks for open books to see where the money is going, the Aboriginal communities scream and protest. Must be because Winnipeg people are racist.

    We haven’t seen any Maclean’s articles being written about how the Aboriginal leaders in the province are stepping up to create programs to help their youth succeed in the modern times. Must be because Winnipeg people are racist.

    Until the Aboriginal leaders step up and make their own Chiefs and Counsellors accountable there will be no way any amount of support from the rest of the country will help the situation. Winnipeg people being racist is definitely not preventing this from happening. In fact, knowing “racist” people from Winnipeg, they believe this lack of accountability by the Aboriginal leaders themselves is the fuel to the systemic racism in the prairies.

    “People in Winnipeg have compassion fatigue. They are tired of trying to help people who don’t appear to make attempts to help themselves” – a “racist” Winnipegger.

  16. Dear Citizens of Oceania,

    A new set of thought regulations will be issued forthwith by the Ministry of Truth.

    It has come to the Ministry’s attention that unapproved ideas regarding aboriginals have been circulating in the lower classes. The Ministry intends to stamp out such heresy by any means necessary.

    If you find yourself thinking criminal thoughts, please report to your nearest precinct where you will be executed dealt with humanely. Those who report their neighbors and family members will be handsomely rewarded.

  17. Just to clarify, for you poor rubes who dont have the sophistication and deep understanding of a Maclean’s writer:
    -those who “want to build a better Canada” are the university educated sophisticates who scream racism at every opportunity to signal how sophisticated and non-racist they are
    -the evil scum getting in the way of our non-racist utopia are those who cling to out-dated notions like “common sense”, “personal responsibility” and “hard work”.

    The government has decreed that all people and cultures are equal. Therefore, if our system of paying off band chiefs to live in remote areas in a hybrid traditional-modern culture doesnt lead to prosperity, the reason, is YOU.

  18. Cancelling your subscription won’t solve the problem folks…..neither will worrying about the staff at Macleans…or claiming this is some plot by university students.

    No red herring will fix this. Neither will whining.

    Call your MP. As many times as it takes until the govt moves to settle the land question, and eliminates the ‘Indian’ act and addresses our obligations.

    • The reason people want to cancel subscriptions, and stop reading this magazine is because of poor, irresponsible journalism. I know for myself, if u want to be informed of happenings around my country, I want it to be from a reputable source, not a tabloid that Macleans has now proven to be. The fact that Macleans chose to publish two irresponsible articles without fact checking, or telling half truths is not something I want to read, and seems to be the sentiment of most people I talk to concerning this magazine.

  19. This file requires leadership, and – like it or not, because it’s a national responsibility – that leadership has to come from Ottawa. The Prime Minister – no matter from which party – has to call for a public/private conference with all concerned at the table to determine how to establish industries and infrastructures (funded by whatever means works best) that begin to shift the mindsets – again, of all concerned – from one of hands-off/sweep under the carpet welfare to one of shared partnership: we all have a stake in each person living in Canada, so let’s all push together. If that means wholesale reform to the way in which funds are distributed, and feelings are hurt and heads get butted, so be it. We cannot allow the present status quo to continue.

    • Totally agree….thank you Hansel.

  20. Consider how the same leftwing voices who were worshipping chief Spence of Attawapiskat when she came to Ottawa in her Cadillac Escalade to cry about the dilapidated homes on her reserve are the same who now claim to want “reform”.

    They dont want reform, they want to shift the blame from their horrible policies by calling the average Canadian a dumb racist.

    Any kind of reform would require property rights for individual natives and any kind of federal assistance to go directly to individual natives, and not the chiefs. Obviously, the chiefs would then go on TV to call anybody proposing such reforms to be a white supremacist racist.

  21. I repeat:

    Something that should be studied in depth is how grown adults….grown educated adults….can look right at a problem….and still not see it.


    • And I would question how a grown adult (which I’m assuming you are) could be so incredibly focused on one part, one half of the story without even trying to understand any other sides. You’ve said a lot on here, but absolutely nothing of any helpful value or backed up by any facts. Your ignorance to all sides of this issue is precisely what keeps it from gaining any progress. Laying the blame but offering no sound solution or from the sounds of it real world experience.

