Protests Erupt Across Canada After Gerald Stanley Acquitted
February 11, 2018 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Canada is currently working to heal its relationships with First Nations people, but this was dealt a severe blow on Friday when a jury decided to acquit white farmer Gerald Stanley of all charges in the 2016 shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22 year old indigenous man .

The decision has sparked an eruption of protests on social media, and thousands of people have turned out at vigils and rallies across the country.

The defendant's lawyer rejected all indigenous juror candidates, so that his client was tried by an all white jury in front of a white judge in a community that is 40% Indigenous.

The jury had been instructed to find Stanley guilty of murder if they believed he intended to kill. If the jurors determined Stanley was merely careless in discharging the firearm, they could have found him guilty of manslaughter. The defence claimed that the gun went off accidentally after he fired two warning shots.

Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said "In this day and age, when someone can get away with killing somebody, when someone can get away with saying, 'I accidentally walked to the storage shed, I accidentally grabbed a gun out of the storage box and I accidentally walked back to the car and then I accidentally raised my arm in level with the late Colten Boushie's head, then my finger accidentally pushed the trigger' – what a bunch of garbage," said Cameron before tightly-packed crowd.

Although Canadian politicians do not generally express skepticism regarding verdicts, on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott extended their sympathies to the family of Colten Boushie and all of them said that Canada, as a country, needed to do better.
posted by purplesludge (103 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
wow
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:35 AM on February 11


Where did the 40% come from? I only ask because I just now came across another argument (it's a hot topic here in Canada today) where somebody said the indigenous population was just 10%. I probably would have guessed somewhere in between for a rural Saskatchewan area, like 20-30%. I found this census from 2016 citing 22%.
posted by mannequito at 10:38 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


Also worth noting that the trial judge is a former RCMP lawyer who tried to stop an inquiry into this case in the 1990s.

posted by melgy at 10:41 AM on February 11 [10 favorites]


The exact percentage? Well it sure ain't ZERO%, and that's how many indigenous folks were in the jury box, so.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:45 AM on February 11 [71 favorites]


Natives have had violence perpetuated against them by whites for over five hundred years. Why should we expect anything to change?
posted by elsietheeel at 10:54 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Indigenous services minister Jane Philpott all spoke out to say Canada must do better (at delivering justice and fairness in the judicial system for Indigenous Canadians), but Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Conservative former Justice Minister MacKay jumped to label their comments inappropriate and claim they were undermining our justice system by speaking out. Because of course.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:57 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Mannequito - I suspect anyone citing 10% or even 20% is not counting the Red Pheasant Cree Nation reserve where the victim lived as part of "the community."
posted by haruspicina at 11:02 AM on February 11 [9 favorites]


There are 7 reserves surrounding North Battleford. According to the 2016 census, 4990 of 18945 people in the North Battleford census agglomeration claimed aboriginal identity. Looking at the map of the agglomeration, this does not include the 7 reserves.
posted by dttocs at 11:12 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


And yes, whether 25% or 40%, the fact there were 0 indigenous-appearing jurors on the jury (and reports of deliberate exclusion by the defence) is enraging.
posted by dttocs at 11:17 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


The defence claimed that the gun went off accidentally after he fired two warning shots.

Guns do NOT go off accidentally, and there are NO firearms accidents. It's always negligence. The basic rules of firearm safety include, 'keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target", which was not followed, along with "Never point a firearm at someone unless you're ready to kill them.", "Consider ALL firearms to be ALWAYS loaded", and "Know what's behind your target"...
posted by mikelieman at 11:18 AM on February 11 [85 favorites]


Where did the 40% come from? I only ask because I just now came across another argument (it's a hot topic here in Canada today) where somebody said the indigenous population was just 10%. I probably would have guessed somewhere in between for a rural Saskatchewan area, like 20-30%. I found this census from 2016 citing 22%.

The North Battleford population centre was last covered in the census of 2016 and self-reported as 28.9% are Aboriginal - however, every economist in Canada knows our aboriginal populations get undercounted by every census because for very good reasons many Aboriginal people do not trust the government and thus do not respond to the census. So 40% is not an unreasonable estimate.
posted by notorious medium at 11:19 AM on February 11 [11 favorites]


Thanks so much for posting this. Craving some discussion, I checked to see what people are saying on reddit. Top comments are all racist, 'no angel' comments. It makes me so sad.
posted by kitcat at 11:30 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Natives have had violence perpetuated against them by whites for over five hundred years. Why should we expect anything to change?

Ugh. We should expect change because we (white people in colonised lands) have changed. We are not the people who initiated the violence, that was our ancestors. We are the people who now understand the impact, injustice and inhumanity in treating indigenous people as lower class citizens. We, now, are better than our ancestors. Or at least we should be. And if you aren't, then you're part of the problem and should be called out as such.
posted by Thella at 11:34 AM on February 11 [20 favorites]


Ryan McMahon on the verdict...

The Gerald Stanley Verdict Shows There’s No Justice for Indigenous Peoples:

From the time Indigenous kids are able to leave the house and go outside to play in this country, they are warned about going on other people's property and talking back to white people. Kids are urged to stay out of trouble and essentially be invisible in their homelands. Ask any Indigenous person if, when walking on the Rez or in rural areas with their friends, they've ever “hit the ditch” when they heard a vehicle approaching and they'll tell you it's a common practice—something they were told to do when they were kids.

See also: the murder of Barbara Kentner in Thunder Bay.

Jesse Wente:

If you want to see Canada, look at my mentions and many other FNMI peoples mentions today.

That is the mirror to find Canada’s reflection.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:36 AM on February 11 [10 favorites]


For those who haven’t been familiar with this story and may have (like me) found the shorthand in the articles confusing, CBC Canada has a timeline of events.
posted by corb at 11:47 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


This verdict, and the way the defense rejected indigenous jurors, and the trial judge's sketchy track record, and the racist Canadian response, are all enraging. Predictable but enraging.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:59 AM on February 11 [14 favorites]


I was out at one of the vigils yesterday, it was very moving, and also devastatingly familiar from all too many similar vigils and protests. People spoke at the event about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis, about Saskatchewan's history of "starlight tours", the impact of residential schools, and all of the other traumas faced by First Nations, Inuit, and Metis folks. It's so much, and it never stops.

None of this is new, at all, to anyone who's paid any attention, and it's so infuriating to hear people like the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice say, basically, "wow, someone should really do something about this", when they are extremely someone who can do a whole lot about this.
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:00 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]


Most of the news reports talk of Boushie and his friends having a flat tire and looking for assistance. Not many mention they had apparently tried breaking in to a neighbour's truck, and tried to start an ATV on Stanley's property before asking for help. It still in no way justifies Stanley's actions, but it better explains it as self defense instead of pure racism.

While Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, there had been a series of farm break-ins previously. If a group of teens entered my property and tried starting one of my vehicles, I think it's reasonable to assume they had ill intent, not that they were looking for a tire change.

This is a lot more complicated than racism against First Nations people.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:03 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Ugh. We should expect change because we (white people in colonised lands) have changed.

Sorry, I was speaking from a Native perspective. And my point was that white people haven't changed all that much.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:08 PM on February 11 [28 favorites]


The Battleford court where this trial was held is the only regular court north-west of Saskatoon, so the community that it serves (I cannot put big enough air quotes around that word) is much larger than a single town. It is the closest court for everybody in Census Divisions 13, 16 and 17 (respectively 10%, 35% and 33% Aboriginal identity residents per 2016 Census); also for some people in Census Division 12 (16%) and 18 (87%).

Roughly assuming half of these last two CDs, that makes an overall population 36% Aboriginal -- and that's after the chronic undercount; as StatsCan itself says: "the estimates associated with this variable are more affected than most by the incomplete enumeration of certain Indian reserves and Indian settlements in the Census of Population."


While Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, there had been a series of farm break-ins previously. If a group of teens entered my property and tried starting one of my vehicles, I think it's reasonable to assume they had ill intent, not that they were looking for a tire change.

If we are allowed to judge people using knowledge that would only be available in retrospect, if I was in need of help but was going to be shot by some motherfucker then damn sure I'd try start his ATV rather than talking to him face to face.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:12 PM on February 11 [32 favorites]


Most of the news reports talk of Boushie and his friends having a flat tire and looking for assistance. Not many mention they had apparently tried breaking in to a neighbour's truck, and tried to start an ATV on Stanley's property before asking for help. It still in no way justifies Stanley's actions, but it better explains it as self defense instead of pure racism.

While Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, there had been a series of farm break-ins previously. If a group of teens entered my property and tried starting one of my vehicles, I think it's reasonable to assume they had ill intent, not that they were looking for a tire change.

This is a lot more complicated than racism against First Nations people.


If Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, then it's reallyreallyreally peculiar to try and use his non-knowledge of events to try and imply that he was defending himself. Nothing that you said makes this look more complicated that racism against First Nations people.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:14 PM on February 11 [43 favorites]


Yeah, the fact that they had tried to steal a truck on a neighbor’s property is kind of irrelevant, if it was 15k away there’s no way he could possibly have heard about that, he was woken up by them starting his own ATV.
posted by corb at 12:20 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


It still in no way justifies Stanley's actions, but it better explains it as self defense instead of pure racism.

only if one is foolish and naive enough to believe he would have behaved exactly the same way when confronting a group of white kids
posted by poffin boffin at 12:23 PM on February 11 [50 favorites]


Oh, ffs. Read my whole comment. Stanley knew about PRIOR BREAK-INS AT FARMS in the area. Some kids drove onto his property AND TRIED TO START HIS ATV. It doesn't take much to link those two things together. So Stanley could have had a reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property, even without knowing they had actually tried stealing something earlier that day.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:23 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Most of the news reports talk of Boushie and his friends having a flat tire and looking for assistance. Not many mention they had apparently tried breaking in to a neighbour's truck, and tried to start an ATV on Stanley's property before asking for help. It still in no way justifies Stanley's actions, but it better explains it as self defense instead of pure racism.

While Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, there had been a series of farm break-ins previously. If a group of teens entered my property and tried starting one of my vehicles, I think it's reasonable to assume they had ill intent, not that they were looking for a tire change.

This is a lot more complicated than racism against First Nations people.


Now I'm not Canadian, and I'm no expert on Canadian law. But I'm fairly certain that breaking into a truck, and attempting to start an ATV, are not capital crimes warranting on-the-spot execution by a civilian.

"Reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property" doesn't justify or excuse shooting someone in the fucking head.
posted by kafziel at 12:26 PM on February 11 [80 favorites]


So Stanley could have had a reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property, even without knowing they had actually tried stealing something earlier that day.

And the appropriate response is shooting someone in the head?!?
posted by Talez at 12:27 PM on February 11 [31 favorites]


this just came up on my Facebook, a guy named John Liberty (friend of a friend):

I think Stanley was never going to get convicted of murder in the second degree, but I'm genuinely surprised that the racial dynamics of the case managed to even get him out of manslaughter, which the Boushie shooting seems to be, if public reports including the Globe's summary of the police report, are accurate (and I believe they are).

Stanley had no right to be pointing a gun at anyone in the vehicle (you can't use deadly force to defend your property in Canada, except during a home invasion which this was not), and it was his repeated decisions to escalate the situation which led to him shooting Boushie, even if he did so without specific intent through a combination of adrenaline, poor trigger discipline, and complex physical movements. Boushie for his part was an innocent victim who was exercising his right to self-defense by attempting to leave a situation where someone was threatening his life. Boushie didn't commit a crime during the confrontation with Stanley, and the suggestion that any crimes committed by people around him somehow provoked Stanley into shooting him in the back of the head both discounts Stanley's responsibility in escalating the situation and makes Boushie responsible for crimes he did not, in fact, commit.

Trying a white farmer for the murder of an Indigenous youth like Boushie in front of a jury of his fellow white farmers is an analogous situation to trying a white Klansmen in the US south in front of a jury of his fellow Klansmen for the murder of a Black man - they not only won't condemn him, but actually approve the act. Exoneration was not a matter of the facts, but of ethnic identification. The reaction to the Stanley case amongst white farmers has ranged from heaping racist abuse on Indigenous people, declaring false things to be the law in Canada, and essentially threatening a wave of white terrorism if Stanley was not exonerated, demonstrating the role that a white, rural, Anglo-Canadian identity tied to land ownership played in Stanley's verdict.

Five hundred years of cultural genocide and the devaluing and degradation of Indigenous lives in the cause of transferring their land to the ownership of white farmers continues to operate in Canada, producing results like Stanley's exoneration in a court of law.”

posted by philip-random at 12:28 PM on February 11 [69 favorites]


I don't know how many people I see try to justify apparently racist murder of not-whites by saying "well if they didn't want to get shot they shouldn't have done [x]" where x is some minor misdemeanor or criminal mischief.
posted by Talez at 12:29 PM on February 11 [29 favorites]


"So Stanley could have had a reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property"

Why does this matter at all, if the claim is that Colten Boushie's death was accidental?
posted by ddbeck at 12:30 PM on February 11 [19 favorites]


Why does this matter at all, if the claim is that Colten Boushie's death was accidental?

