The Gerald Stanley verdict is a blow to reconciliation—and a terrifying one at that -

The Gerald Stanley verdict is a blow to reconciliation—and a terrifying one at that

Analysis: White Canadians must know this verdict deepens Indigenous peoples’ distrust in the system, which offers no justice to Colten Boushie


Michelle Stewart, a supporter of the Boushie family, looks at a sign and photo of Colten Boushie in front of the Court of Queen’s Bench THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

It took 15 hours of deliberation, and in that time reconciliation with Indigenous peoples has taken a great leap backward. For many, the ruling in the Gerald Stanley trial suggests a terrifying reality, one where in the eyes of Canada’s justice system it is okay to shoot and kill an unarmed Indigenous man. Stanley, a farmer in rural Saskatchewan, has been found not guilty in the killing of Colten Boushie by a jury consisting entirely of white people in a high-profile case, whose outcome, far from serving justice, may now prove a breaking point in the already frayed thread of trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Stanley was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from the Red Pheasant First Nation. For Boushie’s family and their supporters a conviction on that charge, or a downgrade to manslaughter was the best outcome they could hope for. An acquittal, of course, was the best that Stanley and his family could hope for. It all hung on what happened on the day Boushie was killed.

On Aug. 9, 2016, Boushie and four friends pulled up to Stanley’s farm in Biggar, Sask. They had spent the day drinking and swimming. On the drive home, Cassidy Cross-Whitstone, the driver of the group’s vehicle, punctured a tire and drove onto a farm, attempting to steal a truck. When that failed, the group came upon Stanley’s farm, where one of the men attempted to start an ATV on the property.

 RELATED: No rural Prairie dwellers, you can’t shoot to protect your property

Stanley and his son, Sheldon, were outside working on a fence when the group pulled up. During his testimony, Sheldon said he chased a man off the ATV before smashing the vehicle’s windshield with a hammer as it tried to back out of the yard. With one tire shredded, the vehicle crashed into Stanley’s wife’s car and came to a halt. Stanley, meanwhile, testified that, fearing for the safety of his wife and son, he went into his shed to grab a semi-automatic handgun. He told court he didn’t remember how many shells he loaded into the magazine, and merely fired warning shots in the air as two of the men ran from the vehicle. Stanley insisted that he believed there to be no more shells in the magazine, pulling the trigger to make sure it was empty and removing the clip.

Boushie and two women remained in the vehicle. Sheldon had run toward the house, and when he came back outside, he recalled in testimony, his father was walking toward the vehicle before the shot that killed Boushie went off—a statement that contradicted Stanley’s story, who said he ran to the vehicle, fearing that his wife had been trapped underneath. In the final moments that led to Boushie’s untimely death, Stanley, with the gun in his right hand, intended to turn off the vehicle from the driver’s side window with his left. “Boom. This thing just went off,” he said of the shot to the head that killed Boushie.

           WATCH: Justin Trudeau expresses sympathy for Colton Boushie’s family

Throughout the trial, Stanley’s lawyer, Scott Spencer, postulated that the killing was the result of a “hang fire”—a delay between the time the trigger is pulled and when the bullet leaves the gun. “It’s a tragedy, but it’s not criminal. You must acquit,” he told the jury. Spencer encouraged them to put themselves “in Gerry’s boots,” arguing that the actions of Boushie and his friends were to blame for the escalated violence. Yet the Crown’s firearms experts thoroughly refuted the hang fire claim, saying not only that hang fires are extremely rare, but the firing discrepancy is usually less than a second, and there was nothing wrong with Stanley’s gun. (For a sense of how thin this aspect of the defence was, consider that, at one point, the judge had to prevent Spencer from using a printout from an online Reddit conversation while questioning the firearms expert.)

It’s hard to overstate the insult this threadbare argument came to represent to Indigenous people, reinforcing their sense that the white justice system would somehow find a way to exonerate Stanley. In the months leading up to the trial, hate-filled and racist comments flooded social media, much of it in support of Stanley and the rights of farmers, forcing then-Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall to condemn the exchanges. In 2017, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities had voted overwhelmingly to lobby for the right to protect one’s self and property—code, many First Nations people felt, for “shoot Indigenous trespassers.” The Stanley verdict seems to legitimize these sorts of ideas, which are not upheld by law, and are supposed to be antithetical to Canadian values.

RELATED: In Saskatchewan, a trial’s jury selection reveals a legal injustice

When Canada looks back on the outcome of this trial—if it has the will to do so—it must question the absence of Indigenous people from the jury selection process: the very people who understand systemic racism in this part of the country the most, and where Indigenous people make up the vast majority of those incarcerated. Touching on the jury selection for the Stanley trial, University of Toronto professor Kent Roach wrote in the Globe and Mail: “Fair trials have to respect the equality rights of victims, as well as the rights of the accused. As the [Aboriginal Justice Inquiry] warned in 1991: ‘Both the Crown and defence counsel have too many opportunities, through the use of peremptory challenges … to make decisions on the basis of racist or sexist stereotypes.’”

But the warning signs in this case were there long before jury-selection. The RCMP failed Boushie by losing the vehicle he was killed in and neglecting to do a blood-splatter analysis that could have provided a better picture of what happened the moment he died. The Mounties waited a strangely long time to charge Stanley in the aftermath of the shooting. In the intervening period, the tone of public conversation in that part of Saskatchewan pointed to strong pro-Stanley sentiment within the mostly white communities the jurors would be chosen from. No matter how you dissect the case, Stanley was given virtually every advantage from the outset.  

RELATED: What the tragedy of Colten Boushie says about racism in Canada

Put all this together, and you have a picture that for First Nations people in rural Canada is beyond discouraging: it’s downright frightening. An all-white jury believed Stanley’s side of the story, a narrative filled with holes, contradictions and details that were deemed outright impossible by experts on the stand. More than acquitting him of second-degree murder, the all-white jury decided, too, that Stanley was not guilty of manslaughter; that he was not culpable in any way in the death of Boushie; that he did not intentionally point his gun at him—this despite Chief Justice Martel Popescul stressing before deliberations that extreme recklessness is grounds for a finding of murder. The all-white jury’s acquittal implies that Stanley was justified in killing Boushie.

Is this an outcome Canadians accept?

They must know this is a verdict that deepens Indigenous peoples’ distrust in the justice system. It tarnishes efforts toward reconciliation and will strike fear in young First Nations men in rural Canada. After the decision was read, dozens in the courtroom burst into tears, while others shouted “murderer!” as Stanley and the 12-person jury were quickly escorted out of the building. “This is how they treat us First Nations people,” Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said as he left the courthouse in Battleford, Sask. His reaction echoed across the country: justice of some sort was served, just not for Colten Boushie.


The Gerald Stanley verdict is a blow to reconciliation—and a terrifying one at that

  1. Here we go again in the MSM. Media thinks they can be judge and jury and know better than everyone else… especially the jury.. Was this opinion writer, Kyle Edwards, present for every minute of testimony during the trial?? To have his strong opinions he better have been. Does he know better than the entire jury? Does Kyle Edwards question other/most/all jury verdicts or just the ones concerning indigenous people? Is he prejudiced (pre-judging) or biased against all white people. Trial by media must stop.. if the media wants to have any shred of credibility that is… to assume the jury made a mistake because of the colour of their skin is a dictionary definition of racism… Shame on Kyle Edwards

    • “Reasonable doubt” seems to have a much wider definition when the defendant is white versus when the defendant is aboriginal. That gulf grows when the defendant is white and the victim is aboriginal.

      The jury selection process and the eventual verdict, on its face, taint the reputation of justice system in Saskatchewan.

      • Torally agree with you on flaws in jury selection process, but I am not so sure about the verdict. It seems reasonable to me to think that, taking the racial difference out of the case, e.g., a bunch of white drunken kids doing the actions reported, etc., a jury would have reached a not-guilty verdict. AND the verdict would be controversial.

    • Shame on you for allowing racism to get so bad that white people now believe it is ok to kill a man who was sleeping or passed out. To quickly pass judgement on a young man who is not here on Earth to defend himself, and to allow your colonial court systems to not only allow such a miscarriage of justice but to condone and protect a murderer.

      • Elym, you persist in your description of the shooting as deliberate. Stanley never claimed to have shot Boushie in anger or in defense of his life and property. He claimed, and convinced the jury, that the shooting was an accident. Unless you sat through the trial, you have no more grounds than I have to question the verdict. That is to say none. The fact that Boushie and his friends were drunk and belligerent is irrelevant. An accident is an accident. Was Stanley negligent? Probably, but he was charged with something much more serious than careless handling of a firearm and was found not guilty.

  2. The outcome of this case is a tragic one – regardless of the outcome, there would have been anger and resentment. One thing is very apparent – that the justice system needs to make changes to ensure that there is better representation on juries. Not only must justice be done, but it must be SEEN to be done. And Canada’s Indigenous people have not received a lot of fairness or justice in the history of white dominance.

    • You presume that all people are racist.

      I believe, supported by our charter, that people must be presumed innocent of that.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      • As usual, you completely miss the point. JUSTICE MUST BE SEEN TO BE DONE! It’s hard to see justice in this verdict. When experts dispute the ‘misfire’ testimony of the accused, reasonable people are likely to assume that the biases of the jury played heavily into this verdict. Not all people are racist, but far too many exhibit biases with no basis in fact.

        • By seen, you mean recognized, right?

          What’s going to make a bigot recognize equality? When we call bigotry equality?

          No, justice needs to be DONE, recognizing it is up to the honesty and intelligence of each individual and out of our control.

          • I agree – justice needs to be done. An all-white jury letting the white defendant walk on an incredibly weak defence where the victim was aboriginal suggests, on its face, that justice was NOT done here.

