On January 22, 2015, Maclean’s magazine published a story by journalist Nancy Macdonald titled “Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada’s racism problem is at its worst.” That article prompted a quick response from the Mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman, who, alongside leaders of the aboriginal community in Manitoba, pledged to tackle the issue of racism in his community head-on. This was echoed by the Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, who called on all Canadians to talk about racism in their lives, in their work and in their communities. The article has also led to much discussion in the news and on social media about the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in places across the country.
At JFK Law we know that the existence of racism in Canada is no surprise to our aboriginal clients – and it should not be to any Canadian. We are privileged to work with communities across the country to address issues of historic and present-day exclusion and prejudice and to advance the interests of indigenous peoples. We understand that these communities face prejudice on a continuous basis.
It is up to all of us to continue to shed light on the discriminatory effects of our colonial history. We hope that the words expressed in response to this article bear fruit, and that we chart a path toward true reconciliation and away from intolerance and injustice.