Because everybody, including the judge, every single jurors, and all of us here, knows that Stanley's claim that he fired two warning shots, then removed the magazine, slid the slide so it locked, pulled the trigger to empty the chamber and it didn't fire, then while he was leaning into his car to remove the keys from the SUV his gun accidentally misfired and just coincidentally lined up for a perfect headshot on a kid running away from him, is complete and total bullshit.
posted by kafziel at 12:34 PM on February 11 [47 favorites]


No, I agree. Stanley is guiltyguiltyguilty, no question. He completely over-reacted going for his gun, he "doesn't remember" how many bullets he put in it, he fired several times in the air, the "hang fire" defense concept is ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure he had serious harmful intent. He should be in jail for something, I'm just not sure what.

Boushie being presented as a complete innocent, looking to get a tire fixed, is disingenuous and paints this as a purely racist incident when it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that. There's enough negative relations between First Nations and white Canadians without a story of "racist white farmer shoots FN youth for fun".
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:34 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I think that First Nations folks are the experts on what racism against First Nations people and other ongoing effects of ongoing colonialism, look like, and are the people we should be listening to here.
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:36 PM on February 11 [49 favorites]


it is extremely uncomplicated actually, unless you believe shooting someone in the head is a reasonable response to like, anything.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:39 PM on February 11 [27 favorites]


He said his finger was not on the trigger

The Tokarev then went off.


I admit to not being a gun expert, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t how they work. I’m also pretty sure guns don’t hide themselves afterwards, either.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:40 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Robert Jago:

In the jury box, a dark-haired woman in a short dress, and long hooded sweater jumps up as Stanley passes, and runs off camera herself — getting away from the family and the assembled Indians in the courtroom.

I would like to think that she ran because she was ashamed of what she had just done. But the likelier answer is that she ran for the same reason that she and her fellow members of the all-white jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty for killing 22-year-old Colten Boushie. They were afraid of Indians, especially angry Indians.

And let’s dispense, for a moment, with those words “First Nations” and “Indigenous,” because those imply respect, and progress. Today it is clear that we’re still “Indians.”

“Fights with Native kids were a too-common part of [my friend’s childhood] experience … It’s no overstatement to point out that such kids were, on average, rougher than the white kids, or that they were touchier…”

That is a quote from the best-selling non-fiction book in Canada this week, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Natives are rougher, touchier. The Indians are restless — run.

[...]

These are Canadians who have lived their entire lives hearing excuses for why they don’t need to care about Indians. Why care about tainted drinking water on reserves? “Those greedy chiefs are probably taking the money, those Indians need to sort themselves out first.” Why care about the crisis in Thunder Bay? “It’s Indians killing Indians, Indians drinking too much and falling in the water, what are we supposed to do?” For every problem that Indians face in this country, there is a ready excuse, a fig leaf, to shield Canada from blame.

The defence presented a case that centred around a magic bullet. It is a hard story to believe, but you don’t have to believe it. You don’t need a hard sell to get an addict to buy your meth. And you don’t need a hard sell to push a fig leaf on people who don’t know how to live without one.

If you don’t know how it is that so many reserves live in poverty, or why the prisons are full of our people, or why there are so many suicides, boil-water advisories, why there are so many Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, why any of the dysfunction and failure and tragedy that is the “Indian Problem” in this country exists, look for your answer in the Gerald Stanley verdict.

To find Gerald Stanley guilty, would be to find him responsible for his actions — actions which resulted in the death of Colten Boushie, an Indian. But we don’t do that in this country. White Canada is not responsible for what has happened to Indians.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:40 PM on February 11 [39 favorites]


knows that Stanley's claim that he fired two warning shots, then removed the magazine, slid the slide so it locked, pulled the trigger to empty the chamber and it didn't fire, then while he was leaning into his car to remove the keys from the SUV his gun accidentally misfired

The idea that this guy who fired so infrequently he had sixty year old ammunition in his gun, in the middle of being afraid his wife had been run over by the SUV, dropped the mag and locked the slide and pulled the trigger just to be safe in the middle of running after people who had just crashed into a car on his property is just fucking unreal.

Whether or not he intended to shoot Boushie in the head or was just irresponsible enough to carry his gun with his finger in the trigger well while he went to investigate, I don’t know, but that is what the manslaughter option is for, for when you do idiot things and kill someone when you didn’t mean to.
posted by corb at 12:41 PM on February 11 [24 favorites]


This is a lot more complicated than racism against First Nations people.

Sure the story has lots of other details going on, but the base of it is racism -- from Stanley, from the defense attorney who got an all-white jury, from the judge who let that happen. You can always find details and make things more complicated, and they're always true details and in some ways many of them are relevant details -- but doing that is just adding a new layer of racism.
posted by jeather at 12:43 PM on February 11 [31 favorites]


Boushie being presented as a complete innocent, looking to get a tire fixed, is disingenuous and paints this as a purely racist incident when it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

Zuh???? This seems not very complicated at all- a POC got killed by a white guy, and the POC didn't do anything to warrant getting murdered, so it looks to most people like racism was a factor. If you're trying to make the case for this not being racially motivated, I think you're failing.

Plus, saying/suggesting/implying that Boushie wasn't innocent enough to avoid getting murdered is just straight-up gross, and is the kind of thing that racist people say when POCs get murdered. Probably should avoid saying stuff like that if you don't want people giving you the side-eye forever.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:45 PM on February 11 [36 favorites]


He should be in jail for something, I'm just not sure what.

Probably the murder he committed?
posted by howfar at 12:47 PM on February 11 [35 favorites]


I think that First Nations folks are the experts on what racism against First Nations people and other ongoing effects of ongoing colonialism, look like,

thank you, ITheCosmos. Where I agree with GhostintheMachine that ...

There's enough negative relations between First Nations and white Canadians without a story of "racist white farmer shoots FN youth for fun".

... I'm also pretty damned sure there are very many First Nations people who are capable of seeing the nuances in the situation. In fact, I know there are. Because they're friends (and friends of friends) and they're saying just such stuff.
posted by philip-random at 12:47 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


in general, comments about how the nonwhite victims of crimes weren't perfect flawless irreproachable human beings in the first place do not provide the valuable "food for thought" discussion contributions people seem to believe they will.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:50 PM on February 11 [68 favorites]


Also, arguing “it’s more complicated” is kind of a dead end because it’s always more complicated — hardly anything in life has a singular root cause. I’m not sure I can think of any racially-motivated murder where the race of the victim was the absolute certain sole cause, but in every case it’s such a major factor that arguing that the “complicating factors” make a significant dent in the situation is going to always come across as disingenuous.

I agree with corb that Stanley’s defense is ludicrous, and manslaughter seems the absolute minimum verdict (assuming that there isn’t some special aspect of Canadian Law I’m unaware of). When the all-White jury handed down “not guilty,” the possibility that racism wasn’t the most important factor is pretty much out of the question.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:06 PM on February 11 [17 favorites]


Boushie being presented as a complete innocent, looking to get a tire fixed, is disingenuous and paints this as a purely racist incident when it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.


