News / Calgary

'We want this negativity to perish:' Rallies held across Canada in protest of Colten Boushie verdict

In Calgary, despite frigid temperatures, police estimate 150 people came out to the march.

Colten Boushie's mother Debbie Baptiste addresses demonstrators gathered outside of the courthouse in North Battleford, Sask., on February 10, 2018.

Matt Smith / The Canadian Press

Colten Boushie's mother Debbie Baptiste addresses demonstrators gathered outside of the courthouse in North Battleford, Sask., on February 10, 2018.

Calgary's Treaty 7 leaders, families of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples and dozens more gathered to speak out about the court ruling that aquitted Gerald Stanley of the second-degree murder of Colten Boushie – a ruling they are calling an injustice.

A crowd of 150 came out the event, police estimate, despite frigid temperatures. They gathered on the city's Reconciliation bridge, renamed last year from Langevin bridge in an act of reconciliation.

Boushie was shot in the head and died in August 2016 while he was sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley's farm near Biggar, Sask.

On Friday, the Saskatchewan jury's decision to find Stanley not guilty caused a ripple effect throughout the country, where several other protests have been scheduled over the weekend and throughout next week.

At the event, spectators cheered as Indigenous drummers sang and played in support of the Boushie family. Signs calling for justice for the family dotted the crowd.

"We definitely feel there has been an injustice that has taken place on Friday and even since the day of Colten's passing," said Calgary rally organizer Lowa Beebe. "We want to make sure the family knows we are supporting them and this is definitely the sentiment across Canada with all major cities hosting similar rallies."

Kelsey Landry came to the Calgary rally from Lacombe, Alta., and is going to a similar event in Red Deer on Monday. She said reconciliation is going to take time.

"We've got to look forward, always have to look forward. I think demonstrations and rallies like this are a step forward," Landry said .

"The justice system does have to change somewhat, it really does. And I think you have to be Aboriginal to really understand that, although we have other supporters." 

In Edmonton, a rally held Saturday was well attended, and another event is planned for Friday on the steps of the Alberta Legislature.

"I want to say (to everyone) you’re welcome," said Corenda Lee Steinhauer, organizer of the Edmonton event. "We walk with love in our hands and in our hearts. We want this negativity to perish."

On Sunday, Federal Conservative leaders criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for "political interference" when he said the country's justice system needs to "do better."

With files from Autumn Fox, Omar Mosleh and The Canadian Press

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