Winnipeg, Ambassadors of Human Rights or Bargain Hunters?

I couldn’t believe when I read the article in the December 17th edition of the Winnipeg Free Press titled “Harper’s visit brings museum closer to reality.” I expected to be reading about the merits of Canada’s first national museum in over four decades, and the first to be outside of the Ottawa region, and how its creation will be a driving force in placing Winnipeg on the map internationally.

Though portions of the story covered this, I was quite disgusted to see the impact of the world’s first Human Rights Museum compared to Canada’s 12th IKEA store.

Is the economic impact of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights not important enough to have it’s own story? Do Winnipeggers value a big box furniture store equally to an international museum? Considering the next two pages were dedicated to IKEA and its economic impact to Winnipeg, you’d think they could have refrained from mentioning the Winnipeg IKEA in the same story as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

It seems as a city we are beginning to recognize how good we have it in Winnipeg, and a project like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is one we can champion as a catalyst for drawing tourism from around the globe. However, once again, the media in our city misrepresents the values of Winnipeggers by diminishing our position as leaders in Human Rights issues with the same “cheap – tight – looking for a sale” label that has come to define us. Do we want to be known as ambassadors of Human Rights or bargain hunters?

Yes, I understand the positive impacts an IKEA in Winnipeg will make to our economy, and I agree it is a good addition to the city. My argument isn’t whether we need an IKEA; my point is that our media should place more respect to Winnipeg’s first, truly international tourism draw, especially considering the nature of its content.

I wonder if the shovel Stephen Harper uses to break ground for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be same one he uses for Winnipeg’s first IKEA? I think the shovel should first be used to bury this embarrassing story.

What do you think?

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