'It's a call to action': Survey shows Sask. and Man. take dimmer view of race relations than other Canadians

Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents don't seem as optimistic about race relations as people in other parts of Canada, according to a new survey by the Environics Institute. 

In the region of Manitoba-Saskatchewan, only 60 per cent of those surveyed said race relations in the country are good, compared to 71 per cent of all Canadians.

On a similar question, 24 per cent of Canadians believe race relations have worsened in the last 10 years. But in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, that was even higher, at 31 per cent.

"It's not surprising, but it's a call to action. We can't accept the status quo. We must move forward. We can do that by education," said David Arnot, Saskatchewan's Human Rights Commissioner.

Trevor Bothorel/CBC

The numbers were even less optimistic among Indigenous people. Just 52 per cent of Indigenous respondents believe race relations in Canada are good.

David Pratt, vice chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, also said he's not surprised by the results.

Pratt said the first step is admitting these problems exist. The second is to have difficult, honest conversations.

"I think it's going to be detrimental to the long-term economic, social, health and well-being of this province if we don't start having those conversations now," Pratt said.

Environics partnered with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation in the survey. More than 3,000 Canadians agreed to participate.