For the purposes of determining a gunman's guilt, it doesn't matter whether the victim was an angel or not. The circumstances under which one person can legally kill another are very narrowly defined, for good reasons that include things like placing value on human life and maintaining order in society.

If you mean that the discussion should be focused on more than the question of racism, then sure, it could include issues like whether people should legally be able to own guns at all, and so forth. But this shooting didn't take place in a vacuum. To ignore the question of whether the shooter would have felt as threatened by, as aggressive towards, or as entitled to aim a gun at a young man whose looks or dress marked him as a member of a group that he respected or felt was under the strong protection of the law, would be to ignore the elephant in the room.

For a case where a member of a majority kills a member of a minority, is tried by a jury composed entirely of the majority, and is found innocent not only of murder but also of manslaughter to not reasonably be examined primarily through the lens of majority-minority relations, those relations would have to have a substantial history of balanced power, mutual respect, and basically equal conditions in each group. What makes the elephant in this room as unavoidable as it is is the extreme extent to which the relations between white and indigenous Canadians have not met that bar in the past and continue not to meet it today.
posted by trig at 1:20 PM on February 11 [29 favorites]


Can someone please explain "hang fire" as it applies here? I've tried googling the term but it doesn't help me understand how the jury might have seen things.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:22 PM on February 11


Some thoughts about "accidental shootings" by a gun owner on Facebook, who wrote this using the pseudonym account "Punky Wildcard":

I've been around guns since I was 12. I've never had or ever heard of someone having a hang fire.

That being said, if my gun accidentally went off and shot someone, you know how the police would have found me? Covered in that man's blood, applying pressure to his wound, doing CPR or mouth-to-mouth. I would have dragged his body out of the truck, my wife would have him wrapped in blankets, we'd both probably be screaming or crying, riddled with unbearable grief.

And if he was dead straight away, I would still be there holding him in my arms, praying for him. I don't know how I would ever live with myself after that....

You know how the police found the Stanleys? Sitting around their kitchen table having a cup of fresh brew. His pistol was even safe and sound in its case. That means he took better care of his gun than that dying man.

You think on that and then you ask yourself if racism was a factor.

If this was an accident, that family's response sure didn't look like one. It looked like a man who felt his actions were justified but in this country, we don't use the death penalty to respond to perceived misdemeanors. This whole thing is sickening. That family deserves justice so Colten Boushie can rest in peace. We all need that.

We need to account for the type of bias in our society that leads a white family to assume a bunch of Native kids are up to no good, instead of instinctively wondering if they need help. Instead of smashing their windshield with a hammer before they've even announced their business on our property.

We need to take responsibility for racism. If we keep doubting its very existence, how can we ever fight it?

From "Punky Wildcard", via Facebook
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:26 PM on February 11 [112 favorites]


In this context, the argument is that he pulled the trigger and [something happened] and it took a while before the bullet left the gun, due to a gun malfunction.
posted by jeather at 1:28 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I've been job hunting for a while now and have been tempted by some postings in SK. I've got to say I'm a lot less tempted now. Not that BC is any racism free zone but man this is really out there.

elsietheeel: "Natives have had violence perpetuated against them by whites for over five hundred years. Why should we expect anything to change?"

Because this is modern Canada and we are expecting better?

GhostintheMachine: "Oh, ffs. Read my whole comment. Stanley knew about PRIOR BREAK-INS AT FARMS in the area. Some kids drove onto his property AND TRIED TO START HIS ATV. It doesn't take much to link those two things together. So Stanley could have had a reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property, even without knowing they had actually tried stealing something earlier that day."

There is no castle doctrine in Canada; someone stealing your property does not give you licence to use lethal (or non-lethal for that matter) force.
posted by Mitheral at 1:30 PM on February 11 [18 favorites]


Some kids drove onto his property AND TRIED TO START HIS ATV. It doesn't take much to link those two things together. So Stanley could have had a reasonable belief that they were trying to steal his property.

If so, the reasonable response is to call the cops. There is no reasonable justification for executing, or even brandishing guns at, unarmed people who are fleeing with your property.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:35 PM on February 11 [18 favorites]


This verdict is so completely wrong, I can hardly believe it. Did we just experience a time warp? There is no excuse for waving a gun at a bunch of teenagers. It is so obviously a case of manslaughter, there was no question in my mind that would be the conclusion. As a Canadian, I am appalled.
posted by Enid Lareg at 1:37 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


ThatCanadianGirl: "Can someone please explain "hang fire" as it applies here?"

Sometimes when the firing pin hits the primer the primer doesn't ignite. Usually the primer is dead for some reason and you just eject the shell harmlessly on the ground. Sometimes though the primer does fire after a delay of a few seconds. So you are trained in firearms course to kept the business end pointed in a safe direction for 30s to a minute and then eject the cartridge (still keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction).

I don't think anyone actually believes that is what happened in this case.

pseudostrabismus: "I've been around guns since I was 12. I've never had or ever heard of someone having a hang fire."

I've had them usually with crappy Chinese .22 ammo. Handled properly it's no more of a big deal than dropping a tin of beans and denting it.
posted by Mitheral at 1:37 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


When you talk about whether it's racism or not because he knew or had reason to know that somebody was maybe going to steal his ATV--for me, I think about the differences in communities where I've lived that have significant minority populations and how white people in those communities behave when they think their property is going to be stolen, and how people in almost-entirely-white areas behave. How often do white people in 2018, even gun owners, actually consider shooting trespassers who aren't inside their homes? In my experience, at least, if the person causing trouble in the area is presumed to be white, then you do a lot of griping about how the neighbor's methhead kid is probably the one who broke into your garage, you file a police report, whatever. But the perceived level of threat of intruders seems to be heavily related to how much the person in question thinks the intruder might be nonwhite, whether a person from their local area or someone who's arrived from elsewhere.

I'm sure there are still folks out there who think it's reasonable to shoot kids for stealing your apples, but for the most part, people don't seem to think like that anymore.
posted by Sequence at 1:39 PM on February 11 [8 favorites]


Not that BC is any racism free zone but man this is really out there.

Yeah it's really not.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:41 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I am willing to believe Stanley legitimately thought they were intruders who were going to steal his ATV. Doesn't make the story less racist.
posted by jeather at 1:53 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]


[Couple comments removed. GhostintheMachine, it's too late at this point to practically clean up the mess that grew out of your early comments in the thread but you definitely need to be done with the thread at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:54 PM on February 11 [12 favorites]


About complications: Imagine a car full of white people drove onto a rez, started up an atv, and got shot by an Indian. Any chance in hell he’d be acquitted?
posted by rodlymight at 3:02 PM on February 11 [12 favorites]


'Anatomy of a hang-fire': Gun expert cross-examined at Stanley Trial [Feb 2nd 2018]
"[RCMP Forensic Firearms Specialist Greg Williams] told the jury a hang-fire is a firing delay caused by faulty or degraded ammunition, resulting in "a noticeable delay from 'click' until 'bang,'"

...

