Montrealers gather to honour memory, call for justice for Colten Boushie
Not-guilty verdict in shooting death of 22-year-old Cree man in Saskatchewan sparked outrage across Canada
About 200 Montrealers gathered near Concordia University Tuesday afternoon for a vigil in honour of Colten Bushie, a 22-year-old Cree man shot to death after venturing onto a farm near Biggar, Sask., in 2016.
The event, called Justice for Colten Boushie, is just the latest protest happening in towns and cities across Canada to call for reforms to the justice system.
"We want to give some acknowledgment to the family in Saskatchewan that we're behind them, that we support them, that we're here for them in some way," said Nakuset, executive director of Montreal's Native Women's Shelter, who is originally from Saskatchewan.
The Buffalo Hat Singers, a group of contemporary powwow singers, beat on drums at the start of the vigil, and then Vicky Baldo, co-chair of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network, addressed the crowd.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Boushie?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Boushie</a> vigil under way in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MTL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MTL</a>. Colten Boushie was killed in 2016. The accused was acquitted recently. <a href="https://t.co/phJuoA7KxO">pic.twitter.com/phJuoA7KxO</a>—@NavneetPall
Justice system under review
Last week, a jury in Battleford, Sask., found the shooter, farmer Gerald Stanley, not guilty of second-degree murder.
Boushie was shot and killed after he and four others from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation drove onto Stanley's rural property in August 2016.
Boushie was shot in the head after an altercation with Stanley, his son and wife.
Stanley testified he never meant to shoot anyone and that the handgun he was holding went off accidentally.
- Shouts of 'murderer' in courtroom after Stanley acquitted
- Ministers say Canada must 'do better' after Boushie verdict
Some people at the Montreal vigil held signs that said, "'The gun went off by itself is not a valid defence."
The federal Justice Ministry has been tasked with reviewing the criminal justice system — including sentencing, trial delays, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prisons and so-called 'peremptory challenges,' where defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors in a second-degree murder case are allowed to reject as many as 12 people from a jury without giving any reason.
"We're uniting, and it's making me happy because it's showing me that there is hope for the next generation," she said. "People will realize that we are human and that this will stop." she said. "
"We have strength in numbers, and if we come together and show our support then we can make positive change."
With files from CBC's Navneet Pall and Melissa Fundira