On April 13th, 2016, the Sinclair Park Community Centre in Winnipeg’s St. John’s provincial riding hosted a public forum for the Manitoba provincial candidates for St. John’s. In attendance was Noel Bernier of the Liberal Party, Nahanni Fontaine of the NDP and Barbara Judt of the Progressive Conservative Party.
During the open floor discussion, Josh Sigurdson of WAM asked Nahanni this, “You’ve voiced your concern with the assimilation of First Nations people into white society, even going as far as to support a boycott on all white owned businesses. Yet, currently, there are 11,000 children in CFS care, 90% First Nations, around 75% of all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Men came out of CFS care, close to 60% of all adults who grew up in CFS care become homeless. How can you stand for a government that treats First Nations families so terribly and leaves sovereignty to the dust?”
The moderator then asked Josh to rephrase the question for all candidates. Josh replied, “What would you do to cull the powers of CFS that’s taking First Nations children away at such an exponential rate?”
While Noel Bernier made some interesting points regarding Child and Family Services, Nahanni made the question about her and how in her 5 and a half years in government, she never spoke to Selinger about CFS despite the fact that basically her whole portfolio was regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Men. She then admitted that the system was terrible but that she wasn’t behind the CFS problems.
Josh then asked her why she stands by a party that’s behind what she herself sees as terrible. Nahanni Fontaine replied that she feels vitriolic negativity in the room and that she wants to leave. She then got up and left alongside Liberal Noel Bernier leaving only Barbara Judt of the PCs at the forum.
Barbara continued to answer questions despite much of the crowd leaving.
Josh was called many names and was called “disgusting” for asking the question twice. One NDP supporter told Josh that he’s wrong and doesn’t care about children because he hasn’t adopted children (despite being 21 years old and unable to actually do so).
The whole situation was a debacle. Consider this… If Nahanni Fontaine and Noel Bernier will literally run away from simple questions and tame criticism, imagine how they will act once they’re not campaigning and they’re hiding behind the thick rock walls of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Keep this in mind.
See the full video here: