In a statement signed on March 2, the Jesuit Provincials of English and French Canada, Fr. Peter Bisson, SJ, and Fr. Erik Oland, SJ, reacted to the judgments of the courts in the cases of Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie. The acquittal of the alleged murderers of these two young Indigenous persons sparked anger across the country.
The Provincials wanted to express their condolences to the families and communities while showing solidarity with the suffering experienced by "our First Nations brothers and sisters." In the eyes of the Provincials, "the verdicts of not guilty after these two trials" have brought to light "the prejudices, discrimination, and marginalization […] that are still faced by the Indigenous peoples of our country." They expressed their solidarity with Indigenous peoples, "especially with First Nations women and youth who stand up against injustice."
The Provincials invited Canadians to reflect on the "perverse and often hidden effects of colonialism, within our social, legal, political and religious institutions." "We believe that genuine reconciliation is possible only with true justice," they added.
Concerned by the issue of reconciliation with the First Nations, the Jesuits in Canada invite citizens and elected officials to "appease this deep crisis of confidence in a justice system that unfortunately seems to fail to protect and offer fair treatment to Indigenous peoples of our country."
For the English version of the Fountaine Boushie Statement please click here.
For the French version of the Fountaine Boushie Statement please click here.