"Williams said hang-fires are extremely rare. As a firearms expert who has fired thousands of rounds, the witness said he never experienced the phenomenon. When they do occur, Williams said, the delay between the trigger pull and firing is typically very brief.

"My estimate would be half a second at the most," he said.

There are numerous anecdotal accounts of hang-fires lasting several seconds, [defence lawyer Scott Spencer] noted, though Williams said hang-fires are the subject of widespread myths, and the scientific research found hang-fires lasted about a quarter-second.

"The longest example I read about was 280 milliseconds' delay," Williams said."
posted by Secret Sparrow at 3:04 PM on February 11 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:07 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]


.
posted by parki at 3:19 PM on February 11


The amount of "they weren't exactly innocent" or "they were drunk!" or "no one was a winner here" tweets I read today paled in comparison to the number explicit, disgustingly racist tweets directed at every indigenous person I follow. And I'm supposed to be all YAY CANADA about the fucking Olympics. I feel sick. This is Canada. This country is fucking broken and awful.
posted by chococat at 3:26 PM on February 11 [21 favorites]


chococat: And I'm supposed to be all YAY CANADA about the fucking Olympics. I feel sick. This is Canada. This country is fucking broken and awful.

Almost every nice thing that you can say about Canada can be amended with an asterisk that says, "except for indigenous people." Canada has great healthcare! *except for indigenous people. Canada was founded on principles of respect and equality! *except for indigenous people. Canadians believe that those in need should get extra help! *except for indigenous people. Canadians believe in fair application of the law! *except for indigenous people.
posted by clawsoon at 3:39 PM on February 11 [44 favorites]


Look, if the kid didn't want to be shot for no good reason, he should have been white. You'd be amazed the kind of ridiculous shit you can get away with, as long as you're clearly white while doing it.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:55 PM on February 11 [10 favorites]


I've been around guns since I was 12. I've never had or ever heard of someone having a hang fire."

I have seen and heard of people having significant firing problems such as hang fire, usually with shitty ammunition. I don’t know whether or not this is what happened with his ridiculously old ammunition or not. But the thing is - if you are familiar with guns, you don’t point them even when you think they are empty at people or things you are not, at a core level, willing to shoot. It is a huge what the fuck, among shooters, when people point even empty guns in the general direction of other people.

By allowing his gun to be pointed at another human being he supposedly did not intend to kill, he showed at the least, what I would call “a reckless disregard for human life”.

Or as Canadian manslaughter law puts it, “the homicide was the result of an act or a failure to act that showed wanton or reckless disregard for the lives of others.”

As the poster quoted above notes, if you accidentally fire at someone you didn’t mean to kill and don’t want to be dead, you leap into action. You try to save them. You call 911 (or the Canadian equivalent) and say “I need an ambulance.”

I don’t know what he intended, but his actions afterwards certainly don’t seem as though he regretted it much after.
posted by corb at 3:57 PM on February 11 [20 favorites]


Those interested in the situation that led to this death can find more here:

Some details from the prosecutor's account:
Stanley was working on a fence at his cattle farm near Biggar, Sask., when a car was heard loudly coming onto the property.... the car, a dirt-strewn 2003 Ford Escape SUV with a rim but no front tire, approached a truck that had been dropped off at the farm for Stanley to work on. Someone got out of the SUV and got into the truck.... Someone got out of the car and tried to start an ATV, which spurred Sheldon Stanley to yell at the people in the SUV.... Rain during the days after Boushie's death washed blood from the SUV door and ground where Boushie's body lay covered by a tarp to protect against rain....
and here:
The car they were riding in had a flat tire and they pulled into the yard of a local farmer named Gerald Stanley. What happened next is uncertain.....
Canada's shabby record regarding treatment of indigenous people is no worse than anywhere else in North or South America. The disease goes back for centuries, and what happens next has never been uncertain. That won't change until the dominant culture accepts complete responsibility for its part in creating the mess.
posted by Twang at 4:46 PM on February 11


About complications: Imagine a car full of white people drove onto a rez, started up an atv, and got shot by an Indian. Any chance in hell he’d be acquitted?

In general when indigenous people arm themselves in defense of their property or their lives they are exterminated by an army of white people.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:52 PM on February 11 [18 favorites]


Growing up on farms out west, the kind of petty fucking around, driving around farms, fiddling with property, even stealing every so often, is so common. Every white kid who did this sort of thing and got caught--no cops called, sometimes the farmer would call a family member, sometimes they would have to work out the damage, but no one was arrested and no one was shot.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:56 PM on February 11 [19 favorites]


How Martin Heavy Head dealt with people taking his stuff (spoiler: he didn’t murder them.)
posted by chococat at 6:03 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


Is there any way the victim's family can appeal the verdict, on the grounds of unfair jury or anything else?
posted by emjaybee at 6:27 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


One minor detail I picked up from background reading was that Colten Boushie was probably a US citizen. He moved from Montana to Saskatchewan to try and help his poorer family members on the Reserve there. This is not unheard of for members of tribes whose traditional homelands straddle the international border.

So heartbreaking to read that he repeatedly told his Canadian relatives that things were better in Missoula and he didn't encounter nearly as much prejudice in the USA and felt he was treated more equally by whites in MONTANA than in Canada. Ouch.

As for the major facts of the case... I can't even. Such a tragedy. I have learned so much from reading this thread. So many different experiences and worldviews from the commenters. It helps me change my own thinking and my heart in a way that almost nothing else does.

But what a horrible way to have a conversation about racism and homicide. Our words are written in this young man's blood.
posted by seasparrow at 6:48 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


In my theoretical happier and more just world, the appropriate punishment for starting someone else's ATV or being rude to a store owner and stealing cigars or selling looseys without a license is not fucking death.
posted by xyzzy at 6:58 PM on February 11 [6 favorites]


there's a gofundme for the legal costs for the Stanley family. it has raised a lot. so, so gross.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:43 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


.
posted by daybeforetheday at 7:50 PM on February 11


Thanks for the clarification elsietheeel. Your comment makes a lot of sad sense in the revised context.
posted by Thella at 9:18 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


We should expect change because we (white people in colonised lands) have changed...We, now, are better than our ancestors. Or at least we should be. 

That's getting the direction of fit wrong. As long as grotesque injustice persists, those of us who are settlers have proven that we are not better than our ancestors. We should do better, as they should have done better, but they didn't and we don't.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:26 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


In general when indigenous people arm themselves in defense of their property or their lives they are exterminated by an army of white people.

