Canada ‘must and can do better,’ Trudeau says as fallout over Boushie verdict hits House of Commons

OTTAWA — Canada must address systemic issues facing Indigenous people in the justice system, including over-representation in prisons and under-representation on juries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday following the acquittal in the shooting death of Colten Boushie.

“We are committed to broad-based reform to address these issues. As a country, we must and can do better,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons Monday in response to a question from NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents a large Indigenous population in northern Ontario.

“It is incumbent upon us to say that this Canada will not be a nation where the senseless killing of Indigenous youth is considered OK,” said Angus.

Protests erupted over the weekend after a Saskatchewan jury returned a not-guilty verdict in the death of Boushie, of the Red Pheasant First Nation, who was killed after he and four friends drove onto Gerald Stanley’s farm, about an hour west of Saskatoon. After firing two warning shots from a semi-automatic handgun, Stanley fired a third into the back of Boushie’s head. Stanley’s lawyers argued that he believed the gun was empty when he approached the vehicle and that the death was a “freak accident.”

On Sunday, members of Boushie’s family travelled to Ottawa, where they had private meetings with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott on Monday morning. They are to meet with Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Tuesday.

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“We have little to no faith in the justice system and we’re here to talk about that and think about ways to address that,” said Jade Tootoosis, Boushie’s cousin, speaking to reporters after the Monday meetings. She …read more

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