Portage la Prairie, MB –
It’s a case of perimeter prejudice in reverse. For years, Winnipeggers have been accused of not wanting to drive past the city limits but now a rural trend is surfacing that is turning the tide.
Henry Murray, 50, of Portage has never once ventured past the Walmart at Unicity, just inside Winnipeg’s West Perimeter Highway, while driving on his own.
“City driving is not for me,” Henry Murray said. “Too many lanes, one-way streets, buses and there is a lot of other nationalities.”
Murray has been inside Winnipeg several times during his life-time to attend medical appointments, hockey games, ball games and special dinners but he always catches a ride with friends and relatives.
“He’s terrified to drive in the city,” Murray’s nephew Shawn Rose said. “His parents and aunts and uncles won’t drive in Winnipeg either. They always mooch rides from us.”
“I think he’s just too cheap,” Murray’s neighbour Betty Klassen said. “He’s only offered gas money a couple of times when we’ve taken him in. We never take it but we do like to complain about it behind his back.”
Murray insists he is just more comfortable at home in Portage. “I like our mall better. Its quiet with hardly any people,” Murray said. “I went to that Polo Park and the crazy place has two levels full of stores and there are thousands of people everywhere. Lots of those immigrants everywhere too. They must like to shop.”
When pressed on whether his unwillingness to drive in Winnipeg might be rooted in racism Murray pushed back.
“I don’t dislike those other nationalities,” Murray said. “They are welcome here but I don’t understand them most of the time and I don’t like their spicy and flavourable food.”
“I like Portage, it’s simpler here. We have lots of nationalities like the Hutterites and First Nations people. We all get along, and I don’t have to eat their food,” Murray offered.
Friends and relatives do admit Murray is racist and a food snob but his views are based more on ignorance than malice. They informed him that his grandparents were immigrants but he maintains it doesn’t count because they spoke English and didn’t eat interesting food.
They plan on still driving him to Winnipeg when he needs and also intend to continue grumbling about it behind his back.