An organization that bills itself as the voice of rural Saskatchewan is calling for consideration, patience and understanding following the acquittal of a farmer in the shooting death of a young Indigenous man.
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities says in a statement that it believes people in the province are better united than divided, and that it takes community to build a healthy, strong rural Saskatchewan.
A jury on Friday acquitted Gerald Stanley of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie. The 22-year-old member of the Red Pheasant First Nation died on Stanley’s farm near Biggar in August 2016.
The association says it will continue to cultivate relationships with the Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner to find areas of common ground to advance all communities.
“SARM recognizes that all municipalities need to work together,” SARM President, Ray Orb, said in the statement. “We are committed to working with our membership in promoting cooperation with our First Nation neighbours.”
SARM also says it has a rural Indigenous working group to help guide it.
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also weighed in on the controversy on Tuesday.
Singh says he is considering whether his party should push to abolish the use of peremptory challenges in the jury selection process.
The practice, which lets Crown and defence lawyers exclude jurors without offering reasons, is at the centre of the controversy around Stanley’s acquittal.
Singh was a criminal defence lawyer before he entered politics.
Meanwhile, members of Boushie’s family continue their trip in Ottawa lobbying for change.
They are meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
(PHOTO: Gerald Stanley. File photo.)