Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged that his government will reform how juries are selected in Canada so that Indigenous people can “once again” have confidence in the criminal justice system.
Trudeau made the commitment in the House of Commons Wednesday after addressing the family of Colten Boushie, the 22-year-old Indigenous man who was shot to death in 2016 by white Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley.
Boushie’s family said that Indigenous people were rejected from the jury that acquitted Stanley of second-degree murder last week.
In a speech outlining his government’s commitment to forge a new legislative framework with Indigenous peoples, Trudeau said questions that “strike at the heart of who we are and what kind of country we want to be,” are on the lips of many Canadians….
It is unfortunate that the PM ‘passed judgement’ on a criminal trial and judgement of a properly selected jury. One ought to conclude that the result would be the same if the culprits had not been aboriginals, ‘up to no good’ as people often put it, but people are unlikely to take that view.
The proposed changes will not alter the fundamental fact that aboriginals do not perceive the judicial system kindly; they do not ‘warm’ to the adversarial nature of a trial. Louis Riel, is admired by aboriginals today, as a freedom fighter, who did not deserve conviction for Treason, though many people sided with John A. Macdonald’s impression that Riel was a traitor.
There is the divide that is as old as the country. Reforms, whatever they may be, will not change that fundamental, ingrained cultural perspective. A lot of money will be spent with few lasting results, though one can understand the PM’s hope, however naive it may seem.
Professional. Retired. Canadian.