      • Another white Maclean’s writer lambasting us about our race problem. I wonder though, if Nancy Macdonald is not Toronto based, as Don Marks stated, then where is she indeed based? An office at Selkirk Avenue and Salter? Please enlighten us. I don’t get the feeling she is in there helping the social services offices along Selkirk she derides for having taken over business space.
        And I’m guessing this Gilmore guy has not been to Winnipeg very often either. But he knows how to get booze in an Islamic country according to his witty little bio, so he must be more culturally sensitive than anyone on the prairies. As for Don Marks, quoted by Macdonald by the way, he must not be allowed to think for himself according to Gilmore. No chance of rebuttal, apparently, though Marks edits an Aboriginal journal. On the prairies. Quite likely dealing with Aboriginal life and issues.
        Also (in the following quote from the Gilmore article above) note the punctuation error in the misplaced period after “wrong” and before “the”. High and mighty journalism indeed, eh Macleans? You won’t be able to afford either a better spell-checking program or writers as you lose subscriptions out of the prairies after these half-truth attack articles.

        ‘As always, there were those like Don Marks, who dismissed Macdonald’s article because he falsely assumed she is Toronto-based. Not only was he wrong. the idea of debating racism while using the defence “but you’re from somewhere else” is so ironic it borders on the satirical.’

  22. Hey Scott, offer up solutions or get out of the way yourself!
    how can FN have accurate unemployment stats when they have a large population of adults who have never applied for a job?
    how can you explain poor education when the parents are not making their children attend school?
    the police know where a large amount of FN women have disappeared, they were killed by FN gangs but can you post this, hell no, you’ll be a racist!
    how many anti FN stories are not covered because of fear of being tagged racist?
    what is the government doing to resolve all the cases of theft and mis use of funds on reserves by FN in power? why don’t we hear more about this? and were the guilty thrown in jail? was the money paid back?
    why does the media focus so much on stories pitting whites against FN? but if the story changes to FN vrs FN the story goes away?
    what percentage of police and ambulance calls are spent on what race? is it racist to ask that? what is the city doing about anybody/any race abusing these services?
    When will we hear FN step up and say, until we as a people start to take responsibility for our actions we will not make progress?

    if this is racist, then I am racist

  23. ask people of any race working in social services or emergency care how many times they have been the victim of a racial slur from a FN person, please ask them!! Sadly All races receive and are guilty of racism. All this article did is point the finger at one race and in doing so is racist!!

    • I see you’re trying to argue with the beast using antiquated notions of “facts” and “logic”. I commend you for your efforts. However, Im sorry to inform you that “facts” and “logic” have been declared oppressive, hetero-normative, sexist and racist by people who are more educated than you and who only eat organic vegetables.

  24. I am glad to discover that I am not the only one who considers the Maclean’s article irresponsible journalism. The article is full of the trope of violence, but there is very little to support their racism complaint. Start with Tina Fontaine. A tragic case, but all we know for sure is that someone killed her. There is no evidence supporting the argument that she was killed by a white person. In fact, the next case of violence, against Rinelle Harper, was committed by two aboriginal males, who went on later that night to attack another woman. Rinelle was rescued by white males. Scratch the two main racist arguments right there. Facebook rants. Not very nice at times, but anyone who has been downtown in the last decade knows they are accurate and understandable. We know what set Lorrie Steeves off. What set the teacher off? As a teacher, he has probably had racial sensitivity jammed down his throat for years, so he knows better. But still he blasts away on Facebook. Something happened, to him, or to a family member. What? So far as I know, the question was never asked. I do have a good idea of what it might be though, from family experience. For a period of about two and a half years my late wife took our daughter to theatre classes twice a week. Almost every night, my wife was harassed by drunken aboriginal males, The standard line went something like this: “Hey lady….you wanna F###. Me an my buddy we gotta bottle of wine here. Let’s go the hotel and F###. ” The slightly smoother pickup line was along the lines of: “Hey lady, I gotta a bottle of wine. You wanna be my wife. We go to the hotel and F###.” The harassment would end with a begging for cigarettes, When she would tell them she had none, the response was fairly regular. “Stupid f###ing white C###.” And remember. This was not a one-off situation. It was every bloody night, and it was always drunken aboriginal men. Based on this, I wonder who propositioned our Inuit throat singer. Sounds more like an aboriginal pickup line than a white one. But then, finding out might destroy the racist narrative. None of this is to say that there is no racism in Winnipeg. There is, but Maclean’s has absolutely failed to make the case that it is a serious problem. There are a lot of good things going on in the aboriginal community, notably the development of urban reserves, and that sort of progress is what we should be focusing on. At the same time, they have to get that garbage off the streets of downtown Winnipeg. It reinforces a self-destructive stereotype. It seems to me that Maclean’s editors, by refusing to recognize reality and deal with it, are the ones blocking progress. They are the ones who should stand aside.