Yes that is the truth.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:31 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


That's getting the direction of fit wrong. As long as grotesque injustice persists, those of us who are settlers have proven that we are not better than our ancestors. We should do better, as they should have done better, but they didn't and we don't.

Yes, they should have done better but they can't, now. Their behaviour should influence us only so far as to inform us to the injustices done. The direction fit is right because it is the only realistic one, the only direction toward recognition of wrongs and realignment of attitudes. We, now, can't change what our ancestors did, or remove the privileges we white people on colonised lands enjoy because of those injustices. We can only work to correct the wrongs still suffered by current generations, and remove the possibility that they be suffered by generations in the future.
posted by Thella at 12:14 AM on February 12


In the US and Canada, PoC are always treated as inhuman and violent monsters by gun nuts and cops. It's built into the extremely racist fabric of the the former colonies. They must always be perfect angels lest the shootings be justified, and even that isn't enough. Children like Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice must be inherently violent, and thus worthy of being shot. Listening to rap music, playing in a park, just walking home...to these people any activity, or really just their existence itself is a death penalty. Even in death defamed and further dehumanized. Remember how gun nuts tried six ways from Sunday to prove that Martin was on drugs and therefore must have been a threat to his community, even though it would have been 100% impossible to tell when Zimmerman started running him down? And that doesn't even get into the more vile character assassinations that they tried on him afterwords.

So I'm utterly unsurprised that the same thing happened here, in a jury of the murderer's peers but not the victim's. Of course they came up with whatever extenuating circumstances they could, whatever suspicious or criminal act that made this murder justified. As Charlie Pierce is found of saying, " of course this isn't about race, because it's never about race." None of these white people are likely to come to grips with their racism, because they don't want to admit their complicity in what is ultimately a genocide, however slow moving it may be. It's made worse by the fact that both countries have gun cultures that make guns a hammer that is always in need of a nail. Thus, the rest of us are forced to live in the world of the violently paranoid, wannabe vigilantes, and in many cases just plain trigger-happy racists.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:04 AM on February 12 [11 favorites]


The defence claimed that the gun went off accidentally after he fired two warning shots.

“I fired the gun twice to demonstrate that I was willing and able to shoot him. Then I pulled the trigger a third time, and there was an incredibly rare and unexpected malfunction, which resulted in him being shot.” While it’s nearly certain that Stanley’s racism was a major factor in Boushie’s death, the bigger problem is the societal racism that lets someone with this transparently false defense be found not guilty.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:08 AM on February 12 [22 favorites]


I'm from the American South originally where racism against black people was part of my day to day existence growing up (and I'm always struck by how it still is when I go home to visit family; I forget how starkly segregated the South remains), and while there is a ton to recommend about Canada, it is equally horrifying and depressing that white Canadians have this massive fucking blindspot about First Nations, Inuit, and Meti people.

Gerard Stanley should have been convicted, full stop. That he wasn't speaks volumes about how Canada sees its Indigenous residents.
posted by Kitteh at 5:52 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


> Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Conservative former Justice Minister MacKay jumped to label their comments inappropriate and claim they were undermining our justice system by speaking out. Because of course.

The jury selection, trial and verdict are all a travesty and miscarriage of justice, but I do question whether it's appropriate for any politician to publicly cast doubt upon the results of individual trials. That said, the Conservatives are probably licking their chops over this opportunity to use anti-Indigenous racism (which is Canada's greatest shame as a nation) as a wedge in the next election.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:45 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


it is equally horrifying and depressing that white Canadians have this massive fucking blindspot about First Nations, Inuit, and Meti people.

Oh. It's worse. We will act all smug and enlightened because we don't have racism like you guys.

Is so gross.
posted by jonnay at 6:49 AM on February 12 [8 favorites]


The part about "two warning shots" stuck with me, because in Florida Marissa Alexander was hounded by an aggressive prosecutor for firing **ONE** warning shot and neither killing nor injuring anyone, the prosecutor wanted her in prison for 20+ years.

Maybe Canadian law allows warning shots. But either way its telling, white people get one set of rules, everyone else gets a different, harsher, set of rules. If Boushie had been armed, and on seeing Stanley approaching him with a gun had shot Stanley and claimed self defense, does anyone imagine Boushie would be a free man today? I'm fairly sure Boushie wouldn't have even lived to get a trial, he'd probably have been shot by the police while "resisting arrest".

While Stanley didn't know about the attempted break-in, there had been a series of farm break-ins previously. If a group of teens entered my property and tried starting one of my vehicles, I think it's reasonable to assume they had ill intent, not that they were looking for a tire change.


Well heck, if that's the standard than Boushie should have just shot Stanley right off, given the long history white people have of murdering First Nations people and taking their property. Hell, Stanley was living on, and claiming ownership, of land stolen from First Nations people. So by that standard Boushie could have killed Stanley for theft, right?
posted by sotonohito at 7:08 AM on February 12 [9 favorites]


Maybe Canadian law allows warning shots.

IANAL, and perhaps Canadian law-talking Mefites can weigh in on this, but Canadian law generally takes a dim view of using guns in this way. Depending on the circumstances, in Canada, warning shots are likely than not to get someone charged with careless use of a firearm at minimum. Even pointing a gun at someone, outside of a very narrow set of "lawful purposes" doesn't usually fly.

Here's the relevant section of the Criminal Code. Here's a little more background on how these offences are generally treated here.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:11 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


All of which is to say that absent grounds for appeal on the murder charge, the Crown and the RCMP could conceivably take a run at Stanley on firearms charges - it's a poor substitute for real justice, but it's at least something. But that would require a level of concern above and beyond what this system is set up to accord to First Nations people in this country.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:15 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Folks might be interested in listening to the latest episode of Media Indigena's podcast (the website is down right now, hence the Twitter link). You can find it through your preferred podcast app. Can't seem to locate transcripts for it, though.

Link to all episodes here.

A couple of episodes that are highly relevant right now:

Episode 101: How Canadian Media put Indigenous Victims on Trial

Episode 98: Peering into the Playbook for White Denial of Indigenous Injury
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:25 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


"How many times we gotta be told we ain't shit? We get the fucking message." -- A young black American, circa 2013 after yet another acquittal -- thanks to a flimsy excuse and racist jury -- for a white person who murdered an unarmed PoC

Looks like it's a worldwide goddamn phenomenon.

.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:28 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Canada was founded on principles of respect and equality! *except for indigenous people. Canadians believe that those in need should get extra help! *except for indigenous people.

