Writer of Maclean's article meets Winnipeg mayor, North End community
"I'm here because... I want to witness what I think might be the start of some real change..." Macdonald said.
A special guest met members of Winnipeg's North End community at the bell tower on Friday evening.
After an article she wrote for Maclean's, which described Winnipeg as Canada's most racist city, made headlines around the country, Nancy Macdonald returned to Manitoba's capital.
On Friday, she gathered alongside dozens of people in Winnipeg's North End for Meet Me at the Bell Tower — an initiative that has been going on for three years, aimed at ending violence in the neighbourhood.
"I'm here because I want to see what happens," Macdonald said.
"I'm here because I support Michael [North End community activist] and I want to witness what I think might be the start of some real change in this neighbourhood."
In an interview with the CBC's Terry MacLeod, which can be heard below, Macdonald said she was amazed by the response to the story, and particularly Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman's reaction.
"It would have been so much easier for him, as a newly-elected mayor, to come out and say 'you're wrong Nancy. Maclean's is wrong. I'm captian Winnipeg and you get out of my city!' Instead, what he did was something so much harder, so much braver, so much more rare in politics. He showed true leadership."
Maclean's political editor Paul Wells agrees.
"When Maclean's says 'something's gone horribly wrong in your neighbourhood,' all you have to do is say 'well Maclean's is a rag and they don't know what they're talking about,' and then you can pretend the problem never existed," Wells said.
"The astonishing thing is that the mayor of Winnipeg didn't do that."
Macdonald said she was inspired to write about racism in Winnipeg after growing up in the city.
The controversial article has resulted in a number of reactions, including one from Bowman and others from members of Winnipeg's aboriginal community, non-aboriginal Winnipeggers and one that Macdonald herself noted as particularly moving; that of CBC host Rosanna Deerchild, who appeared on the cover of Maclean's and was quoted in the piece.