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Mayor Brian Bowman addresses claim Winnipeg is most racist Canadian city

01/22/2015 12:58 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT
Winnipeg's mayor will address the media about a Maclean's magazine article that tags the city as the most racist in Canada.

Mayor Brian Bowman has called a press conference for 12:45 CT at the city hall foyer, where he will be joined by prominent community leaders, including:

- Elder Harry Bone

- Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

- Jamie Wilson, treaty commissioner, Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba

- MLA Kevin Chief, minister of jobs and the economy and minister responsible for relations with the City of Winnipeg

- David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba

- Annette Trimbee, president and vice chancellor at the University of Winnipeg

- Julie Harper, mother of Rinelle Harper

- Michael Champagne, community activist

- Althea Guiboche, community activist

The magazine, which hit newsstands Thursday, features a cover story that claims "Canada has a bigger race problem than America. And it's ugliest in Winnipeg."

"The Manitoba capital is deeply divided along ethnic lines. Its Native citizens suffer daily indignities and horrific violence," the article states.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who is First Nations and ran for mayor in Winnipeg's civic election last October, was interviewed for the article and said he tried to paint Winnipeg as a complex city with a number of issues that was no worse than any other city.

The cover treatment Maclean's gave the story is sensationalist, he said. The cover features a quote from a Winnipeg resident who says,"They call me a stupid squaw or tell me to go back to the rez."

"They used the word 'squaw,' which is very, you know, derogatory type of comment," Bowman said. "But at the same time, I understand they need to be selling magazines and getting people interested to buy the magazine."

Ouellette has experienced racism, including during his campaign, but it's not something he sees on a daily basis. He said he believes the majority of people in the city aren't racist but that there's always the loudmouth that stands out.

"And then they create that sensation that everyone believes the same way, which I don't think is true," the mayor said.

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