Kitchener-Waterloo

Ontario Indigenous justice coordinators call for Colten Boushie inquiry

Indigenous justice coordinators in Ontario are calling for a national inquiry into the death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man fatally shot on a Saskatchewan farm in August 2016.

Inquiry would look at Boushie's death and the treatment of his family during the investigation

Rallies — like this one in London, Ont. — were held across Canada after the jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty in the death of Colten Boushie. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Indigenous justice coordinators in Ontario are calling for a national inquiry into the death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man fatally shot on a Saskatchewan farm in August 2016.

George Stanley, 56, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Boushie's death, then found not guilty of killing the young man on Feb. 9, 2018.

Stanley's acquittal was met with shock, disappointment and even outrage by Indigenous people across Canada, including those living in southern Ontario.

"The system — the justice system and all the other ones, like child welfare — just really don't work for Indigenous people," Luane Roberts told CBC News. She is one of five Indigenous justice coordinators who work at community legal clinics and are asking for a national inquiry.

Call for an inquiry

Roberts signed her name on a letter addressed to Ontario's Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Canada's Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, asking for an inquiry into Boushie's death and the treatment of his family during the subsequent investigation.

Roberts said an inquiry is needed because she doesn't see Indigenous people participating positively in the legal system as lawyers, judges and jury members, and she doesn't see Indigenous people going to the police for help.

"What is happening that Indigenous people don't feel comfortable? Or is there a reason why they don't feel like going to police?" She asked. "So, getting those answers and bringing that to light."

'Working from the inside'

She and her colleagues in Hamilton, St. Thomas, Sarnia and Windsor felt they were in a unique position to call for an inquiry, given their connection to the legal system.

"I have a platform now. Right? And I'm using that platform to try and make that change. Kind of like working from the inside to try and make changes happen," Roberts said.

"That was the intent of the letter. We feel that there is a lot of things that the government has promised, and we want to hold them accountable."

As of Tuesday, Roberts said she had not received a response to the letter or the call for an inquiry, but she remains hopeful that a reply will come.

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