The RCMP’s treatment of Colten Boushie’s family was horrific

On Friday, February 16th, 2018 in Debate, Indigenous Rights, Parliament

Elizabeth May

Mr. Chair, my hon. friend from St. Albert—Edmonton spoke of the clear lack of trust of indigenous people in the criminal justice system. The member for Timmins—James Bay spoke of the question of racism within police forces.

We know that a lot of women who are in danger in communities do not go to the RCMP for help because they do not believe they are safe there. I take my friend from St. Albert’s point that it might be unwise to comment on the verdict and what the jury did, but I have no hesitation in commenting on the horrific way the RCMP treated Colten Boushie’s family in the immediate aftermath of his killing. Admittedly, it is a difficult topic to raise here, but what can we do to ensure that the immediate interface between the RCMP and indigenous peoples is not one where I suspect there is deep systemic racism within those police forces?

Michael Cooper Member for St. Albert-Edmonton

Mr. Chair, in response to the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, I cannot speak to the interactions the Boushie family had with the RCMP following Colten Boushie being shot and killed. Obviously, some of the allegations that are coming forward about some of those interactions are deeply concerning. However, I will say that the men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe do a very good service for communities across this country. I have a lot of respect for the law enforcement community. I believe the vast majority of police officers do their very best to treat all the individuals they encounter, including indigenous peoples, with respect. However, there is obviously still work to do regarding further education and further awareness. What we have to do if we are going to move forward is take an approach of trying to work together to move forward and be better rather than pointing fingers at one another.

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