After Colten Boushie: Addressing 'pressing and troubling' issues

After Colten Boushie: Addressing 'pressing and troubling' issues

The defence argued the shot was an accident, the result of a common gun glitch known as "hang fire".

Accident or not, Stanley was tried for second-degree murder and was found not guilty by a jury of his peers.

Much of the anger in the wake of the ruling has rightly focused on the fact that the jury was all-white.

"When you look at the justice system and the way it looks at us, it ain't fair how they did the selection", said Bighetty.

In the Stanley case, the accused was white and the victim indigenous.

The practice, which allows Crown and defence lawyers to exclude jurors without offering reasons, is at the centre of the controversy raging over the acquittal of Gerald Stanley.

You don't need me to go over the details of the incident, especially since every media outlet in the province - whether it's in print form, online or on TV - has covered every nook and cranny of the case to the point where I'm nearly begging to see something else hit the news and take over the headlines.

But the uproar over the verdict speaks to a deeper mistrust than can be addressed by more diverse juries alone. "But there clearly is a problem with under-representation of indigenous people on our juries and that is not just from the use of peremptory challenges, but that is from layer upon layer of systemic exclusionary measures that indirectly target indigenous people". "It's extremely unsafe. It is short-sighted and it's actually counter-productive to the objectives to ensure that First Nations people get fairer treatment within the justice system".

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This is true across the country and not least in Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, the indigenous population is growing quickly and in some areas, outnumbering the farmers. "The justice system is fundamentally broken for Indigenous people sin our country and of the deep, deep divide that we must overcome". After all, this system, imposed along with the other instruments of colonialism, contributed to the uprooting of First Nations people from their languages, cultures and communities. "That's where the change has to come from, is with the people".

"The tragedy surrounding him is a symbol of the ongoing impacts of colonization of the deep-seated, ugly racism that still exists in our society today", Ashton said.

I'm not one to pretend to understand the justice system, nor do I truly understand the intimate workings of native vs white relationships on the prairies but at the end of the day, I do understand that two lives have been drastically altered because of this incident.

That seems to be one of the controversial take-aways from the deliberations in the Colten Boushie case last week in Saskatchewan. As long as the system remains biased, as it most clearly is, every verdict will be suspect.

You teach about the inherent rights that people had, and why did the people enter into treaties? That's a crisis, both moral and democratic.

Dozens of people rallied outside the Vancouver constituency office of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday afternoon, to show their support for the "Justice for Colten" movement. Not really. It's the process used in Saskatchewan when choosing coroner's juries.

But none of these statements sought to relitigate the case or suggest the jury had got it wrong.

The meetings were spurred on by the not guilty verdict handed down in the Gerald Stanley trial. Now the government must prove it with action. The defence's peremptory challenges of some candidates remain questionable, even though the right to challenge is just that, namely, peremptory and defence does not have justify those challenges.

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