            And that’s where the “seen to be done” comes into play; there are a lot of us who doubt the verdict – and much of that doubt comes from the systemic elimination of aboriginal jurists from the panel.

            I don’t know the jurors; I don’t know whether any of them are racist. But a significant portion of the community from which they were drawn have vocally demonstrated that racism is rampant in their community. That, plus a (deliberate and contrived) lack of non-white jurors, raises a lot of questions about impartiality.

          • I don’t know why the crown went for second degree murder where they had to prove intent.

            Stanley demonstrated the opposite by firing a warning shot.

            Then a struggle and an accidental shot sealed his acquittal.

            I’m pretty sure if they had gone for manslaughter and careless use, he would have been convicted or chosen a self defence.

  3. Deliberately divisive comments from quasi-journalists (this means you Doug Cuthand) only serve to widen the divide: Says Cuthand: “The Stanleys…come from a settler society that thinks it holds dominion over the land, the resources and the people on it. They have enjoyed a life of white privilege and dominance”. Sweeping statements like that are every bit as racist as the drivel coming from Internet trolls.

    The Saskatchewan I live and work in has people coming here from across the globe. I and many other residents welcome that influx. Whether they are Asian, African (or god forbid more Europeans), those newcomers are helping to shape the future of this province.

    The indigenous community has to decide whether they are going to continue the self-pity and wishing for what might have been, or they can choose to move forward with the rest of us.

    • Moving forward means all Canadians take responsibility for reconciliation, recognizing the tragedy and horror that was perpetrated on Indigenous Canadians through colonization.

      That means the ball is in your court.

    • How can we move forward when your forefathers created systems to benefit immigrants and only immigrants? How do we move forward when lost our culture and language. Our parents and grandparents innocences were stolen by the hands of your federal government and rapist priests and nuns! We want to heal we want to move forward we want lives that are afforded to immigrants before us but how can that happen when immigtants will not work with indigenous people to get policies changed that hold us back! Example? Proof? Read the indian act! Another small and narrow minded person who thinks we dont want to live like the rest of canada and only going on the belief that we are all drunks or lazy.

      • Has it ever occurred to you, that if you want policies special to Indians only, then you have rejected the general policies and culture that immigrants have embraced?

        As long as the goal is a better Indian Act, then Indigenous culture will be in some part, be in response to that Act. Even worse, for as long as money transfers are a part of the Indian Act, then colonialists will know exactly how much it costs to maintain Indigenous culture and will see no need to spend a penny more.

        Th big lie at the centre of colonialism is pretending that the Indian Act could ever work. There is not enough money available in Canada to fund an Indian Act that will supply or framework a satisfactory Indigenous culture. A culture that can be negotiated and bought isn’t a culture, it’s a lifestyle.

  4. The author doesn’t speak to the terrible holes/contradiction, established deep drunkenness, and admitted lies and crimes of the witnesses for the Crown, who were at the farm causing mayhem and fear along with the victim. It is entirely possible that that devastatingly bad quality testimony was enough to create reasonable doubt.

    As to reconciliation, the craven need to publicly pretend that the poor behaviour of the victim and his friends did not happen is equally devastating to the broader conversation as the courtroom testimony was to the jury trial. The conversation is no longer about reconciliation between equals (which is the only way reconciliation will be sustainable). It’s a bait and switch, offering up delinquency as a contribution to a mutually respectful relationship.

    There is no point in the hard work of reconciliation with a culture that thinks it’s best message is, “Ignore the drunken, gun-shooting, attempted car-stealing destruction and associated damage – it’s all your fault anyways.” Because that’s not reconciliation, that’s just an emotional torque in a transaction instead of a relationship. And, that’s where the social media conversation seems to be right now.

    I’d be way more interested in the representational arguments of jury skin colour/culture if there were some stats on how many of the almost 50% of the jury pool who did not show up were Indigenous. And, if the percentage of Indigenous jurors available in the first 38 jurors (12 selected jurors + 12 challenges each for defence and prosecution + 2 alternates) from the pool were proportionate to the overall population distribution of the jury pool selection area.

    FWIW – I thought manslaughter would have been a supportable jury decision, they disagreed.

    • “The author doesn’t speak to the terrible holes/contradiction, established deep drunkenness, and admitted lies and crimes of the witnesses for the Crown, who were at the farm causing mayhem and fear along with the victim.”

      Probably because this was irrelevant to the question of whether the gun went off intentionally or by accident.

      • It’s relevant. Witnesses are used to establish state of mind/intent.

        Credible crown witnesses could have reliably testified to actions that demonstrated intent. Instead, those witnesses’ testimony was damaging to the credibility of the crown, made the witness assessment of others’ actions invalid, and gave a general sense of confusion and chaos – which may have enabled doubts about the situation immediately prior to the bullet killing Mr. Boushie.

        The jury only needs reasonable doubt. When a clear timeline cannot be delivered by Crown witnesses, how could the prosecution prove intent to kill beyond a reasonable doubt?

        • So do we have thThe main witness was the accused. He did not testify that he shot this boy in self defence. He admitted he killed him and said it was an accident.

          No e of this makes the fact other witnesses were drunk relevant.

          • Yes, Stanley shot him. The judge said that was agreed to.

            And, you’re right in the sense that those wildly drunk young adults aren’t directly relevant to the split second of the shot. But, they were fundamentally necessary to prove a gap in humanity, the intention to kill.

            We do not have a legal system that relies on physical evidence only. What people say and do matters, and it is unfortunate that the imperfect function of memory is the best we have, even in sober witnesses.
            It’s disingenuous to pretend that consumption of mind-altering chemicals and admitted issues with honesty don’t impact witness credibility and the relative strength of the spoken evidence.

            If you wanted to prove that Stanley was lying about it being an accident – beyond a reasonable doubt – then you need credible, accurate witnesses to describe actions that demonstrated either intent to kill (2nd degree homicide) or recklessness.

          • “But, they were fundamentally necessary to prove a gap in humanity, the intention to kill.”

            Absolutely not.

          • If the witness wasn’t an important part of proving the intent, then how was intent proven?

    • I have read over and over that white farm kids do the same shit. Go driving around drunk breaking things up but have never met the brutality that Colten and his friends did. When white people drink and drive its accepted behavior, when indigenous do the same its because thats all we know, its because thats what we do. NO your prejudiced words are no longer going to be acceptable to anyone in this country. You read and believed what you wanted from the press about this fucked up miscarriage of justice. Your biased, prejudiced, racist way of thinking will no longer be tolerated by not only indigenous people but by settlers as well

      • Elym, please cite some credible sources to support your assertion that “white farm kids do the same” and that they face no consequences.

  5. Dear Macleans,
    Reconciliation is a government word developed by political spin doctors to create the illusion to the world that the government is reconciling with its Indigenous peoples’ yet we as Indigenous people know this isnt the case. Our kids are still be stolen or murdered by the system, our women and girls are still going missing or are murdered, our men and boys are still being murdered and our Mother Earth is still being raped and murdered by the settlers off spring. We are still here, we are not going anywhere, one day we will stand above all this and it will be us making that change.

    • The change you seek has to be done within. Had they not gotten severely drunk and then went on a crime spree ending up in Gerald Stanley’s yard, then this wouldn’t have happened.

      As FN you must prevent the former if you don’t want the latter to happen.

      • Wow. So if you come to someone’s house and tear down the walls, do you tell the homeowner to stop whining and fix it herself when she asks for restitution?

        • This is a very poor example Gayle. It is more like going to someones house and adding a new roof and an extension but they complain that they liked the rain coming in.

      • You obviously weren’t reading right. SOME of these young people made wrong choices and some were just caught in the middle of these bad choices. BUT it does not mean that they deserved to lose their lives over a fucking quad. Believe it or not indigenous people also work hard for things like quads. So i guess it would be ok for me to shoot and kill a young white man or woman for making a bad choice? No it would not. Give your head a shake, if a car full of white kids pulled up to this farm and jumped on a quad, i can gaurantee you that they would all still be alive. And this happened in the day! Who fixes a fence at night? NO ONE. I know my grandpa was a farmer! And i say was because he passed away not because he lost it, our farm is still in our family too, you racist piece of garbage

        • You are the racist piece of garbage and the reason there will never be any reconciliation.

          You don’t believe in personal responsibility and blame everyone else for your problems and actions.

          Had an adult straightened these kids out and given them proper guidance when they were young, then this probably wouldn’t have happened. By your comment it’s obvious there were no good role models around.

          • Had john mcdonald not forced my great grandparents to surrender my grandparents to residential schools or be jailed then ya i guess you are right, maybe 5 year old being repeatedly raped, beaten and forced to FORGET they were injuns, just maybe we wouldnt be at this point in time after putting up with 150 years of oppression and racist laws and policies! Just maybe! Just maybe if tom collins changed his racist ideals if he read the indian act and how it was meant to destroy indigenous people, then maybe just maybe there would be an adult to parent Colten or his mom or his grandparents! I guess it doesnt matter either that my children who graduated high school and go to university are ridiculed, harassed and accused because they are brown. I guess it doesnt matter that I raised them to be good people to be kind to everyone no matter how much they hate you to keep loving those that hate you because your brown. I guess the treaties that our (yours and mine) ancestors signed to share and prosper from the land dont matter which only 1 race ever prospered from. Ya lets blame it on us injuns who are just a bunch of drunks and thieves and deserve everything your colonial government threw at us! I guess no good role models werent around because they deal with the trauma of being RAPED AND BEATEN every single day of their lives by “gods” servants. Ya that makes sense. Your right lets blame lack of role models but while we are at it lets blame you for not being 1 of these “good” role models because you spread hate and judgement quicker than anyone could possiblydefend themselves. NO JUSTICE NO PEACE. My heart and the heart of many others will not feel at peace because of people like you

          • Personal redponsibility means acknowledging non Indigenous Canadians have benefitted from racist policies and colonialism. Look in the mirror before you point fingers.

