Febrero 19, 2018

Saskatchewan premier says government should discuss Indigenous jury representation

15 Febrero 2018, 04:05 | Crisanna Felipe

GoFundMe A screenshot of a GoFundMe campaign in support of Gerald Stanley

GoFundMe                       A screenshot of a GoFundMe campaign in support of Gerald Stanley

A verdict of not guilty in the shooting death of a young Indigenous man in Saskatchewan is a "black eye" for Canada, says an Indigenous leader in Ontario.

Last Friday, a 12-person jury in Battleford, Saskatchewan, found Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie, who was a member of the Red Pheasant Cree First Nation.

The case sparked heated debate in rural Saskatchewan between landowners who blame Indigenous people for high rates of property crime and First Nations who bear the brunt of that racism and hate. "As a country, we can and must do better".

Wilson-Raybould and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott already took to Twitter to express their support for Boushie's family and call for improvements. Today we are marching for Colten, but also for Tina Fontaine, Matthew Dumas, Cindy Gladue and many more.

In 1991, the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry report detailed how Indigenous people were historically denied the right to sit on juries since names were drawn from voting lists.

"We thank the Attorney General and Prime Minister of Canada for offering words of comfort to the family of Mr. Boushie and the community", said White.

"Those kinds of initiatives are the kinds of things that I hope we have energy coming out of this trial in a good way, to make First Nations people feel that the justice system is for everyone".

That under-representation is caused by a number of factors, including distrust in the justice system and the use of peremptory challenges, a legal mechanism that allows Crown and defence attorneys to dismiss potential jurors without needing to provide a reason. "In this case, that Indigenous people can not be trusted to serve as a juror".

Thanks to Trudeau and his collaborators, it is only the rarest of souls who now believe Stanley is actually innocent, save perhaps for the jury who deliberated 15 hours before acquitting him. "Perhaps the very fact there was an Indigenous face in that room might well have made people look inward a bit, and reconsider some line of reasoning", he said in an interview.

"Our people are not going to wait another 150 years".

A GoFundMe page created in September to support the Boushie family has raised more than $110,000 as of Monday afternoon.

Gerald Stanley may have been fearful, over-protective and overwhelmed by the unexpected events, I do not know.

So, what was said in the wake of the jury's verdict?

"It's a very polarised country at the moment when it comes to indigenous issues". It was the second protest in the community since the verdict was delivered. We want legislation to be changed. Stanley and his lawyer have not commented since the trial.

Mr Stanley and his son were working on a fence on the farm when they said they heard what they believed was one of their own vehicles starting up, and thought it was being stolen. "He didn't deserve to die".

Stanley shot and killed Boushie, who was Indigenous, following an altercation on his farm in August of 2016.

"That typically doesn't happen", Fontaine noted, adding, "I think that's an eye-opener for non-Indigenous people".

"This isn't just about Colten Boushie. And that is exactly what we came here for", Tootoosis said.

"This has to do with the story of Canada".

Executive Director Bill Namagoose commented: "I am sickened by what happened to that boy and his family".

"I may grieve for some time".

"And once again, we ask people to behave respectfully and peacefully in all their on-line (sic) activity", the statement reads.

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