This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Seemingly Insolvable Human Conundrum 

"The RCMP is in a very difficult position."
"You have farmers complaining about under-policing and you tend to have an Indigenous population complaining about over-policing."
Glen Luther, professor of law, University of Saskatchewan

"When you go to your local coffee shop and you find out your neighbour was robbed last night, it sticks in your mind, and you have to start thinking about protecting your own properties."
"It doesn't deter them [First Nations young men] from trying again [without prosecution resulting from crime sprees]. It's an easy get if you're not going to be brought to justice."
Rick Kehler, Saskatchewan farmer, Paynton, Saskatchewan
Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie.
Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, was acquitted of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie. (Facebook/Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

And there lies the problem of social dystrophy, where two solitudes view their social obligations, security and responsibilities in wildly variant ways. First Nations Canadians across the spectrum and across the country complain that their youth are disproportionately represented in Canadian prisons. That there is a distinct reason for that state of affairs in that First Nations youth are involved in the commission of more crimes per their population size than non-Indigenous youth appears not to sway them from their complaints.

That Canadian Aboriginals face discrimination and lack of respect, feel oppressed and under-valued is another reality. But the simple reality also is that there is a reluctance to integrate with the larger society alongside a wish to remain separate, to embrace their heritage, and to live on reserves administered by councils that in too many instances, enrich themselves and ignore the needs of the reserve residents, apportioning government funding disproportionately.

Another unfortunate reality is that in greater numbers than the general public, violence and suicide stalk Aboriginal populations in Canada where First Nations people are prone to drug and alcohol addictions so that crime appears to naturally follow. In First Nations communities violence against men, women and children perpetrated by other residents is also disproportionate to the general society, as is the neglect of children's most basic needs for emotional support and guidance.

The insistence among Indigenous leaders that remote reserves should have medical services equal to that of urban dwellers is so obviously impractical. Impractical too is the prevalent view that government provided reserve housing can be allowed to disintegrate because the people who live in them cannot bother simple household upkeep. Just as impractical as complaining of high unemployment in isolated communities where there are no employment opportunities.

A trial just recently concluded where a white farmer in Saskatchewan was found not guilty by a jury of his peers in the death of a 22-year-old Cree man who, along with four friends, drove inebriated onto his property, attempting to steal an all-terrain vehicle there when the same group had an hour previous driven onto another farm property and failed in an attempt to steal a truck there. The entire area is one of rampant crime where farmers report tools, equipment and vehicle theft on a constant basis. And because of a lack of police follow-up have initiated their own monitoring.

The actions of the five young people in the SUV, inebriated and out of control, alarmed the farmer, his adult son and the farmer's wife. A melee ensued resulting in the death of Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, by a shot from a handgun held by 55-year-old Gerald Stanley who feared for the safety of his son and wife. Boushie shot dead while seated in the SUV, had a rifle on his lap. Two young women in the SUV exited the vehicle and proceeded to beat the farmer's wife before running off.

The RCMP investigating the death is under criticism because officers entered Boushie's mother's home without a warrant, both informing her of her son's death, and looking for the presence of a witness to the event. The SUV the five young people were driving with a flat tire was impounded, presumably because it was stolen. When the trial jury was selected both the defence and the Crown had the opportunity to refuse jurors which ended up an all-white jury of men and women, no Indigenous.

When RCMP cadets are being trained they are exposed to classroom exercises in Indigenous rights and culture. An interactive exercise introduces them to a sense of the "betrayal, loss, suffering and discrimination Indigenous people suffered following European settlement". In Canadian law when Indigenous people are on trial especial consideration is given to their background circumstances, excusing them where white accused would not be through a process known as the 'Gladu' principle.

Despite all the efforts on the part of non-Indigenous Canada to cater to the needs of First Nations people, nothing seems to work to the advantage of the entire society. At the present time there are 1,500 Indigenous officers on the federal police force, representing roughly 8 percent of the officer ranks. RCMP members have regular meetings with national Indigenous organizations to speak of methods in hopes of preventing crime, to reduce victimization of Indigenous people.
"This testimony [from a witness], although this is entirely up to you to decide, is at odds with the autopsy report that definitively states that Mr. Boushie died from a single gunshot to the head."
"If you have a reasonable doubt about Mr. Stanley's guilt arising from ... the credibility or the reliability of one or more of the witnesses, then you must find him not guilty."
"There is no dispute that Mr. Stanley was lawfully justified in the circumstances of this case to retrieve his handgun and fire it into the air as warning shots, if you find that this is what he did."
"Beyond that, it is for you to determine if his actions continued to be lawful."
Chief Justice Martel Popescul :  Instructions to the jury, Stanley second-degree murder trial : Not guilty

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