  6. This is a pretty irresponsible article. The burden of proof is on the Crown. The Crown’s witnesses were very drunk, lied and contradicted each other and one didn’t show up. Therefore the Crown had no credible witnesses so the only verdict possible was not guilty.

    It would have been the same for anybody.

    • All the perks of civilization without any of the responsibilities. Duh

    • Im sure it helped that murderous bastard that the crown only did a half assed job of seeking real justice! These kids lied to police out of fear for what would happen to them, the girlfriend of Colten Boushie must have been so distraught that maybe she couldnt face his killer. They were drunk but im pretty sure you did too as a young adult. The rcmp did a fantastic job of collecting evidence and acting swiftly in charging that rat bastard. And lets not forget that AN ALL WHITE JURY was selected and indigenous people were dismissed for reasons we will probably never know. Your reasoning is as empty and ridiculous as whatever is in your head and your heart. Oh ya i forgot, i never knew that murders were allowed to sit in a courtroom without handcuffs!

      • So is it your assertion that white people are incapable of delivering a non-racist verdict? That sounds pretty racist to me.

      • There are ways to deal with witnesses who find it difficult to face an accused. The crown could have made arrangements for the witness to give video testimony, or at least asked. but as we all know, the witness did not express this concern to the crown, they simply didn’t show up.
        excuses excuses. As was noted before …. all the perks of civilization without any of the responsibility.

  7. This situation is truly a tragedy for all concerned. Beyond that though, I’m a Canadian born and bred and have listened to the rhetoric for years and still have in idea what the 1st Nations people want. Can someone please enlighten me?

    • You are clearly not listening. Try again

      • Gayle2 ->
        I know that the situation is complicated …. apparently much more complicated than you are able to provide a reasonable explanation for. It was an honest question …. I guess in your case it is easy to be sarcastic but unreasonable to expect something resembling understanding. Try again.

        • You put the onus on Canada’s Indigenous population. Try looking at what you can do to make things better. It is easy to sit back and say “tell me what you want”. It absolves you of having to do anything yourself. You don’t need anyone to tell you what they want in order to change yourself.

          Stop pointing fingers at them.

          • Problem solving & progress is created by negotiation and discussion by the 2 (or more) affected sides. However, it is difficult to negotiate with angry and narrow minded people. The only finger pointed here is by you. Try again.

          • Sigh. You have proven my point and do not even realize it.

          • Canada’s indigenous population lives in the most tolerant and well functioning society on the planet. There is free health care and they receive free post secondary education. There are jobs and opportunities everywhere on graduation. There are social programs and supports throughout Canada. There are extremely successful and contented natives throughout the country.
            Some have determined that they wish to live a more “traditional” lifestyle. Such a lifestyle requires tradeoffs in the services that are available. it’s a legit question to ask what more do they want when they made the choice.

    • All the perks of civilization without any of the responsibilities. Duh

  8. What’s being asked by the FN and media here is to ignore the judicial process and convict on emotion and their ingrained belief.

    It doesn’t work that way. The Crown had no case because their witnesses were not credible.

    The media needs to be held to a higher standard as much of the reporting surrounding this case was and is very one-sided and of very poor quality.

  9. This case was a mess from the RCMP’s incredibly poor work (which needs its own investigation) to the Crown’s bizarre attempt at a murder conviction to the biased jury selection and contradictory testimony of witnesses.

    Mainly I see that our win-or-lose justice system can’t work with the real complications of the world. The responsibility for this is shared over dozens of small escalations by most everyone present at the incident.

    I don’t see what else the verdict could have been. People made mistakes all over, but the Stanleys didn’t initiate the encounter.

  10. It is pretty safe to assume that the First Nation people are united in the firm belief that Mr. Stanley is guilty.

    Let’s imagine a jury composed of natives. Most likely the verdict would have been guilty despite the evidence proving the contrary. If putting an innocent human being in prison is serving the reconciliation let’s do it as often as possible and call it the 21st century Canadian Justice. I would suggest to start on small scale though. 50 white farmers each month should suffice:)

    Thank you Macleans for publishing nonsense…

    • Stanley admitted he killed him … how does the evidence prove contrary. The gun was not defective.
      The Boushie family should file a civil suit … take the farm…

      • Can you prove that? No you cant just as the firearms expert could not as the casing had a buldge. I can tell you casings do not buldge on thier own. Strange circumstances have to happen. Also if they had not been in the situation none of this could have happened. First nations or not i would have no more sympathy if this was a rich affluent white kid who got shot. If you put yourself in a situation where this can happen you should not be suprised when it does. This farmer was not looking to go shoot someone that day. This man and his friends were looking to cause trouble and they found it. Race should not matter to anyone if we are all to be equal and the statue of lady justice is blind for a reason.

