The acquittal of farmer Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of Cree Native Colten Boushie has moved from a regional controversy to national news and finally to international condemnation. Mention by the New York Times and Bernice King just made it big league.
And of course, it is all about race. We should not recall that this August 2016 incident, when a gang of young Aboriginals drove onto a Saskatchewan farmer’s property, was always considered by police investigators as a home invasion with the objective of robbery. We should even forget that a jury acquitted Stanley of second degree murder after examining all the facts — despite knowing that a not guilty verdict would provoke widespread charges of racism.
The jury did its job and ruled that Stanley was not guilty of second-degree murder because the gun in his possession fired accidentally.
It did not go off because of racism. But you would never know that by listening to Canada’s Liberal government. Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould criticized the verdict as somehow failing Aboriginals. Their comments, coming from senior members of a executive branch of government, were completely inapproprate and both the official opposition Conservatives and legal experts have condemned their remarks as political interference.
Trudeau has offered no evidence that the verdict confirms any endemic anti-Native racism in Canada nor that the specifics of this case should have resulted in a different verdict. Trudeau’s identify politics mantra has been adopted by much of the Canadian mainstream media; their reports suggest that both the shooting and verdict are a result of seething anti-Native racism in Canada, echoing the nagging claim of Canada’s attorney general that the justice system has failed Boushie and Aboriginals — and “must and can do better.”
Last Wednesday, Trudeau took the first step towards correcting these politically-imagined deficiencies when he promised to create a two-tiered justice system: announcing that his Liberal government would recognize “Indigenous Rights” as separate from “Non-Indigenous Rights.” This is of course is more insanity from a prime minister who revels in the division of Canadians. While he scorns evangelicals for their pro-life views, he embraces returning ISIS fighters as being not that different from Italian immigrants who came to Canada following the Second World War.
Trudeau’s resolve to grant special status to Aboriginals, to create, in essence Indigenous Supremacy, has set-off a social media storm of protest and the RCMP is investigating Facebook posts believed to be from an off-duty police officer, who said the “race card” politics surrounding the incident are “crap.” As the poster wrote, “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.”
But while Boushie is being held-up as a martyr to racist attitudes, most media reports are omitting many significant elements of a case that began on Aug. 9, 2016 when Gerald and Sheldon Stanley were fixing a fence on the isolated prairie farm and chaos quickly erupted.
Boushie and four friends arrived at the Stanley farm uninvited and for no apparent reason except to head straight for a family ATV located on the property. Members of the Boushie party admitted to starting the vehicle but denied they were trying to steal it. Stanley says he retrieved his gun and fired two shots in the air to try to scare the intruders off his property. Then the farmer says the gun accidentally discharged a third shot — killing Boushie.
In court testimony, the group confirmed that they had been drinking — in her testimony to the RCMP, Boushie friend Kiora Wuttunee said she had been drinking for a week.
Another member of the group, Belinda Jackson, admitted to assaulting Sheldon Stanley’s mother. “I punched her,” she said. Members of the group admitted they had tried to steal another vehicle on another farm that same day.
Boushie was also armed with “a long-barreled .22-caliber bolt action rifle with a tubular magazine,” according to an RCMP search warrant application. Police reported that the rifle “appeared to have a live round in the chamber.”
The document is no longer available on-line but was obtained by CBC News in October 2016 and resulted in one online story being produced. It has rarely been heard from again.
The report goes on state — based on a forensic investigation — that Boushie was not dropping by the Stanley farm on a cordial visit but with the intention of robbing him.
Admittedly, this might not account or a gun firing accidentally but it certainly does explain why the frightened farmer sought the protection of a firearm in the first place.
Canadians, regrettably, do not possess a constitutional right to bear arms — but as God is my witness, there has always existed in British commonlaw the basic and essential right to protect yourself, your family and your property from threats. And that’s what happened here.
David Krayden is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for The Daily Caller. He is a former Air Force Public Affairs Officer and legislative assistant on Parliament Hill. He has worked in print, radio and television news.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.