Dozens gathered in Downtown Vancouver Saturday to rally with the message “it’s not okay,” a day after a Saskatchewan jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second degree murder in the 2016 death of Colten Boushie.
Carrying signs reading ‘Justing for Colten now!” and “Will I get justice?,” the rally in Vancouver was one of a handful that took place across the country, including in Victoria, Edmonton and Saskatoon.
The demonstrations were intending to honour Boushie, and serve as a day of action to show solidarity and support for the Boushie and Baptiste family, according to organizers.
The trial for Stanley heard that Boushie, a 22-year-old from Red Pheasant Cree Nation, was shot in the head while he was sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.
The SUV driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley property in search of help with a flat tire.
Stanley, 56 testified that he fired warning shots to scare the group off. He said the fatal shot occurred when he reached into the SUV to grab the keys out of the ignition and his gun “just went off.”
The verdict shook the family and friends of Boushie. Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee called the ruling “absolutely perverse.”
The #JusticeforColten hashtag includes messages of anger and grief striking a chord for Indigenous people in Canada calling for changes to the justice system.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also tweeted her sympathy for Boushie’s family, adding that she is “committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians.”
Speakers at the Vancouver rally included Indigenous advocate Lorelei Williams and First Nations hip-hop artist Ronnie Dean Harris, who called on non-Indigenous people to “stand up.”
“This is the time to recognize that we are all victims in a colonial system of division,” he told the crowd.Rally on Parliament Hill:
With files from The Canadian Press