  11. I would have thought at least manslaughter for the reckless use of a firearm resulting in loss of life, but Stanley got lucky. But the battle for justice is not over. A civil case, constant protests, an appeal perhaps, an inquiry and trying to get politicians to do something besides just talk. They offer their condolences, but this will not bring Colten back nor stop Stanley from killing another Native youth. If anything, the pressure on Stanley needs to be increased. Every non-violent means needs to be brought to bear in order to bring him to justice.

    • You may want to google “judicial independence” &”due process “. You might be surprised but politicians or any other type of interference with the judicial processes it is not only against the principles of democracy but it is also illegal.

  12. The writer’s comment: “The all-white jury’s acquittal implies that Stanley was justified in killing Boushie.” is totally out of line and is itself unjustified. The writer should be ashamed to make such an assertion. The crown’s extremely poor witnesses and the absolute lack of eye witnesses to the shooting left a reasonable doubt about this tragic event, resulting in the acquittal. That is how it works. BTW MacLeans, why do you not take down the absolutely loathsome comments from John Michael Kane. I am sure he is just baiting people as I don’t think it would be possible for someone to be that stupid.

    • Congratulations. I am really happy to find out that common sense is not all drown in the ocean of poltical correctness…

    • You know it is possible for someone to be “that stupid”. Take a look in the mirror

  13. The author of this article clearly lives and dies by the idea of us and them. Clearly lacks any ability to view information in a way that acknowledges reasonable conclusions…in this case by a jury. The author like many other groups, ideological tribes, us and them…that suffocate society today are destroying all rational thought. It’s not an us and them (Reconciliation) thing. The author lacks any true element of intellect to understand that fact. The court of law, for however imperfect it may be…determines innocence or guilt, while understanding that this must be done without a reasonable doubt…this was done. Has every verdict in history made people involved happy…NO! Did all of these involve Aboriginal People…”NO”! So don’t write this story implying that it has anything to to with “RECONCILIATION”, because it doesn’t! You embarrass yourself using the “Bumper Sticker” word “Reconciliation” in the title of your article. You need to put more effort in your job to properly tell a story to your reader. Unfortunately, your not the only one that does a horrible job at informing people on serious issues…which obviously includes your editor…you both should be fired.

    • All you have to do is read the numerous comments on this thread suggesting that Indigenous Canadians take responsibility for fixing what the rest of us destroyed to understand why this is indeed about reconciliation.

      And yes, I do understand that “we” were not responsible for colonization and racist policies and practices from hundreds of years ago, BUT “we: are certainly enjoying the spoils of colonization.

      Case in point – I believe Mr. Stanley’s farm is probably located on land that was stolen by the Europeans through the process of colonization.

      • How can you even suggest it is the responsibility of non-first nations to “fix” first nations? Are you a racist?

        • Pretty sure I did not say that. Are you literate?

          From the TRC website:

          For over 100 years, Aboriginal children were removed from their families and sent to institutions called residential schools. The government-funded, church-run schools were located across Canada and established with the purpose to eliminate parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children. The last residential schools closed in the mid-1990s.

          During this chapter in Canadian history, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were forced to attend these schools some of which were hundreds of miles from their home. The cumulative impact of residential schools is a legacy of unresolved trauma passed from generation to generation and has had a profound effect on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians.

          Collective efforts from all peoples are necessary to revitalize the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society – reconciliation is the goal. It is a goal that will take the commitment of multiple generations but when it is achieved, when we have reconciliation – it will make for a better, stronger Canada.

          • I think you will agree that at the time residential schools came into being, relationships between indigenous people and immigrants were disastrous.
            The Indians were bludgeoning and scalping immigrants and the immigrants were shooting and killing the Indians. Not surprisingly the methods of killing used by the Indians was viewed as savagery. Sir John A. MacDonald wrote, “If we let theses savages educate their children, the children will become savages too and this savagery will never end.”
            Hence the genesis of residential schools. While it became an unprecedented disaster, at the time it had pretty sound logic.

      • yeah … the best civilization in the world is what the rest of us created. From virtually nothing

  14. The deceased was not unarmed. You forgot to mention the loaded gun that he had.

    • Wow this article is terrible.

  15. Wow – I cannot believe the public comments and criticism from our Canadian politicians. Liberals are bringing US-like comments/criticism into Canada. Next thing you know our politicians will be calling for elected judges. It looks like Chief Justice Martel Popescul had a premonition when he chaired a committee investigating judicial independence in 2016.

    “A judge has his life threatened, and he and his family are provided police protection after he is vilified in the press for striking down a law.

    A minister of justice or the premier threatens to refuse to provide courts with resources because their government doesn’t like certain judicial decisions.

    An attorney general wants to transfer a local judge to an isolated region because the judge’s decisions are not in keeping with government policy.

    They’re all true, Canadian examples from the last 25 years of what the country’s top judges characterize as attacks on judicial independence.

    The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) recently released a report on the issue in hopes of educating the public as well as those involved in the law on the importance of the concept to democracy.

