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Union gifts Drag the Red custom boat to help with searches

Click to play video: 'New boat for Drag the Red' New boat for Drag the Red
Drag the Red organizers say a newly donated boat will go a long way toward helping families of missing and murdered Indigenous women find closure – Jun 21, 2021

A Manitoba MLA who co-founded the Drag the Red organization says a new boat donated by Canada’s largest private-sector union will go a long way toward helping families of missing and murdered Indigenous women find closure.

Bernadette Smith (Point Douglas) has been searching for her missing sister, Claudette Osborne, for the past 13 years, and said the new customized boat donated by Unifor will step up community efforts at scouring the Red River for evidence of missing loved ones.

Read more: Winnipeg police announce changes to investigations of MMIWG cases

“We are extremely grateful and blessed to receive a custom-built boat donated by Unifor that will last DTR for decades,” said Smith.

“It will be 13 years in July since Claudette disappeared from Winnipeg’s North End — 13 years since our family’s been searching for Claudette and other missing loved ones and seeking justice for all our families.”

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Drag the Red’s new boat. Global News / Randall Paull

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said the donation came from seeing the tireless efforts of the volunteer, family-driven Drag the Red group, and the struggles they’ve had with difficult-to-maintain equipment.

“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 Dias.

Drag the Red started in 2014 when 15-year-old murder victim Tina Fontaine’s body was found in the river, resulting in national headlines and renewed outcry about Canada’s missing and murdered crisis.

Click to play video: 'MMIWG report: one year later' MMIWG report: one year later
MMIWG report: one year later – Jun 3, 2020

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