Indigenous Winnipeggers allege widespread racism by taxi drivers

WINNIPEG -- Some indigenous people say Winnipeg's taxi industry is rife with racism and are calling for a boycott until their concerns are addressed.

See Full Article

Jackie Traverse said she and other indigenous women are treated "like garbage" -- subject to discrimination, sexual harassment and even assault. Most cab drivers demand payment up front from aboriginal passengers, if they stop to pick them up at all, she said.

Traverse has started a volunteer ride-sharing page for indigenous women and is calling for people to boycott the taxis.

"I'm hoping to hit them in the wallet," said Traverse, a 46-year-old artist. "We make up a good portion of their income and you don't treat customers like garbage."

Winnipeg has spent the last year trying to address race relations after Maclean's magazine dubbed it the most racist city in Canada.

Despite a recent race summit, problems persist. A decorated indigenous war veteran said he was recently kicked out of a downtown mall by a security guard. A grand chief complained last month she was profiled and followed by security in a store before she approached the manager.

Traverse said she has been forced out of a moving cab by a driver and was assaulted years ago but didn't to press charges. She has resorted to waving money while trying to hail a cab just to get one to stop. She said she is almost always asked to pay up front.

"They shouldn't paint everybody with the same brush."

Grand Chief Terrance Nelson with the Southern Chiefs Organization said his office has compiled dozens of stories from women who have been harassed, discriminated against and seriously assaulted. The issue is not being taken seriously by police or by the taxi industry, he said.

The organization is looking at starting its own taxi company with a fleet of 10 cabs within six months, he said.

"There is growing frustration. These are our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our granddaughters. It's very, very personal."

Taxicab board chairman David Sanders said the board has received a few formal complaints and acts quickly to investigate. People often wait too long to lodge a complaint or don't show up to a formal hearing, which makes it harder to address, he said.

"Everyone should feel safe taking a cab in Winnipeg," Sanders said. "The extent to which they don't means we have more work to do."

The board has reached out to indigenous organizations and will look at providing more cultural training to drivers -- including indigenous history and conflict resolution, he said.

A consultation on the state of the industry is to get underway after the April 19 provincial election, he added.

Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, who represents northern First Nations, said that's just a start. More indigenous people should be hired by the industry and there should be a greater emphasis on educating all newcomers about First Nations, she suggested.

North Wilson said the inability of young women to count on a safe ride home is putting them at risk at a time when the number of missing and murdered indigenous women hovers around 1,200.

"It puts people who already at vulnerable stages in their lives to be more exposed to the element of racism on our streets."

North Wilson does see the tolerance for racism running out.

"Marginalized people (are) standing up for themselves and saying enough is enough. We demand respect and deserve respect."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Lawsuit filed against operators of limo in fatal NY crash

    World News CTV News
    ALBANY, N.Y. -- The operators of a limousine that crashed and killed 20 people in upstate New York were grossly negligent in putting the "dangerous and defective" vehicle on the road, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by one of the victim's parents. Source
  • NATO deputy calls for alliance unity on 'increasingly aggressive Russia'

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- NATO's deputy secretary general is making a pitch for alliance unity in the face of what she says are "complex and challenging security issues" that include an "increasingly aggressive Russia." Rose Gottemoeller made the comments in an address today before the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which is wrapping up after four days in Halifax. Source
  • Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn arrested in financial misconduct probe

    World News CBC News
    Nissan Motor's chair Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and will be dismissed for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds, the company said Monday. The Japanese automaker's chief executive Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that Ghosn was arrested after being questioned by prosecutors following his arrival in Japan earlier in the day. Source
  • Outsiders, academy members to pick Nobel Literature winners

    World News CTV News
    COPENHAGEN -- Only half of those who choose the winners of next year's Nobel Prize in literature will be members of the scandal-rocked Swedish Academy that has always previously awarded the prize, the prestigious body said Monday. Source
  • Volcano of Fire, already deadly this year, threatens Guatemalans again

    World News CBC News
    About 4,000 residents fled Guatemala's Volcano of Fire Monday as red-hot rock and ash spewed into the sky and cascaded down the slopes toward an area devastated by a deadly eruption earlier this year. Guatemala's volcanology unit said that explosions from the 3,763-metre high mountain shook homes with "constant sounds similar to a train locomotive. Source
  • Ont. woman who livestreamed her chemo session dies from cancer

    Canada News CTV News
    A Windsor, Ont. woman who livestreamed her chemotherapy session has died, according to a family statement on Facebook. Michelle Prince’s spouse, former Windsor, Ont. mayor Eddie Francis, said she died early Sunday morning, five years after her cancer diagnosis, according to a note on Prince’s personal social media page. Source
  • Toronto police charge 6 students in St. Michael's College School investigation

    Canada News CBC News
    Toronto police have charged six students in connection with an alleged sexual assault at St. Michael's College School. Deputy Chief James Ramer said five students turned themselves in on Monday, while another was arrested on his way to school. Source
  • Six students arrested, charged in St. Michael's investigation

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Toronto police have confirmed six teens have been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault at an all-boys private school in Toronto.WATCH LIVE: Police update on Toronto private school assault allegations investigation Source
  • Taiwan president defends pro-independence film award winner

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Taiwan's president expressed her support for the prestigious Golden Horse film awards after a pro-Taiwan independence director's speech ignited controversy in mainland China. "We have never accepted the term 'Chinese Taiwan,"' Tsai Ing-wen said in a Facebook post Sunday. Source
  • Caught on camera: Stepbrothers tail suspected impaired driver

    Canada News CTV News
    Two stepbrothers from the Toronto area recorded video as they followed a suspected drunk driver while on the phone with a 911 operator. The video was taken Friday night in Richmond Hill, Ont. It shows a white car performing multiple dangerous manoeuvres, including stopping in a live lane and swerving into oncoming traffic. Source