U of S students rally for Colten Boushie’s family after Gerald Stanley verdict
To show support for Colten Boushie’s family, University of Saskatchewan (U of S) students marched from the campus to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon Tuesday.
Boushie, 22, was shot and killed during an altercation in the farmyard of Biggar, Sask.-area farmer Gerald Stanley in August 2016.
Stanley was found not guilty of second-degree murder Friday in Battleford, Sask., sparking outrage and protests across Canada, calling for justice reform.
“We need to stand together. We need to stand in solidarity,” said Regan Ratt-Misponas, a co-organizer of the gathering and president of the Indigenous students council at the U of S.
Boushie’s family spent Tuesday meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
Among their concerns is the jury selection process, which allowed lawyers to reject up to 14 potential jurors each without stating a reason why.
WATCH BELOW: Family of Colten Boushie praises ‘productive’ meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Racism is the biggest issue facing Saskatchewan in this moment, according to a statement from Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.
“We have a lot of good things happening in this province right now and we don’t want this undercurrent of racism to hold us back,” Clark said.
“It diminishes our ability to build strong communities and opportunities.”
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere acknowledged disturbing comments surfacing on social media following Stanley’s acquittal.
“We need to continue to double down on our conversation with First Nations for reconciliation because this is the time now to have that conversation,” Fougere said.
Others have blamed the media for perpetuating racism in Saskatchewan, including Tom Jiricka, who farms in the Biggar area and addressed media during the trial.
“You make it look like all farmers are prejudiced, but that’s not the way it is,” Jiricka said on Feb. 2.
A debate on the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada’s justice system is scheduled for Wednesday in the House of Commons.
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