    • Please report to the Ministry for the Eradication of Heretical Thoughts at once.

  25. Also just a comment on this author…. Just saw on Scott Gilmore’s Twitter feed a comment regarding us Macleans commentators and how some of us cancel our subscriptions every week. “That’s loyalty” he writes with dripping sarcasm, clearly referring to some posts in this feed. First off, perhaps if you had come off as anything other then a pretentious d-bag in your article you wouldn’t have so many negative comments. I’d love to know your own personal experience dealing with aboriginal issues here in Winnipeg, ye who can find a cold gin in Kabul (congratulations by the way). Secondly, going on social media and insulting the people who read (or used to) Macleans mag isn’t helping yourself or them in any way. It’s actually just illustrating how you don’t care at all about the people who support (or used to) this magazine, and have absolutely no respect for a healthy debate.
    I do not have a subscription to this magazine, but very often over the years have picked it up. It’s not about the fact that you published an article I disagree with – it’s about the fact that you would publish something so incredibly factually inaccurate while painting an entire city with the brush of racism (a pretty serious accusation I think we can all agree). I honestly thought Macleans was better then that, and now feel that my hard earned money will be better spent elsewhere.
    But if you’d like to continue making fun of your readers on Twitter, by all means continue.

    • Macleans mag. with journalism like this would be considered a Tabloid.

  26. I work as a security guard in an office building in Downtown Winnipeg. I myself am Anishinaabe. There is an alley across the street that is in plain sight of all the passing cars. Almost everyday there are “Indians” drinking in that alley. All times of the day, during rush hour 100’s of cars pass by and can see them passing around a bottle. Once they are done they just chuck the bottle over their shoulder and just walk away. What are people to think when they see this? I bet most will say there goes a bunch of drunken Indians. Which in itself is not racist just an observation. To say all Indians are drunks would be racist. Indians is also a racist word. Anyways, if we want other races to see that we are not just a bunch of drunken lazy Indians we got to stop doing these kinds of things. Smarten up and have a little self respect. Stuff like that just gives the racist fuel to use against us. I know things are tough all over but sometimes you have to rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. A wise man once said “All you need is love”. Take care everyone!

  27. Powerful piece of journalism? What?!? The article in question is close to the worst piece of yellow journalism I have ever read. It cites several instances of native-on-native crimes as proof of racism. It cites as facts information that is demonstrably false. It is a poorly researched, emotional puff piece designed to elicit visceral reactions.

    Winnipeg has a race problem, and it’s quite obvious; natives are subject to more violence than non-natives. However, the violence is not being committed by caucasians, it’s being committed by natives. This is a statistical fact, not a racist comment. The article in question implies that the local whites are all anti- native. Is that why we voted in a Metis mayor? Is that why we very strongly supported another native candidate (Falcon-Ouellette) in his bid for mayor?

    Winnipeg is the most multicultural city in Canada, accepting and welcoming to anyone. We have a problem, but it’s not racism.

