Screen shot of Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns speaking during question period. (YouTube)
The NDP’s Gord Johns is pushing the Trudeau Liberals to investigate what he calls ‘ongoing discrimination and racism in our country.’
The Courtenay-Alberni MP joined the calls for the government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, to study what he calls “systemic racism” in Canada.
Johns brought it up in question period on Wednesday, a day after meeting with Colten Boushie’s family and the producers of “nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up.”
Boushie was a 22-year-old from Red Pheasant Cree Nation who was shot and killed by Gerald Stanley on Stanley’s farm in rural Saskatchewan.
Stanley was acquitted on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Johns says the Trudeau Liberals aren’t doing enough to address the issue.
“Despite all of their emotional words, this government has failed to take any meaningful action to fight the discrimination that Indigenous people face in Canada’s legal system,” Johns said during question period.
During Johns’ meeting with the family, they discussed their experiences with the justice system. Johns said he heard their demands for the government to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Johns said the family is waiting for answers and waiting for action.
“Will the Prime Minister support First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people and accept their call, to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous people to Canada, so she can investigate the systemic racism in our justice system?”
In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he also met with Boushie’s family and friends, and he said he told them that “we, too, continue to share their grief in the tragedy that their family underwent.”
“We have committed to advancing reconciliation and addressing the systemic issues involving Indigenous peoples, and within the criminal justice system.”
Earlier Wednesday, the family held a press conference to call on the government to take meaningful action.
“It’s really important that Canadians realize how little has been done since Colten’s life was taken and how much work we still have to do as a country,” Johns said.
In addition to the invitation for the Special Rapporteur, Boushie’s family is asking for a Royal Commission to examine systemic racism, the re-implementation of the Law Reform Commission, and adequate resources to address hate-speech on social media and the internet.
“It’s been two years since the family came to Ottawa to meet with the Prime Minister,” said Johns. “The Prime Minister needs to start backing up his words with concrete actions and work to end the systemic racism Indigenous people and their families are experiencing.”