Statement on the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the death of Colten Bushier
On February 9, 2018, Gerald Stanley was acquitted of charges relating to the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man from Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan. Public outcry against this verdict has resonated in union halls, workplaces, and across the country.
UFCW Canada, along with the UFCW Canada Indigenous Sub-committee, extend our condolences to Colten Boushie’s family for this senseless tragedy and loss of life. We know that efforts made on reconciliation by First Nations advocacy groups have too often been met by cynical resistance; including from federal and provincial governments injecting divisive politics into justice issues. These actions serve to impede progress and reconciliation.
We stand with Federations of Labour which have noted the impact that systemic racism had on the outcome of the Stanley trial. We firmly believe that speaking the truth is not enough, for actions speak louder than words. On February 18, 2018, UFCW Canada fully supported an emergency resolution introduced at the Bi-Annual New Democratic Party Convention. It calls on the government to amend the Criminal Code of Canada so that the only challenges of prospective jurors be challenges for cause and for the elimination of stand-asides and peremptory challenges. The resolution also calls for a national inquiry into how the RCMP dealt with details of this case from the beginning, and the miscarriage of justice that resulted from the trial. On February 14th, UFCW Canada stood with hundreds of participants at the Women’s Memorial March in front of Toronto Police Headquarters demanding justice for Indigenous Peoples – many holding signs naming the hundreds of loved ones lost to violence in Canada. The very next day, more than 1,000 children gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to call attention to the grave inequities facing First Nations children across this country. We stood in solidarity with the First Nations Caring Society to support the co-ordination of this event.
UFCW Canada will continue take every measure to ensure that Indigenous UFCW members feel safe in their workplaces and included in their union, along with our advocacy for changes in those laws pivotal in restoring justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
Paul R. Meinema