Deep racial division exists in Winnipeg, poll finds

Most Winnipeggers believe there is a deep racial gulf between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens, according to a new poll.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs calls it 'a failure to distribute opportunity'

A report from Probe Research says Winnipeg is very much divided between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens. (Michael Fazio/CBC)

Most Winnipeggers believe there is a deep racial gulf between aboriginal and non-aboriginal citizens, according to a new poll.

Of the 602 Winnipeg adults who were surveyed, 75 per cent acknowledged there is a divide, according to Probe Research, which conducted the poll.

"This includes 49 per cent who strongly agree that this racial division is a major problem for Winnipeg and an additional 26 per cent who moderately agree that this is a serious issue," a Probe press release stated.

Curtis Brown, a senior research associate with Probe, said that kind of number is unprecedented.

"It's a serious issue facing the city, so about three quarters of the public thinks that," said Brown. "That's a really high number."

The question was asked because the issue has come up during the civic election campaign, he added.

The survey, commissioned by the Winnipeg Free Press/CTV for Probe Research, was conducted via telephone interviews between Sept. 18 and Oct. 1.

The margin of error is four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

'Failure to distribute opportunity'

Some Aboriginal leaders say more needs to be done to bridge the gulf that separates aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Winnipeg. 

"I think that Winnipeg is certainly a microcosm of the bigger problem of the failure to distribute opportunity equally and to recognize the contributions that indigenous people bring to the table," said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.

Nepinak pointed to the current civic election, in which the issue of racism has surfaced, as doing a good job of highlighting the divisions in the city.

"I think what's more important than the results of the poll are what actions are we willing to take to improve the lives of everyone in this city?"

On mobile? See the survey results here.