OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says much needs to be done to fix the way First Nations people are treated within Canada’s criminal justice system.
But the prime minister says it would be “completely inappropriate” to comment on the specifics of last week’s acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer in the killing of 22-year-old Colten Boushie.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau says First Nations people are underrepresented on juries and overrepresented in the prison population — a situation he says his government is committed to solving.
On Friday, a jury found Gerald Stanley, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2016 killing of Colten Boushie, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation.
Boushie’s relatives are in Ottawa meeting with federal ministers, where they say they hope to build relationships with people who have the power to change the way Indigenous Canadians are treated in the justice system.
Boushie’s family is expected to sit down with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday.
Also in question period today, Wilson-Raybould said the government is taking a close look at so-called peremptory challenges, which allow lawyers to reject jury candidates without justification during the selection process.