Opinion – Colten Boushie

Justice for Colton Boushie

“The justice system is not broken. It is working exactly how it was intended to.”

On February 9, 2018, Gerald Stanley, the man who was charged with the murder of Colton Boushie, a 22-year old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation, was acquitted. The next day, rallies were held all across Canada in support of Colton Boushie’s family. The one in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was held outside the Court of Queen’s Bench, and around 1000 citizens gathered to protest the verdict. I was one of those people.

It was cold outside, but that was not why I was shaking. Standing outside of the courthouse, I was angry. Angry that our justice system allowed such terrible acts of hate to happen, and I was not the only one. As I looked around the snow covered street, I saw people of all different races, all here because, in the end, we are all human and deserve to be treated as such. A few different speakers took the stage, including Colton Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis. The look of grief on her face broke my heart and the words she spoke caused tears to stain my cheeks. She explained the situation from her point of view.  Afterwards, when I was discussing the rally with some of my peers, it dawned on me the amount of strength that Jade Tootoosis had, coming out to speak on this tragedy.

Out of the many citizens that spoke that day, there was one quote that resonated with me. “The justice system is not broken,” said one of the speakers, “It is working exactly how it was intended to.” This statement sums up in two sentences why the systemic racism that occurs in Canada is not an accident. The system was built in a time where Indigenous peoples were viewed as lesser, and that is where the problem is truly rooted. If we do not change the system, it will not matter how many protests we attend: the same injustices will just happen again.

That is why I ask anyone reading this to take a stand in your community. Spread Colton Boushie’s story and that of his extremely brave and strong family. Help people understand that change starts when we take a stand, because when it comes down to it, one thing is clear. We, as citizens of Canada, have the power to rebuild this country into a more accepting and justice-oriented nation.