  28. Based on Scott’s Twitter he clearly reads the comments section here so I challenge you Scott McGilvary. I challenge the integrity of your article I challenge the conclusions you draw based on metrics I challenge you to connect the dots between those metrics and the conclusions you and Nancy draw in your articles. I challenge you to write an article on this issue that is responsible, not a knee jerk reaction to your colleague being rightfully questioned about the questionable contents of her article damning an entire city as racists, while painting stories of aboriginal on aboriginal violence as acts of racism by leaving out let facts and presenting a pile of statistics and drawing the conclusion (as you do in your article) the these statistics are the result of systematic and wide spread racism. Perhaps these things are true simply because they are true and there is a problem, which clearly based on the stats there is a problem, but if you are going to blame those stats on racism you better be able to back it up with something more than evidence that racism exists. Racism exists it’s real let he who be without sin on this one cast the first stone I guarantee there would be no stones cast not by you not be me not by anyone we’ve all had a racially biased thought or idea at some point in our life. Show me How you draw the conclusions other than pointing to stats and a handful of stories with half the facts presented. Again I’m not ignorant or blind there is racism here white on aboriginal aboriginal on white it goes both ways and it’s wrong but to say that we are the most racist city? I challenge you to prove it.

    • That would require Macleans magazine to actually take themselves into the streets and see Winnipeg for what it is (not just based on some statistics collected, Nancy). If they were to truly investigate an article of this magnitude, they would walk the downtown streets day in and day out for two solid weeks, maybe three to get the full flavour. No doubt they would have much to report on, but would it have the same angle? Doubt it.

  29. This article is ridiculous. “But the most telling example was an interview Macdonald did with a Winnipeg radio host named Dave Wheeler (who works for Rogers, which also owns Maclean’s). There, she patiently listened as the host claimed Winnipeg couldn’t have a racism problem because some minorities are doing fine there. And, because Aboriginal-on-Aboriginal crime exists, there can’t be a racism problem. Or, how could there be racism if the mayor is Metis — a variation on the “some of my best friends” gambit. At one especially absurd point he even questioned whether Macdonald could “really” love her hometown.”
    – That isn’t what I heard. She wasn’t listening patiently – she couldn’t answer his questions. Nobody is saying that Aboriginals in this city or province don’t live with racism. Nor is anyone really saying that Aboriginals in Winnipeg don’t face hardships perhaps because they are Aboriginal; that there aren’t deep rooted social issues that urgently need to be addressed. What Wheeler (and myself and others) are trying to say, is that if you are going to write an article entitled “Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada’s racism problem is at its worst” then the examples you use to prove that point, should actually be examples of where some kind of act of racism occurred. Do I think that racism is strong in Winnipeg – yes, I do. However – Tina Fontaine cannot be used as an example of that. Nor can Rinelle Harper. Sorry McLean’s – you still got it wrong. Perhaps the article could have used another title. If you want to talk about racism in this city – I’m sure you could find something. If you just want to write a story about how Aboriginals in this city live with very specific social problems that are unique to that group – use a different title. Perhaps use the word ‘poverty’ and explain the reasons behind it, that yes, may be attributed to race (ie residential schools) You are misleading Canadians about our city. You are leading people to believe that young women are being murdered and raped by people because of their race. That is not the case – at least in these two examples.

    • May I suggest the word “colonization” as more apropos. “Racism” is blunt, schoolyard name-calling. As every “race” experiences it, it is essentially meaningless. It is unquantifiable, and therefore impossible to see progress. I do believe the title of Macdonald’s article was handed her by her editor, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to sell magazines. Clearly it has succeeded. Glad to see the publishing industry is finding ways to “stay relevant”.

  30. The Wheeler radio interview with Nancy McDonald demonstrated that McDonald manipulates events to serve her purposes and that Maclean’s Magazine doesn’t fact check its writers. That this article could call Nancy McDonald’s article “a powerful piece of journalism” is absurd. This only points to MacLean’s shoddy state of journalism and writers. There’s no question that there is a story to be told about racism in Winnipeg. The problem is that MacLean’s article wasn’t that story. Only someone more interested in telling a sensationalist story than researching facts would use Aboriginal on Aboriginal crime to paint an entire community as “racist.” Adding a sensationalist title and now following it up with a nonsense article like this probably best demonstrates how MacLean’s needs to clean house and force whoever is left to take a journalism 101 course.

