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It was a moment’s decision by the Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley that claimed the life of 22-year-old Colten Boushie.
Perry Bellegarde—National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations—commented, “In too many ways, this is a sad day for Saskatchewan.” But the cause of the grim mood in the province was not just the murder itself. It’s what happened after the murder.
It seemed like the incident opened the floodgates to allegations of racism, blame game by both parties, politically charged statements, and some controversial decisions by the police. Some believe that the murder and its aftermath are representative of the deep racial divide in Canada.
The horrific murder
On Tuesday night, Boushie and his friends were returning from a day at the lake when they had to stop at Stanley’s property due to a blown tire when they were attacked. “That guy just come out of nowhere and he just smashed our window,” said Boushie’s cousin Eric Meechance.
They attempted to drive away but the car hit a nearby parked vehicle, leaving them with only a single option—run on foot. “Running is probably what saved all of our lives, you know, because if he’s going to shoot one, (he) probably would have shot us all,” he said. “He wasn’t shooting to scare us. He was shooting to kill.”
While the rest were able to save their lives, Boushie wasn’t as lucky. He was shot in the head.
The chilling aftermath
One of the major reasons for a national outcry was the arrest of the three friends by the police over allegations of theft. Many representatives of the First Nations community stated that the police statements made it sound like the vehicle was on the property to commit a crime.
Emotions ran high on both sides. Both the murderer’s and the victim’s family created GoFundMe pages for their relatives. The racist comments online reached such a level that the Premier Brad Wall had to jump in to call for a stop.
As the story develops, however, the crucial questions it raises remain.