July 11, 2020

Winnipeg
20° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Gulf between natives and non-aboriginals serious, poll shows

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/10/2014 (2104 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

AN overwhelming majority of Winnipeg residents believes the division between the city’s aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities is a serious issue, a new poll shows.

According to a Winnipeg Free Press/ CTV Winnipeg Probe Research poll, 75 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, "The division between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens is a serious issue in our city."

Dennis Lewycky

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Dennis Lewycky

Probe Research president Scott MacKay said the finding points to myriad issues that include lack of education, job training, migration from reserves to the city and even more complex issues that need further exploration.

"That’s a massive public consensus when you get three-quarters of people saying ‘there’s a problem here,’ " MacKay said. "It’s not in any way racism. It’s just a bold acknowledgement that something is wrong here and we have this gulf between the two populations.

"People are groping for ways to address that gap but I don’t think a lot of nonaboriginal people really have an understanding of what it will take" — Dennis Lewycky, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg

"Now that we know the public feels this way, we have to start asking questions: Why? And what is the nature of this problem?"

Probe Research conducted a random and representative telephone survey of 602 adults from Sept. 18 to Oct. 1. The margin of error is plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is higher within each of the survey’s sub-groups.

Dennis Lewycky, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, said the high number of Winnipeggers who recognize there is a problem is a positive first step — what’s pivotal is what happens next.

"I don’t think a lot of people really know how to address," the problem, Lewycky said. "People are groping for ways to address that gap but I don’t think a lot of non-aboriginal people really have an understanding of what it will take."

MacKay said the genesis for the poll question arose from a controversy that emerged in the mayoral campaign — the responses to the revelation in mid-August of the notorious four-year-old Facebook posting by Gord Steeves’ wife, Lorrie Steeves, about feeling threatened by "drunken native guys" aggressively panhandling downtown.

Aboriginal leaders criticized her posting.

Lorrie Steeves immediately apologized for the post after it became public but Gord Steeves — who ducked the media for four days — did not.

Steeves has skipped several mayoral forums that focused on aboriginal and poverty issues and has avoided dealing with the question of what measures can be taken to improve the quality of life for the city’s 72,000 aboriginal residents.

Steeves even stayed quiet when the slaying of teenager Tina Fontaine galvanized Canada-wide attention on the issue of a national inquiry into slain and missing indigenous women.

Of the mayoral candidates, only Judy Waslylycia-Leis has produced a comprehensive policy on improving living conditions for aboriginal residents. She has committed to chair a roundtable with aboriginal and non-aboriginal leaders that will develop strategies for job creation, safety, recreation services and housing.

Brian Bowman and Robert-Falcon Ouellette have endorsed urban reserves and Bowman’s culture policy puts a priority on promoting indigenous artists.

The City of Winnipeg adopted an aboriginal youth strategy in 2008, with a $1-million budget, that identifies gaps in recreation, education and job training within the civic sector. The city recently partnered with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, designing a primary care paramedic program for a handful of aboriginal people. In September, council approved a matching $150,000 grant, with a similar contribution from the province, to ensure extended operational hours for an aboriginal youth drop-in centre.

Lewycky said government initiatives haven’t been sufficient to address the division between aboriginal and nonaboriginal society and it’s going to take individual efforts from people to make a difference.

"Yes, government has some responsibility but we as individuals also have some responsibility."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

Has the civic election campaign offered up ideas to help ease the city’s racial divide? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 7:04 AM CDT: Fixes pull quote, adds question for discussion

10:25 AM: Adds infographic

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us