  31. Scott Gilmore and MacLean’s magazine: I don’t deny there are problems in the Aboriginal Community, the biggest I would suggest being poverty. These circumstances are terrible, but they are not racism. According to Merriam Webster, the definition of racism is the poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race, the belief that some races of people are better than others. There were two examples of racism in Nancy MacDonald’s article: the online comments made by the Kelvin High teacher and the city counsellor’s wife. This is inappropriate and should not be tolerated or celebrated. The rest of the article does not meet the definition and THAT IS WHAT DAVEWHEELER WAS TAKING ISSUE WITH in my opinion. So please stop calling people like us small minded. Instead buy a dictionary (or look it up online) before you continue making inflammatory statements and generalizations about an entire group of concerned Winnipeggers and Canadians.

    • I just made a similar point about what Wheeler was trying to accomplish. How can educated people, specifically the author of this article miss that? Why did Nancy deflect almost everyone of his questions? Because she knew the article was misdirected with some of her examples. If those examples represented acts of racism she had the chance to correct him.

  32. I believe that each and every one of us matters. Every day I work against ignorance, intolerance, and injustice in the city of Winnipeg. Every day I start with myself. I have worked hard to make the best of every opportunity that has come my way, to stay out of debt, to provide for my family, to make sure my kids stay in school, to educate myself through life’s difficulties, to provide a solid example to my children, with life skills they can use in the future. It is not easy for anyone. I have lived in poverty, and worked in minimum wage jobs for years until I could afford to put myself through university. Teach your kids to recognize them and not to let them pass you by. Give your kids the confidence and education to outsmart the bullies, disregard the naysayers, and ignore the catcalls. Do everything in your power to keep them away from the parts of society that use drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Keep them off the streets at night, and gainfully employed during the day, especially during the hard teenage years. Keep the lines of communication open and give them the skills of resilience and perseverance. Life is hard, but opportunities are out there. As I always tell them, we make our own luck.

  33. I must applaud Dave Wheeler, for bringing down Nancy MacDonald’s shoddy National Enquirer style “journalism”. Many of the points she tried to make in her original article were completely shot down, because they simply had nothing to do with racism. Nancy looked like a complete fool in that interview.

  34. This is completely incorrect. Wheeler was not denying racism at all. He was denying that the examples she used had no acts of racism involved. If you have journalistic integrity, you can not lead your story about racism, without any real accounts of it actually happening. When she used the example of that young girl who was brutally attacked, Wheeler wasn’t trying to deny racism by stating that “2 white guys” saved her. He wanted to know why she chose that story when it was not a racist act.When I first read the article I had to double check that it wasn’t written by Michael Moore as it was very misleading.

    As for Mayor Bowman, he’s a politician so take what ever he says with a grain of salt. Racism is a huge problem in North America and specifically in Canada with First Nations. Anybody who denies it is probably not somebody you should listen or talk to.

  35. Completely missed the point of the Wheeler interview. What he was attempting to do (and succeeded in) is expose her irresponsible mis-reporting of the facts in order to paint an entire city as the scapegoat in what is clearly a Canada wide problem. Winnipeg has as much a problem with racism as any other major Canadian population centre with a significant aboriginal population but the fact remains she used poor examples, re written to omit key information to prop up the argument it’s somehow “worse” then everywhere else. Wheeler was merely holding her accountable as a journalist.

    • Like the article reads, “It requires denial, indifference, ignorance, and wilful blindness.” Why for you talk, or write, you should just get out of the way! What Ms Macdonald is saying is that no where in Canada is racism toward the most marginalized people in Canada, First Nations people, more obvious or intense as in Winnipeg. Not everyone in Winnipeg is a racist, nor is racism absent in the rest of Canada, but, as I have witnessed with mine own eyes, it is a hugh concern in Winnipeg.

