Winnipeg is an international city. From the many ancestral nations of Indigenous Winnipeggers, to the many far-flung countries of origin for settlers, Winnipeg is a meeting place for people from across the globe.
Unfortunately, those in power often take steps to reinforce a status quo that envisions a much more homogenous idea of our city and province. Before the 1940s, when voting rights were extended only to those who owned property, the City deliberately zoned North End lots too small to allow the Slavic and Jewish immigrants who lived there to vote. When voting rights were expanded, they applied only to “British subjects over the age of 21,” - a qualifier which excluded those with treaty status.
When Brian Pallister’s government cut health care for foreign students, they carried out another attack on Winnipeg’s international populations. In this issue, The Uniter’s city editor Lisa Mizan examines the repercussions of these cuts, which represent another drop in the already overflowing bucket of the local establishment making life harder for those who fall outside their status quo.
I’m one of many Manitobans who grew up around family from “the old country.” If any member of my family had been denied their basic human right to health care because of where they were born, I’d be outraged. Manitobans would do well to meet this abuse of power on our government’s part with the same outrage.
Published in Volume 74, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 31, 2019)