The family of Colten Boushie says they’ve gotten exactly what they had hoped from their trip to Ottawa where they met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his cabinet ministers.
And that is a commitment from the Trudeau government to change the justice system.
“There was a general consensus that there are systemic issues regarding Indigenous people in the judicial system,” said Jade Tootoosis, Boushie’s cousin Tuesday afternoon. “Each person has promised to work with us to make concrete changes within the justice system.
“That’s exactly what we came here for.”
More from the press conference that took place in Ottawa
After meeting ministers Jane Philpott and Carolyn Bennett on Monday, Boushie’s spoke with Trudeau, as well as Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale Tuesday.
“I thanked them for their thoughtful sharing of the story and the difficulties they faced with both the justice system and with the police,” Trudeau said following the meeting. “They are very much focused on making sure that we have improvements to our system so that no family has to go through the kinds of things they went through.”
Raybould said it was a “very honest, very emotional” meeting.
“I don’t know if the right word is hopeful but they reflected broadly on the criminal justice system and how we need to build relationships and work together to make improvements to the criminal justice system from speaking about all actors, whether it be in the courts, in corrections,” said Wilson-Raybould.
An all-white jury found Gerald Stanley, a white farmer in Battleford, Sask., not-guilty in Boushie’s death on Friday. The verdict sparked cross-country rallies and calls for an overhaul of the criminal justice system.
Wilson-Raybould said the government will have more details about a justice review in “the near future.”
Meanwhile, Goodale echoed condemnations for the racist comments that have flooded social media in the days following the verdict.
“There is absolutely no place for that in a province like Saskatchewan or anywhere else,” Goodale, who represents the Regina-Wascana riding, told reporters. “We all have to recognize our common interest in peaceful, secure safe communities and all of the forces and factors that go into creating those kinds of communities. We’re all in this together and we need to work very carefully together.”
Boushie’s relatives have said RCMP officers were insensitive and initially treated family members like suspects on the day of his death Aug. 9, 2016. Goodale said the independent Civilian Review for Complaints and Commission is looking into it.