The Executive Director for the Labrador Friendship Centre says the recent Colten Boushie verdict as a major step backward in Canada’s truth and reconciliation movement.
On Friday, a jury found 56-year-old Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of 22-year-old Boushie.
According to police reports, Boushie and his friends were on Stanley’s property at the time of the shooting, attempting to take an ATV from a neighbouring area. When Stanley attempted to take the keys from Boushie’s friend’s vehicle Boushie was shot in the head.
Jennifer Elson says the apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for residential schools in Labrador was supposed to be the start of a major shift for indigenous people, but even the jury selection in the Boushie case shows otherwise.
She says if there’s a perception of a conflict of interest it needs to be addressed, and given an all-white jury made the decision regarding the death of an indigenous person, she feels that conflict certainly existed.
Elson says the verdict highlights the ongoing deficiencies in our justice system for indigenous people across the country. She says in her position she has to believe that things are moving in the right direction and indigenous people are starting to be treated fairly, but the recent verdict marks a step backwards.