First Nations Chiefs Appeal To UN To Assess Alleged Racism In Canada’s Justice System

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Even as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised increased “reconciliation” and a separate justice system on Wednesday, First Nations chiefs invited the United Nations to investigate the existing Canadian justice system for signs of  racism.

As the Canadian Press reports, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) chiefs gathered in Gatineau, Que., to praise Trudeau’s work on their behalf but also to suggest another level of government assessment is required to root out the alleged racism in Canada’s justice system.

After Trudeau spoke, the chiefs listened to Jade Brown Tootoosis, a cousin of Colten Boushie, the aboriginal man who was killed duirng a Saskatchewan home invasion in 2016. A jury found the farmer who shot Boushie not guilty of murder.

 “As an Indigenous person, we are not seen as worthy of justice,” Tootoosis said. “And yet, this is our homeland, this is our territory, this is our home. And those who are settling within our home are benefiting off of the land, the resources, and have put forth a system that continues to oppress us, criminalize us and exclude us because they do not see us as human beings. And this is unacceptable.”

Without a dissenting vote, the chiefs then approved a resolution for the federal government to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to make it more “equitable” for indigenous peoples.

The resolution also extended an invitation to UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz to come to Canada to undertake a comprehensive inquest into Canada’s legal system that would interrogate lawyers, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, juries and police forces.

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