Canada’s justice minister and others are weighing in on the not-guilty verdict delivered Friday night in the Gerald Stanley trial.
The Biggar-area farmer walked out of the courthouse in the Battlefords a free man much to the anger of many after 13 hours of deliberation sparking outrage not only in Saskatchewan, but across the country.
Jody Wils0n-Raybould says the country “can and must do better”. She also sent out a tweet expressing sympathy for Boushie’s family, adding she is “committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians.”
The trial heard 22 year old Colten Boushie was shot in the head while he was sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar in August of 2016
The SUV driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley property in search of help with a flat tire.
Stanley testified he fired warning shots to scare the group off. He said the fatal shot occurred when he reached into the SUV to grab the keys out of the ignition and his gun “just went off.”
Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said there needs to be a change.
“Something has to be done about this. The government, Justin Trudeau, we ask you to give us Indigenous people justice,” Baptiste said.
“I’m not going to comment on the process that led us to this point today, but I am going to say we have come to this point as a country far too many times,” the prime minister said at a news conference in Los Angeles on Friday night hours after the decision was announced.
“Indigenous people across this country are angry, they’re heartbroken, and I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.”
Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde held a news conference on Saturday saying that while he supports an inquest, he doesn’t think it will be enough to create lasting, system-wide change.
“We have to call on governments to work with us and develop (an) anti-racism plan and strategy,” he said, adding that there should be a complete overhaul of the justice system, which he said is rife with systemic racism.
(with files from Canadian Press)