    “You see how small erosions of the concept could really do damage to our country in a significant way,” Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Martel Popescul said in a recent interview.”

    • Coming from a nazi fascist judge who once represented a murderous cop who was on the rcmp force! Fuck your 25 years! Indigenous people have been waiting for equality for 150 fucking years!

      • Elym here’s a piece of advice:

        I’m a thirty year old life long Albertan, son of European immigrants who immigrated here in the early 1900’s.

        When I was in school I never really learned the truth about residential school’s (probably because they were still open and truth was still unknown and very much still being covered up).

        The truth is, it was genocide plain and simple.

        And you know what? I learned that from a non-first nations.
        I pay attention to first Nations and they activists and the only thing I ever learned from one of them is that they can’t sell their treaty land and they view that as an injustice.

        It’s like how in NYC when they brought a plan to pay black students to finish highschool and the black activists response was ” The money is not enough, it’s barely enough to purchase a play station”.

        Where was his indignation in questioning why NYC thought it was necessary to pay blacks in order for them to graduate?

        It’s the same situation here. Your concern here should be on the surviving First Nation youths of this incident. You should be petitioning First Nations and non First Nations to mentor these and other First Nation youths.

        That’s what this article should be about and that’s what your concern should be with.

        Is that not justice? You need to focus on your community and it’s culpability in it’s own destruction. Ultimately it’s there personal responsibility.

        The genocide is no longer in the active phase. The government is never going to investigate themselves. The other people of Canada are concerned only with themselves. To appeal to them you need to appeal to their desire to help their own lifes, resolve the bad actions of their government’s actions they benefited from. The fight now is with responsibility in repair and restoration.

        When first Nations are seen leading in that regard and that is their principal concern, the rest of Canada will step in and their whole outlook will change.

        • So colonization and genocide destroyed Indigenous communities, and it is their fault it has not been fixed.

          I am pretty sure it is attitudes like yours that is to blame.

      • You’re a real piece of work. You call the judge a nazi fascist.

        And then you use embrace an obscenity that is rooted in the Germanic language?

        You criticize the very same nation that is giving you the language you so colourfully use? Are you a hater or lover of the German nation?

      • maybe do something rather than wait for someone else to do it for you

  16. I’ve had enough. It’s a clear case of self defense, AT WORST. We have the right to bear firearms to protect our property, our children, our wives. The fact it went to court was already an attack on our rights. Coulten Boushie should not have been trespassing.

    • We are not in america or governed by a fascist regime! The more i read these comments the more ashamed i am for the elderly peoplw in this country! Especially the women, many who are probably mothers and grandmothers. You should be ashamed of yourself

    • Except it isn’t. See, the acused testified and during that testimony he never once said he shot him in self defence.

  17. We have to stop pampering Indigenous people.

    • Sure. If by “pampering” you jean stealing their land and raping their children.

      • Can you explain to me why now, in 2018, Indigenous children under 14 make up 52.2 per cent of all children in foster care?
        Why they can’t be at home with their parents?

        • Sure. It is a complex issue that cannot be easily explained in a few words, so I suggest you read the findings of the TRC.

          I will give you a start. We learn about parenting, social norms and our culture in our family unit. So when you are removed from your home as a child and placed in a residential school where you are taught your culture and societal norms are wrong, where the culture and societal norms that are taught are sexual and physical abuse, and then, many years later, you are returned to your community, you have no understanding of what is a functional family unit. We learn to parent from our parents. Residential schools broke the family unit of Indigenous people.

          People who have been victims of child sexual abuse often become addicted to drugs and alcohol. That is another legacy of residential schools.

          Hence the multi generational affects of residential schools.

          But really, if you are actually interested in the answer and not just trying to make an argument that absolves you of any responsibility for reconciliation, go read the report. It will help.

  18. “The all-white jury’s acquittal implies that Stanley was justified in killing Boushie.”

    I guess it could imply that if you didn’t listen to any of the evidence, argument, or jury instructions and get the “facts” of the case from twitter. I’m surprised massive leaps of logic lacking any real basis get published in a national magazine. This article also vastly overstates the Crown’s expert evidence, which was far from conclusive or certain. Poor, and maybe rushed piece of reporting that does a disservice to an important issue.

    • Yes. This article is complete garbage and those responsible should be fired.

      I can’t believe how one sided and manipulative and wrong it is.

      It’s seditious and divisive aswell and only further leads to the destruction of First Nations.

  19. There’s a reason that justice is supposed to be blind. Its not about reaching some PC condition that satisfies the do gooders at Macleans – its about getting to the truth. 12 impartial citizens found Gerald Stanley not guilty. That fact may not fit your narrative of colonial oppression but it is nevertheless a fact. This is a race baiting story. If the skin colours were reversed this story would be hate literature.

