Paula Simons: Colten Boushie case exposes a rural Canada tipping to anarchy

Jerilynn Webster speaks to the crowd at the Vancouver rally after the not guilty verdict in Colten Boushie’s killing

Jerilynn Webster speaks to the crowd at the Vancouver rally after the not guilty verdict in Colten Boushie’s killing

Or about the perceived problems with the trial, though these can not be easily dismissed. NWAC calls on the Federal Government and the Canadian justice system to be better and "do better" for the Indigenous people of many Nations on this land.

The facts of the case are by now well known. Stanley's lawyer didn't need to say it.

Stanley then loaded a handgun and fired several times into the air in an attempt to scare off the young men and women, then walked over the to SUV and tried to grab its keys. With a hammer, he smashed the windshield of the vehicle Boushie was in. He argued the shooting was accidental. The 56-year-old farmer was charged with second-degree murder and found not guilty last Friday, a decision which sparked rallies and protests across the county.

"We have to make this justice system right".

Rather, she suggested Tuesday, she was merely reflecting the broad sentiment among Canadians that an injustice had been done.

"This is a system that's been there for over 100 years that hasn't changed... and we have to change it".

An all-white jury absolving a white man of any responsibility in an Indigenous person's death speaks to a benefit of the doubt that wouldn't have been afforded if roles were reversed. The show went on, a few matches came and went, and she looked at her phone again.

In Canada, we like to think that we're better than that, that we've tamed our demons and embraced reconciliation as it pertains to our indigenous peoples, but we haven't.

"We have a constitution that created a space for indigenous rights, but over the past decades we haven't done a very good job of putting those rights at the forefront of all our decision-making and all our engagement with them", Trudeau told reporters outside parliament. "Our people are way overrepresented".

This is true across the country and not least in Saskatchewan. This demonstrates that our Indigenous populations are not considered "peers".

Donations had been made to the fund under names such as Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But then, statistics show us that even though First Nations people represent only five per cent of the population, they account for nearly a quarter of Canada's murder victims. In that same regard, what perspective does an Indigenous juror bring that a non-Indigenous person might be missing?

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark's statement that the acquittal of Gerald Stanley and the response of Colten Boushie's family is "a defining moment for our city, our province, our country, where we decide what kind of country we're going to be", is so important if we are to move forward. "I know that all members of the U of T community join me in expressing their profound sympathies to the family of Colten Boushie, and to the many Indigenous members of our own community who have been deeply upset by recent events". As long as the system remains biased, as it most clearly is, every verdict will be suspect.

The reality is, justice systems do have flaws and there is racism in the world. That's a crisis, both moral and democratic. Not until we perceive that our Indigenous brothers and sisters are our equals, our "peers", will there be any justice.

The family had filed a review of the police investigation of Boushie's death.

Racial bias is baked into the jury selection process. Now the government must prove it with action.

The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry recommended abolishing the use of peremptory challenges. It can acknowledge that the crisis of Indigenous justice in courts and prisons is among the most brutal expressions of deeper social and economic injustices - and that governments must also address these.

Most of all we need to give the Boushie family and community something to help with their grieving about the lack of justice.

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