  36. So it’s getting increasingly confusing as to what the thesis of Ms. Macdonald’s article is with both Mr. Wells and Mr. McGuire now coming to her defence and both insisting two things, 1 the article isn’t about Winnipeg but rather Canada and Canadians in general and 2 that any critical analysis of the article, it’s thesis, it’s contentions and supporting facts is racist. This must nice for Maclean’s; you can write what ever you want, slander an entire city for example, and it must be accepted without question. When I read Ms. Macdonald’s article her thesis is crystal clear and I’m quoting “..(Winnipeg) is arguably the most racist city in the country” and the headline “…where racism is at its worst”. Now the latter Ms. Mcdonald has wisely distanced herself from, in public during a radio interview, and clearly it’s others who are responsible maybe Misters Wells and McGuire who seem to have swooped in to try and salvage some shred of credibility. As for racism in Winnipeg it wasn’t the murder of Tina Fontaine this past summer but rather the death of J.J. Harper in 1988 that was the impetus for the (Manitoba) Aboriginal justice enquiry out of which was born the national Truth and reconciliation Commission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Joseph_Harper) a fact not mentioned or acknowledged by Ms. Macdonald or her editors who are clearly Wells and McGuire which begs the question, why? Also, it begs note that the only intelligent observation in this article by Mr. McGuire is that both Ms. Macdonald of Maclean’s and Mr. Wheeler of 92 CITI FM in Winnipeg, who successfully discredited her on air, work for Rogers Communications…..hmmmm…interesting.

    • Yeah, you’re confusing! Step out of the way please!

  37. Ignorant, heartless, walking dead, lost souls. Maybe you blind bats are just infected with cold blood. Rest assured your blood will turn cold. Excluding the compassionate, all you dead heads should just go for a long walk and get out of the way. My heart goes out to all my native brothers who continue to be marginalized by ignorant lost souls. I am a child of God, with heart and soul, I curse religion and rightous ignorance, and I only see brothers and lost souls. Pity you lost souls, it’s not like you and the Harpers of the world have any place to go to. When you die, we are rid of you for good, no more getting in the way, whilst the compassionate have plenty yet to see.

  38. It’s a little confusing at this point to know what the thesis of Ms. Macdonald’s article is as both Mr. Wells and Mr. Gilmore have swooped in after the fact to her defence and have insisted two contradictory narratives, that being 1. the article is not about Winnipeg but rather Canada and Canadians in general and 2. any critique of the article, it’s contentions, it’s supporting facts and studies etc. is racist. With respect to the latter it must be nice for Maclean’s to be able to publish anything about anything let alone an article that slanders an entire major metropolitan area and not have to answer for it or be accountable, nice work if you can find it as they say. As for the former I’m pretty clear on Ms. Macdonald’s thesis regardless of Misters Wells and Gilmore’s attempted interference, being laid bare that “…(Winnipeg) is arguably the most racist city in the country” and on the cover page “…(Winnipeg) where racism is at its worst”. Now granted, although she didn’t want to and made no attempt to defend her thesis in the radio interview, she did distance herself from the latter and confessed it was others responsible for said headline I’m guessing Misters Wells and Gilmore. Also in that radio interview it was flushed out that the supporting facts for said thesis are all but entirely inaccurate bizarrely dismissed as irrelevant by Misters Wells and Gilmore – make no mistake gentlemen she’s totally discredited. As an example of how inane Ms. Macdonald’s article is her contention that Winnipeg was forced to confront racism as a result of the Tina Fontaine murder this past summer is quite inaccurate as it was actually the death of J.J. Harper back in 1988 that was the impetus for the (Manitoba) Aboriginal Justice Enquiry out of which evolved the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with literally the same aboriginal Manitoba judge moderating, which is just wrapping up a fact not acknowledged by either her, Mr. Wells or Mr. Gilmore who are clearly her editors and scrambling to cover their asses. The only intelligent observation made by Mr. Gilmore in this article, and maybe a gaffe, is that both Ms. Macdonald of Maclean’s magazine and Mr. Wheeler of 92 citi FM in Winnipeg work for Rogers Communications…hmm…interesting.

    • Oh, you’re still here? You should get out of the way. There is a hugh problem with racial indignities in the city of Winnipeg, and elsewhere, and you want to argue trivia!

