'We hit a wall here': Regina mayor says Gerald Stanley trial has set back reconciliation efforts

The trial of Gerald Stanley has divided people "to some degree" and set back reconciliation efforts, says Regina Mayor Michael Fougere.

Stanley was acquitted of 2nd-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie

'Now, more than ever, we need to talk,' says Regina Mayor Michael Fougere. (Kirk Fraser/CBC News)

The trial of Gerald Stanley has divided people "to some degree" and set back reconciliation efforts, says Regina Mayor Michael Fougere.

Stanley was acquitted on Friday of second-degree murder in the August 2016 shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie near Biggar, Sask.

Fougere said he's heartbroken for Boushie's family.

"I'm hoping we can find a way to rise above this and have a conversation ... about racism and intolerance, and there's no place for that anywhere in Canada, certainly," he said.

"We need to be better than this and we are at our best when we talk."

Stanley's acquittal prompted marches and rallies across the country where hundreds of people chanted "justice for Colten." Boushie's family members called for an inquiry into his death and flew to Ottawa to meet with federal politicians. 

Stanley's acquittal has refueled a debate about race relations in the province.

Fougere acknowledged that there is still much to do as far as reconciliation efforts go in the country but that people are on the right path.

"This trial, though, has set us back. This trial has been a huge wall — we hit a wall here," he said. 

Fougere said it's up to political leaders, including himself, to show leadership and not allow the verdict and ensuing division to sidetrack reconciliation efforts.

"Now, more than ever, we need to talk. This is what reconciliation is truly about is discussing what divides us, what brings us together."

With files from Alec Salloum