Yes this. My grandmother is Native, and while I'm white-passing and recognize the privilege that brings, having lived in the US and Canada the biggest difference I noticed between the two countries is that white people in the US by and large don't pretend they solved racism. In Québec City, where I lived, people fancy themselves as very tolerant and cosmopolitan and all, but due in part to the spanking the Mohawks handed Québec during the Oka Uprising, these very same people had a lot of shockingly ugly things to say about Native people. Comedians playing up gross stereotypes about us, even in the early 2000s, was not uncommon. This was even more shocking, to me, as a lot of Quebecois see themselves as displaced and marginalized people within their own country.

In a way it reminds me of what people say about the difference between the South and the North in the US; the racism in the South is overt, but up North it's all the more galling because white people there pretend they're not racist, but totally are.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:37 AM on February 12 [15 favorites]


A GoFundMe page for the Boushie family was set up by the Indigenous Joint Action Coalition (IJAC) student group at the University of Saskatchewan. According to the page, "All funds raised will go to the Boushie/Baptiste Family - care of Colten's mother, Debbie - to support them in their time of mourning and healing, and on their journey for justice."
posted by purplesludge at 8:59 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Maybe Canadian law allows warning shots.

One of the previous articles linked seemed to suggest that - it said the prosecutor and defense both agreed he was legally able to fire the two warning shots, given the circumstances, but what happened afterwards was the disputed bit.

I’m kind of on two minds on warning shots - while they can be an effective deterrent on a force ladder and prevent people from actually being shot, most of the time they’re deployed by idiots like this who have no idea what they’re actually doing with a gun or how close they can safely aim to people or what the purpose of warning shots is. See the other two who ran saying that the warning shots seemed pretty close to them while they were running, which means that the warning shots seem more intended to prevent them escaping (not justifiable, imho) rather than to deter them from doing harm on the farm.
posted by corb at 9:00 AM on February 12


most of the time they’re deployed by idiots like this who have no idea what they’re actually doing with a gun

I beg your pardon, but this man knew exactly what he was doing with his gun. We know that, because he used it to execute a human being, and then used the correct (yet wildly implausible) jargon to pretend it was an accident.

All the jurors knew this too.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:20 AM on February 12 [17 favorites]


Per HuffPost Canada: Gerald Stanley GoFundMe Fundraiser Won't Be Removed, Company Says
"Given the jury verdict, this campaign does not violate our terms of service," GoFundMe spokeswoman Rachel Hollis told HuffPost Canada in an email.
That's quite the copout, given that said terms of service bar (emphasis added)
campaigns deemed by GoFundMe, in its sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases.
GoFundMe could ban the Gerald Stanley fundraiser if it wanted to; there's no (good) reason for it the platform to cite the acquittal as prima facie evidence that the killing of Colten Boushie wasn't rooted in racism.
posted by virago at 9:42 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


See the other two who ran saying that the warning shots seemed pretty close to them while they were running, which means that the warning shots seem more intended to prevent them escaping (not justifiable, imho) rather than to deter them from doing harm on the farm.

It seems more likely that what it actually means is that the first two shots weren't warning shots, but rather attempts to murder fleeing victims which the other two were lucky enough to survive. I wonder how the racists of the jury would have justified accepting whatever bullshit excuse would have been offered up for a triple murder.
posted by howfar at 9:52 AM on February 12


lord_wolf: "How many times we gotta be told we ain't shit? We get the fucking message." -- A young black American, circa 2013 after yet another acquittal -- thanks to a flimsy excuse and racist jury -- for a white person who murdered an unarmed PoC. Looks like it's a worldwide goddamn phenomenon.

Black slaves and Indigenous people both didn't get a choice about their participation in the colonization of the Americas, and the descendants of both groups are treated as if they still don't deserve to be respected as citizens and humans.
posted by clawsoon at 10:07 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


I don't understand how he wasn't at least found guilty of manslaughter, he had a gun to threaten them, accident or not, burglary or not, he's responsible for bringing the gun shots in the situation and taking the Boushie's life.

Did the crown attorney focus too much on getting the murder verdict and screw the pooch on manslaughter?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 10:36 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]



WaterAndPixels: "I don't understand how he wasn't at least found guilty of manslaughter,"

I don't think you have to look deeper than capital R racism.
posted by Mitheral at 5:18 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I mean, it shouldn't be surprising or shocking but COME THE FUCK ON.

The "Nation to Nation" relationship, as promised by Justin Trudeau has not materialized. Instead, it's anodyne talk of "reconciliation," when in fact said reconciliation is nothing without truth.

But this is a pretty identifiable pattern. Hell, it could even be familial. Well, I can say this. White families in Canada? They believe in anti-indigenous racism wholeheartedly in vast numbers. Mine does. I yell and scream about that all the time. I fight it.

Did I say familial? Yeah. This is a system that has worked exactly as it has been intended to. Trudeau père and Jean Chrétien did this:

Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy (The White Paper, 1969)
>Presented to the First Session of the Twenty-eighth Parliament
by the Honourable Jean Chrétien,
Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development

To be an Indian is to be a man, with all a man's needs and abilities. To be an Indian is also to be different. It is to speak different languages, draw different pictures, tell different tales and to rely on a set of values developed in a different world.

Canada is richer for its Indian component, although there have been times when diversity seemed of little value to many Canadians.

But to be a Canadian Indian today is to be someone different in another way. It is to be someone apart - apart in law, apart in the provision of government services and, too often, part in social contacts.

To be an Indian is to lack power - the power to act as owner of your lands, the power to spend your own money and, too often, the power to change your own condition.

Not always, but too often, to be an Indian is to be without - without a job, a good house, or running water; without knowledge, training or technical skill and, above all, without those feelings of dignity and self-confidence that a man must have if he is to walk with his head held high.

All these conditions of the Indians are the product of history and have nothing to do with their abilities and capacities. Indian relations with other Canadians began with special treatment by government and society, and special treatment has been the rule since Europeans first settled in Canada. Special treatment has made of the Indians a community disadvantaged and apart.

Obviously, the course of history must be changed.

To be an Indian must be to be free - free to develop Indian cultures in an environment of legal, social and economic equality with other Canadians.


But they did nothing to change the "course of history." The "special treament" notion remains to this day. But the "special treatment" Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Jean Chrétien were referring to was poisoned drinking water, residential schools, and cultural genocide. At this time, the 60s scoop was happening - some of those indigenous children were sold - yes, sold - after being abducted by the Canadian government, to families abroad. "Special treatment," indeed.

But erasing the legal Indian? This was something they wanted to do, and desperately. But, as Tom King notes, since they had no use for live ones, but it didn't much matter, because they were dying off.

So Trudeau and Chrétien were never able to get rid of the "legal Indian," to use Tom King's formulation. But the live ones - there were ways of still getting this done, though. And the machine is still working at it. Gerald Stanley is one small - if inefficient - little mechanism in the machine. If you click on that link to the 1969 White Paper above for the next little while, you'll get this message:

This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. During this transformation, you may wish to consult the updated Indigenous and Northern Affairs home page or the newly-created Indigenous Services Canada home page.

