Drag the Red boat launches today on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Unifor's Drag the red boat

Unifor is a key supporter and sponsor of the Winnipeg community-driven campaign to ‘Drag the Red’ river in Manitoba for the remains of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited people (MMIWG2S).

Drag the Red was co-founded by Winnipeg NDP MLA Bernadette Smith following the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in August 2014. Outrage over Tina’s death galvanized the community and helped to spur a National Inquiry into MMIWG2S.

When the community organizers were in need of a new vessel to continue their work, Unifor made a generous donation from the union’s Canadian Community Fund to supply a new purpose-built aluminum boat, that is launching today.

“When we heard that the families had no choice but to drag the Red River themselves, we were moved by their determination. So when their boat kept breaking down, we knew what we had to do,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

With the launch of the new boat, volunteers can proceed with the sixth season on the waters of the Red River in hopes of finding closure for devastated families.

“Families are leading this important campaign and we’re happy to support them, either with the financial donation or with the volunteer hours that Unifor members and staff have put in during the last two years,” said Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle.

Unifor vows to continue to work with the co-founder of the Coalition of Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba and the Drag the Red Initiative with NDP MLA Bernadette Smith.

All Canadians have the answers for ending this violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.

The 231 calls for justice were issued two years ago by the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S. The federal government’s recent response to the report was inadequate and more work is needed to make urgent, systemic changes to protect Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.

It’s our job – across Canada to listen and to act – to tell your Member of Parliament that there is no time to waste implementing all of the calls for Justice from the Final Report of the Inquiry into MMIWG2S.