WINNIPEG – NEWS – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) has issued the following statement in support of the family of the young First Nations woman who was the victim of a violent attack by a driver with the Unicity Taxi Ltd. over the weekend.
In July 2019, the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution which called on all levels of government to put added measures in place that would protect First Nations women and girls who use taxi services; First Nations are resolved to discontinue using taxi services in Manitoba until the culture of the taxi industry changes and the number of racist and violent attacks towards First Nations who utilize the taxi services in Winnipeg are addressed and demonstrably reduced.
“There continues to be no repercussions or people held accountable for the abuses suffered by our people through and within the taxi industry in Winnipeg and in other urban centres. Too often, we hear of violent attacks that are targeted towards our First Nations people and, more particularly, First Nations women. Unfortunately, through the years, there has been little to no effort to protect First Nations women while using the taxi services. Unicity and other taxi services must be held to a standard of safety which protects their passengers to the same level that protects their drivers,” stated AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
“In many cases, families who want to file a complaint against a taxi driver instead encounter obstacles to have their voices heard. There is no effective mechanism in place that will help keep families safe. The last time there was a review of the Winnipeg Taxicab Services was in 2016. According to the report, many of the complaints against taxicabs that were issued had to deal with the Drivers’ Conduct, followed by Road Safety. Clearly, people are not feeling safe with taxi services in Winnipeg and there is little care being shown to ensure peoples safety,” continued Grand Chief Dumas.
In 2015, the report identified that 64% of the complaints came from Driver Conduct; and 34% dealt with Road Safety. Since the review, the Taxicab Board, previously responsible for investigating and resolving complaints, was dissolved in 2018. Now, complaints against Taxicabs are flowed through the City of Winnipeg.
“The attack that happened over the weekend cannot go unaddressed. In light of the Calls to Justice of the National Inquiry into MMIWG and relevant article of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we demand better policy and regulation oversight for taxicabs in order to help our people feel safe while they use these taxicab services in Winnipeg and elsewhere. Until then, I am calling all our First Nations citizens to boycott taxi services in Winnipeg. As First Nations, we need to support our own safe ride organizations, and stand together and protect each other, while ensuring our women and girls are free to move about and access taxi services without fear of attack or assault from taxi drivers,” stated Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.