Colten Boushie's family is heading to the Assembly of First Nations' (AFN) Special Chiefs Assembly in Quebec Wednesday.
According to Battleford-area lawyer Eleanore Sunchild, the family is seeking a resolution from the AFN urging the federal government to invite the United Nations to Canada in order to "investigate racism and systemic bias" in Canada's justice system.
Boushie, a 22-year-old resident of Red Pheasant First Nation, was fatally shot in a Biggar-area farmyard in August of 2016. Farmer Gerald Stanley, who told the jury his pistol misfired during the incident, was acquitted of a charge of second-degree murder in February.
Sunchild, who is supporting Boushie's family in seeking the resolution, said the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples investigates and reports on human rights issues and alleged violations. In a statement, Sunchild said the Boushie family hopes the federal government will "utilize every resource possible to ensure Canada is meeting international standards defined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
The Boushie family raised a number of concerns related to the case and criticized the RCMP's handling of the investigation from the start. They also questioned why there was no apparent Indigenous representation on the jury, and wanted to see the trial held at another location with an out-of-province prosecutor. They were also upset by the absence of an appeal into the controversial verdict.
The family previously made a presentation at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Members of Boushie's family also met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February following the trial, and the federal government introduced legislation to eliminate peremptory challenges in the jury selection process shortly after the meeting.
AFN Regional Chief Bobby Cameron said the UN needs to “address the racism that exists in the justice system, make changes to the justice system, Crown prosecutors, the RCMP, Legal Aid, Queen’s Bench, the judges, the list goes on and on.”
Cameron said there are “changes that need to happen to respect First Nation people across this country." He said the jury selection process change was "a good thing, but there are many more changes that need to be done.”
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