Live at the News Café: A conversation about Canada’s relationship with First Nations

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Maclean's magazine calling Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada may actually turn out to be a positive thing.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/01/2015 (2755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Maclean’s magazine calling Winnipeg the most racist city in Canada may actually turn out to be a positive thing.

At a minimum, it has become the hottest water cooler topic of the week, said Ovide Mercredi, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“What we’re most interested in is getting people talking about the issues, which range from resource development to poverty. We want to try to find solutions to the problems that we all share and engage ordinary people in the dialogue,” he said.

“We want to change the conversation from finger pointing and blaming to what we can do together.”

Mercredi was joined in a panel discussion Friday afternoon at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café by former Prime Minister Joe Clark and Stephen Kakfwi, former premier of the Northwest Territories and former president of the Dene Nation.

The trio is part of a group called Canadians For a New Partnership.

Clark said there is a new awareness not just in Winnipeg but across Canada about the racial problems facing the country.

“What Winnipeg did (Thursday) in response to the article was take bad news in the accusations and turn it into very good news. We’re trying to identify ways we can move forward together on issues that have been troubling for a long time,” he said.

Kakfwi praised Mayor Brian Bowman for stepping up immediately after the Macleans story broke and, rather than getting defensive, calling it an opportunity instead of a threat.

“It’s an incredible statement of strength and hope that in such a short time he was surrounded by Ovide (and others). We want to do something and we’re going to do it together,” he said.

Mercredi agreed.

“The mayor made a call and dozens of people showed up yesterday in support. Imagine if he had a week. We think Canadians are ready for change,” he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

History

Updated on Thursday, January 22, 2015 3:42 PM CST: Replaces original story with story on event at News Cafe.

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