WATCH: Quebec Commision on relations with Indigenous peoples overshadowed by Colten Boushie verdict
The first day of the Quebec Commission looking into relations between certain Quebec public institutions and Indigenous peoples in the province got underway in Montreal on Monday.
Day-one of the the Commission’s work in Montreal looks at police services and the justice system and their current relationship with Indigenous communities across the province.
Local elder, Sedalia Fazio, said it was hard to talk about “justice” against the shadow of the Colten Boushie verdict hanging heavy over proceedings.
“How do you justify a boy being shot in the back of the head and the person who shot him being deemed totally innocent?”
As the Quebec Commission began its proceedings in Montreal, family members of Colten Boushie are in Ottawa to meet with federal ministers to demand changes to Canada's justice system after the not-guilty verdict in his shooting death.
“I really hope it gives them some peace and some solace because that family really needs it right now,” said Fazio. “But in all honesty what can the government do right now?”
Fazio said she doesn’t have much hope at this time.
“You have just opened the doors for any non-Indigenous person to come walk by me and shoot me and he’d get away with it.”
Fazio said non-Indigenous people may not feel that way, but they do and if the Quebec government is serious about its Commission, it must result in better education about Indigenous peoples and create serious institutional change.
Better education about indigenous communities and and their history is urgently needed in Quebec schools, she said. Along with more “understanding, trust and respect.”