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And it is quickly becoming known for the subhuman treatment of its First Nations citizens, who suffer daily indignities and appalling violence.Winnipeg is arguably becoming Canada’s most racist city.Meaningful change will not come easily, but all this holds the promise, however faint, of a more hopeful future for the city.Related: Audio: Reporter Nancy Macdonald talks about reporting on her hometown Winnipeg leaders vow to face racism head-on Paul Wells: Winnipeg rises to a challenge Thelma, who never misses the suppertime news, tried to strike fear into the hearts of her nieces, Tina and Sarah Fontaine.” The former city councillor and long-serving, centrist politician didn’t bother apologizing. For decades, the friendly Prairie city has been known for its smiling, lefty premiers, pacifist, Mennonite writers and a love affair with the Jets.Licence plates here bear the tag “Friendly Manitoba.” But events of last fall served to expose a darker reality.Eight days later she was pulled from the river, identified by a tattoo on her back bearing the name of her father, Eugene. “Every time I leave the house I feel like I’m having a panic attack.” She can’t forgive herself for letting Tina go to Winnipeg.On a recent frigid weekday afternoon, a 14-year-old Aboriginal girl, coming off a high after huffing gas, told none of her girlfriends have changed their behaviour in the wake of Tina’s murder, laughing at the suggestion. “It’s like somebody ripped your heart out of your chest.
The friend says Tina was approached by a man who asked her to perform a sex act. Within days, Winnipeg police would announce another missing Aboriginal girl last seen in the North End. Since Tina’s death, Thelma has refused to leave her tidy home on Louis Riel Drive.They came in the wake of a civic election dominated by race relations after a racist rant by a frontrunner’s wife went viral: “I’m really tired of getting harassed by the drunken native guys” downtown, Gord Steeves’s wife, Lori, wrote on Facebook.“We all donate enough money to keep their sorry asses on welfare, so shut the f–k up and don’t ask me for another handout!Badiuk’s comments came while the city was still reeling from the murder of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old child from the Sagkeeng First Nation who was wrapped in plastic and tossed into the Red River after being sexually exploited in the city’s core.They came after Nunavummiuq musician Tanya Tagaq, last year’s Polaris Music Prize winner, who complained that while out to lunch in downtown Winnipeg where she was performing with the city’s ballet this fall, “a man started following me calling me a ‘sexy little Indian’ and asking to f–k.” They came the very week an inquest issued its findings in the death of Brian Sinclair, an indigenous 45-year-old who died from an entirely treatable infection after being ignored for 34 hours in a city ER.