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October 26, 2021
Dear Premier Goertzen,
I am writing to you today to express my concern for the safety of citizens from MKO First Nations who need to access public transportation/taxis in the City of Winnipeg. As you may know, there have been two arrests of taxi drivers in recent days. These incidents create serious cause for concern in terms when it comes to the safety of First Nations women, girls, Two Spirit and gender-diverse people who need to access taxi services.
I want to bring your attention to two Calls for Justice from Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report into the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Calls for Justice are as follows:
4.8 We call upon all governments to ensure that adequate plans and funding are put into place for safe and affordable transit and transportation services and infrastructure for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people living in remote or rural communities. Transportation should be sufficient and readily available to Indigenous communities, and in towns and cities located in all of the provinces and territories in Canada. These plans and funding should take into consideration: • ways to increase safe public transit; • ways to address the lack of commercial transit available; and • special accommodations for fly-in, northern, and remote communities.
17.9 We call upon all governments to provide safe transportation options, particularly in rural, remote, and northern communities, including “safe rides” programs, and to monitor high recruitment areas where Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals may be more likely to be targeted.
MKO is committed to resolving the issue and we are inviting various levels of government to convene a meeting with our organization. I encourage the Province of Manitoba to work with MKO to ensure these Calls for Justice are carried out. To have your office connect with me about this matter, please contact my assistant Ted Bland by phone at 431-275-2428 or by email: [email protected]
Grand Chief Garrison Settee
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
cc: MKO First Nations
The Honourable Wab Kinew, Leader of the Opposition