  39. I’ve lived in Winnipeg for over 30 years I’m native and yes there is racism in Winnipeg just like there is racism in every other city in the world. I will never deny that. But to read these two Macleans articles and think this is journalism is crazy. I agree with Mayor Bowman and Wheeler. Mayor Bowman admits Winnipeg has a problem and we do. The lives some, not all, natives live in Winnipeg are atrocious and it needs to be fixed. I don’t have the solution and I have experienced on a daily basis that there are many options for help but a lot of these people don’t take it. I deal with these people on a daily basis they are stuck in a lifestyle and how to get them out is beyond me. But to say Winnipeg is racist because that exists is inaccurate. I don’t know anyone that is forcing them to live like that. All you people bashing Wheeler give your head a shake. He never denies that there is racism in Winnipeg he just points out that almost all the topics she is talking about are not racist. I was actually appalled that she completely dismissed what those two hero’s did for Rinelle Harper. I agree Harper fought to save herself but don’t dismiss what they did. Had they actually been racist people they would have walked away and left her not helped her and we would have another homicide on our hands. Was Nancy Macdonald able to back any of her comments? No. In my eyes Wheeler is the only one that is addressing the real issue, aboriginal on aboriginal crime. Why are we not talking about that? To call him racist because he challenges her to prove her point is ignorant. To blanket Winnipeg racist just because there is an inequality in lifestyles between people is also ignorant. You want to do a pole do a pole on how many peggers want to fix the problem and see that inequality gone or how many business owners would love to tap into the huge potential of Canada’s largest native workforce. I can guarantee you will find the vast majority are eager and willing citizens and business people. And just because I tell someone how I felt threatened walking downtown and was harassed by a drunken native doesn’t make me racist against my own heritage its just me pointing out what happened. I for one will never again buy a Macleans Magazine. They have chosen a side on this and are sticking to it even if their reporter looked like a fool when questioned about it.

    • Averagewinnipeg I commend you sir! It’s people such as yourself that solutions can be found.

  40. So what I’ve gathered: Canada’s racist therefore FN are treated unfairly because of it. This has to be fixed because it has caused a LOT of problems and continues to do so. The divide between people has only gotten wider. Can hugs be a solution? Can we all just look into each other’s eyes and realize we’re all just people who want to live our lives happily and in peace or must we constantly anger over what the other has and let history erode the banks to a point no bridge can ever be built.

  41. The point is Canada has a problem yes that includes Winnipeg, BUT the article accusing the problem to be racism is irresponsible. If you’re going to write such a controversial article back it up more please Macleans.

  42. What a pathetic defense of some of the most shoddy journalism I’ve ever read. I really do hope everybody listens to Dave Wheeler’s interview, because if you do, you’ll hear him completely expose that shoddy journalism. Nobody is denying that there are race problems in this country. But that’s not the column Nancy Macdonald chose to write, she chose to write a story about how Winnipeg is the most racist city in Canada, and provided next to no evidence to backup her sensational claim.

    how could there be racism if the mayor is Metis — a variation on the “some of my best friends” gambit

    No, it’s not a variation of “some of my friends”. Winnipeg has a metis mayor right now. Previous mayor was jewish. Guy before that was gay and before him was a woman. Clearly Winnipeg has a long history of bigotry.

    It would be nice to see so-called “progressives” actually attempt to deal with the issues instead of casually dismissing anybody who disagrees with them as racists, but I guess that’s too intellectually challenging.

    The unemployment rate for Aboriginal Canadians is twice the national average. They are 10 times more likely to be jailed. They are twice as likely to die as an infant, and live 10 years less than the rest of us. By every single measure, an Aboriginal life is grimmer, shorter, less just, and more difficult.

    If you wanted to actually do something productive for natives, it might help to address the question of “why” this is the case, and try thinking past “racists!” Are natives in Manitoba 10 times more likely to end up in jail because “racist!”, or because they’re 10 times more likely to commit a crime? What’s the solution, we stop charging aboriginals when they break the law? Do you actually believe that will hinder resentment towards aboriginals? Aboriginal kids are twice as likely to die as an infant, and that’s because of “racist!”, or possibly because many aboriginals are never taught proper parenting skills? What solution is being proposed by so-called “progressives” that are always so concerned with the plight of the aboriginal? It’s always just more of the same, because anytime someone mentions that there may be aspects of aboriginal culture that contributes to their standing in society, the “progressives” are instantly screaming “racist!” and any constructive conversation comes to an immediate halt.

