Canadians – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous remain outraged this morning after a Saskatchewan farmer was found non guilty of murdering an Indigenous man by an all-white jury on Friday.
56-year-old Gerald Stanley walked out of court a free man after the jury acquitted him of second degree murder for shooting 22-year-old Colten Boushie in the back of the head with a handgun in August of 2016.
Boushie, of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot dead while sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV that was driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Saskatchewan.
The defence argued that Stanley didn’t pull the trigger, and that the gun went off accidentally.
The case has sparked racial tensions in the province and elsewhere in Canada – rallies were held in several cities over the weekend including on Parliament Hill.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was guarded in his response.
He says Canadians have come to this point as a country far too many times and Indigenous people across the country are angry and heartbroken.
He added that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.
The federal justice minister agreed the country “can and must do better” after the verdict sparked a firestorm of criticism from First Nations groups across Canada.
Jody Wilson-Raybould tweeted her sympathy for Boushie’s family, and said she is “committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians.
The Red Pheasant First Nation Chief called the ruling “absolutely perverse.”
Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, held a news conference Saturday saying that there needs to be lasting, system-wide change.