That little disclaimer is part of a larger story. What Trudeau fils and his coterie did was decide, fairly recently, that they were going to bifurcate INAC into two separate departments. But do you know how a bunch of First Nations across Canada found out?

Like so:

Following the news of the overhaul, I visited and spoke with staff at the Kwantlen, Katzie, and Kwikwetlem First Nations band offices to discuss their views and expectations of the two new ministries. What I found was that my questions were the first band office staff were hearing about the reforms. Band office staff on one reserve searched faxes, letters, call records, and emails and found no communication from government about a change to our basic system of governance. As far as I could tell, there has been no apparent strategy to communicate with, let alone get the consent of, First Nations. “I work in lands and resources,” said one staffer of the change, “and only found out about the change via Twitter the day it happened.”

But that was by design. Because it is not the nation-to-nation relationship Justin Trudeau was banging on about.

So it goes. And this goes back to Trudeau pére, and Trudeau fils really needs to go fuck off and learn his goddamn history because his rhetoric is empty.

Case in point - the "special treatment" accorded to First Nations under the Trudeau pére regime:

Cord blood, blood and hair tests show mercury exposure in Grassy Narrows

Mon., Feb. 12, 2018
GRASSY NARROWS FIRST NATION, Ont.—Chrissy Swain was one of hundreds of infants on this reserve who, between 1970 and 1992, had their umbilical cord blood tested for mercury by the federal government.

While Health Canada stored the data for decades in boxes in its archives, Swain, who only recently received her test results, grew up with problems that could be attributed to mercury poisoning. Her mother took her to a doctor as a toddler because she was clumsy. Into adulthood, her hands began to tingle. Today, she can’t open bottles.

Swain’s reading showed a mercury concentration of 17.5 parts per billion (ppb) — more than double the level that Health Canada currently finds concerning — and would trigger additional testing and dietary advice for children and women under 50, according to the regulator. It is three times higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:15 PM on February 12 [9 favorites]


“I fired the gun twice to demonstrate that I was willing and able to shoot him. Then I pulled the trigger a third time, and there was an incredibly rare and unexpected malfunction, which resulted in him being shot. and shot him.”

With the background of the attempted theft of the SUV, it sounds like the accused declared he had means, motive, and opportunity. There is something about those three terms that rings a bell.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:44 PM on February 12 [5 favorites]




RCMP Facebook group message states that Colton Boushie "got what he deserved."
A private Facebook group used by police officers across Canada shows shocking messages in support of Gerald Stanley’s acquittal. The most offensive comments, which are sure to further inflame the racism debate accompanying the outcome of last week’s trial, were posted by an officer APTN News has been told is a serving member of the RCMP on the Prairies.

“This should never have been allowed to be about race…crimes were committed and a jury found the man not guilty in protecting his home and family,” the post said of the second-degree murder trial into the death of Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan. "Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved.”

Two sources shared screenshots of the post with APTN and disclosed the officer’s identity. APTN is not naming the officer or detachment at this time. However, the officer claims to police a First Nations’ community.

“How many of us work on or near reserves and are getting fed up with the race card being used every time someone gets caught breaking the law?” continued the post. "The CC (Criminal Code) is there to protect the criminals and there’s a growing wave of hard working people who are sick of being victims of crime without real justice.”
Victims of crime without real justice indeed. The irony is rich. I'm frankly disgusted, terrified, and yet not shocked that an RCMP officer would write something like that--the racism is baked into the system.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:02 PM on February 16 [5 favorites]


When will cops learn not to have private FB groups where they feel free to prove what racist dickheads they truly are? SacPD or SacSheriffs (can't remember which, might be both, might be shared) has one as well and FB won't remove it, despite Sacramento BLM reporting it over and over and over. I've reported it myself and FB says it doesn't violate their TOS. FB sure seems to loooooove racism!
posted by elsietheeel at 12:08 PM on February 16


Gerald Stanley’s 'magical gun’: The extremely unlikely defence that secured his acquittal - For Gerald Stanley’s version of events to make sense, two improbable things had to occur simultaneously

This part of the whole phenomenon - that rather than use "self-defence," Stanley's legal defence opted for "accident," is quite something. The thing being that the "accident" postulated is not really possible.

Anyway, this gets discussed in greater detail in episode 102 of the Media Indigena podcast. It really seems like they were banking on the jury feeling like it was self defence so they were willing to swallow the actual defence they were asked to decide on, even though it was bullshit on its face: "accident." It's way fucked up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:31 PM on February 16 [2 favorites]


Thank you, metafilter, for facilitating this conversation, and thank you to those calling out racism for what it is here up in Canada.

And yeah, +1 observation of scapegoating of Indians by "displaced and marginalized" Quebecois.
posted by human ecologist at 8:34 PM on February 19


Speaking of Quebec, Rocks at Whisky Trench (Youtube link here) is a must-watch. As a side note, Alanis Obomsawin is now 85 and still going. Here's a recent audio interview with her. Don't forget Incident at Restigouche.

And at this point, it's hard not to think plus ça change.

We're getting close to 30 years since the standoff in Kanehsatake. A Canadian soldier stabbed a 14 year old girl in the chest using the bayonet fixed on his rifle. The girl was carrying her 4-year-old sister at the time. Angry white Quebecers stoned cars carrying children from Kanehsatake (this is what Rocks at Whisky Trench is about).

But believe me - this is not Quebec-specific - the place in Ontario where I was born (southwestern Ontario) and where my inlaws are (northwestern Ontario) all contain the exact same level of racism that could immediately precipitate a Rocks-at-Whisky-Trench-style racist attack or a Gerald Stanley-style acquittal, so this isn't all on Quebec - not by a long shot. Although the irony of Quebec's aggrieved status is palpable.

When will cops learn not to have private FB groups where they feel free to prove what racist dickheads they truly are?

I guess it's the level of transparency we're afforded? Because the police forces in question certainly don't provide that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:42 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


In which the RCMP couldn't be bothered to find a tarp...

RCMP 'sloppy' and 'negligent' in investigating Colten Boushie's death, say independent experts

By the time forensic teams arrived on Aug. 11 with a warrant, more than 40 millimetres of rain had soaked the vehicle, washing away valuable blood evidence and potential gunpowder residue.

Heroux later testified that the vehicle was so drenched it had to air-dry for a day before the RCMP could process it.

"Your main concern is preserving the evidence, preserving the scene," said Davis. He said failing to do so is unacceptable.

"Somebody should have had the wherewithal to have gotten a tarp of some sort to protect that car," he said. "For a blood spatter expert to come and look at something like this, what would be the point? It's been contaminated — the blood pattern, everything has been washed away."

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:10 PM on March 6


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