    So well done Macleans, you’ve done a bang-up job ensuring that people will not address the root causes for another decade. Well fucking done.

    • The question is not how many, the question is why. Why do they face so many more hurdles than the “average” Canadian. Perhaps its the poor housing, poor education systems, poor job prospects, lack of affordable food, lack of parental role models (that goes directly to residential schooling, sorry but if your removed from your parents at 5 and raised in a boarding school by nuns you do not have any parental influence in your most formidable years and Nuns aren’t the best at instilling motherly love). The aboriginals face many more hurdles than the average Canadian right off the bat and then they get to deal with small minded racist people who feel that the aboriginals get all the breaks. To all the racists out there, walk a mile in their moccasins and see how you do!

  43. Id say put all the willing workers on welfare to work doing civil duties. I pay taxes. I get 2 for one. small wage for a worker and get my city into shape. train them if a tax payer has to pay for the idiot lets make a good worker. the worker gets a job for the money they steal from tax payers, some experience and a resume. as for jail inmates lets make them do oil changes for our city machinery, all the grunt work anything for the reason they get cable, video games, a full gym and heat, Im a tax payer heat cost over $100 a month in winter. the bastards in jail get AIR CONDITIONING! in summer, I pay for that! make the inmates and welfare people work for it! Im not racist lets pick the best out of the lot keep the rest in circulation. give them 300foot living corters for the welfare people and the jail people well lets make privlages a earned thing not a right as a human. the rights as a human ARE REVOKED when you get removed from society.

    • Are you saying that our entire jail population is made up of aboriginals? If so, don’t you ever wonder why there is such a disproportionately large number of a aboriginals in the jail system when they make up a small minority of Canadians? Oh right . . its all their fault. Well Tye, I hate to break it to you but you are definitely a racist!

  44. “us white people” . . . perhaps you should say this white person because you definitely do not represent my views. Your statement alone is proof of the racism that exists on every level against aboriginals and it starts right at the top! People should be judges on their own actions and words, not on the colour of their skin! The way you lump all aboriginals in the same “group” further proves your ignorance of your own country and the people who make up Canada! No wonder the aboriginal groups that make up our country are so fed up . . they have to fight the stereotypical views of small minded people on a daily basis and yet they are the ones branded lazy, useless and drunk! What a sad commentary of our once proud nation!

  45. The problem here is that FN are jumping on the “let’s make white people guilty” bandwagon and as usual, a majority are buying it. First Nations are handed many opportunities over and above the rest of the population, yet cry that they face racism problems. But it’s okay for them to be racist against the “white man” as the pioneers “stole their land”. o wonder they’re shown so little tolerance.

    • I agree. Canadians are upset with the lack of progress over the past 30 years. Can someone tell me what has been achieved and how Natives have progressed? How much money has been spent and wasted due to corruption? Now this brain pool, Macleans, want people that are upset with the waste, to be looked at as racists. How ignorant. Call me financially responsible, not racist.

  46. cart before the horse. racism is an inherent part of predator capitalism, and as our society becomes more and more dominated by this political economic system, problems like racism become worse. Such things are good for those who wish to rule – divide and conquer diverts attention from the core problem, elite rule stealing the wealth created by all working people. Young people against old, Quebec against everyone, Alberta against the east, everyone hate Toronto, women hate men (rape culture!!), etc etc. And as long as these people are running the country, they’re going to keep pushing these things, to keep us all fighting with one another rather than looking to the high castle. Democratic revolution, now or never – http://www.rudemacedon.ca/vgi/backgrounders/revolution.html .

  47. Assuming, no facts just rumor mongering. Poor writer is unable to distinguish between anger and discrimination. Maclean’s is a sad excuse for a media outlet. It appears that the latest craze is to tear down the country and destroy everything it represents. Nobody, including Maclean’s can be grateful for what we have. One of the greatest countries on earth.

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