  20. Trial, Judge and Jury by the media… in this case (as with many other examples) Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail and CBC are all guilty of this. Our Liberal politicians , including Trudeau and the Justice Minister are also weighing in on the jury’s verdict. None of these people sat through the entire trial and heard all the evidence and testimony. The Media and the politicians are second guessing our judicial system. The Media.. Macleans, The Globe and Mail, CBC and Liberal politicians are helping to further erode our democracy. This is dangerous and they are all way out of line. Our judicial system and our democracy are under attack.

  21. Maclean’s you should be ashamed of magazine for publishing an article without true facts . This article is solely to divide our Canada and anger people. Get your facts right or stop pretending to be real news! You are as accurate as gossip magazines and I will never read another article or post one from your company. Shameless people writing!

  22. An excellent article and while I agree that the outcome of the trial
    will justifiably strike fear in the hearts of young First Nations men it will equally terrify all First Nations women who are often treated as ‘disposables’ by our society. Treatment of First Nations people have really not changed since 1885.

  23. It is very sad that the media wants to propagate the race or color bias. I do not believe the shots were fired because of the color of the people in the SUV. I believe the rampant crime wave in the surrounding area was the cause of the reaction and the attempt at stealing the the atv was the trigger.
    Please stop trying to incite any more bad feelings and mistrust.

  24. What Stanley should have done is first worn an unobtrusive digital video and audio.recording device that automatically transmits to “the cloud”.

    Then called 911, explained and hung up.

    Then taken a loaded gun directly over to the youths trying to steal his ATV and fired a warning shot and warned them to stop and wait for the police to arrive.

    Once they turned their vehicle into a lethal weapon driving it recklessly and dangerously, threatening his life and the lives of others, he should have tried to stop the vehicle, by firing his gun either at the vehicle or the driver.

    That is essentially what police would do, so why would it be OK for police but murder for Stanley?

    Afterward, the recorded video given to the grieving family, the jury, and the public, to prevent protests based on BS and streamline the legal process.

  25. First I want to correct your statement. You mentioned that the victim was unarmed but they did have a gun i believe in the car but it is unclear.

    However as you mentioned it is very difficult to believe that the gun just went off especially after the experts weighed in. Why did the jury believe that? To me that was a key to the trial.

  26. The sad thing about this is that First Nations leaders have done a great disservice to their youth and to their community by screaming racism. Should Clayton have been killed – of course not; but I don’t think Stanley should have been charged with second degree murder – that was an overreach helped along by activists and media who wanted vengeance. The media had established their narrative that fell apart when the facts at the trial were reveals. This was not a group of young people out for a swim and a drive on a nice summer day and got a flat tire and when they sought help from a white farmer, he killed one of them. NONE of that was true.

    And now first nations leaders are essentially telling their youth the following:
    1. Drink and drive – that’s OK because of racism
    2. Drive drive and with a loaded gun in the car – that’s OK because of racism
    3. Enter private property and attempt to steal a car – not once but twice – that’s OK because of racism.

    When did any of that become OK in any culture/society?

  27. The article begins by saying “its ok to kill an unarmed indigenous man”. Coltan and his friends brought a gun: THEY WERE ARMED. Why are we sending the message to young indigenous people that is you and your friends try stealing trucks and ATV’s, when you are drunk and armed, that you are in the right if something bad happens? This is really crazy. What would you do is you were the farmer? The cops can’t respond quickly, you are hours from help, three young male drunk people, likely bigger and stronger than you, are trying to steal your property. How does the farmer know that the thieves would stop with a truck or a quad?

    • Here’s a story covered by the CBC from the Battlefords area in 2015:

      Six indigenous criminals on a crime spree involving raiding farms, assaults on two Good Samaritans, carjacking, high speed chases, and the only two names mentioned: Wuttunee and Meechance. All the same factors and players involved. Déjà vu or what?

  28. The racism in comments of this article seem to be going both ways proving why reconciliation is not happening. The media fanning the flames for more reading of their articles is irresponsible and nothing good is going to come from anything like this. The sooner people realize that we are no longer settlers or indigenous as most of us were all born here and we have no choice in where we are born, we are Canadian all of us. Yes the Indian act is racist, but it seems no one wants to actually abandon it. True solutions will come when one side is no longer blaming the other side and we all make moves to work together as complete equals. If we take the race of this out and make it all homogenous would anybody still be angry. White farmer acquitted by all white jury for shooting of white criminals would not be an issue, same if you replaced the white with indigenous. Canadian farmer shoots Canadian criminals. Yes we can talk about what lead some people to become criminals and yes more should be done. If it was possible to find impartial jurors that were indigenous and they came up with not guilty this would have not been an issue. But from what I have seen in the news impartiality seems to be a hard thing to find these days.

    • You’ll find there isn’t much appetite in racist communities to discuss the funding required to reduce crime in white communities.

      Racism is leverage and useful to propaganda. All issues becoming emotional and the facts irrelevant.

      Racists of all types want leverage to increase their power more than anything. Fairness? Equity? They want nothing of the sort.

      Reconciliation is code for a transfer of wealth and power.