Crown won’t appeal verdict in Tina Fontaine case

Raymond Cormier, right, was acquitted in the death of Tina Fontaine

Crown will not appeal acquittal of Raymond Cormier 

Manitoba Justice says Crown prosecutors will not appeal the acquittal of a man who was accused of killing 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

Last month, a jury found Raymond Cormier, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina, whose body was found wrapped in a duvet cover weighed down with rocks in the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014.

The verdict sparked rallies and support for Tina’s family from across turtle island.

“After a critical review … by the Manitoba Prosecution Service’s appeal unit and the Crown attorneys who prosecuted the case, it has been determined there are no grounds to base a successful appeal,” says the statement released Tuesday.

The Crown says it has advised Tina’s family of the decision.

Her cause of death remains unknown.


City Centre Mall lifts ban on Métis elder after security guards’ actions reviewed

Terry Lusty at the Truth and Reconciliation event held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, March 27, 2014. Perry Mah/ Postmedia, file

A well-known and respected Métis elder says security guards banned him from City Centre Mall in downtown Edmonton for one month, all while he was trying to do a good deed.

Terry Lusty said he was catching a quick bite on the third-level food court Wednesday when he spotted a woman’s RBC credit card on the floor.

He picked it up and loudly called out the woman’s first name to see if she was still around so he could return the card.

Getting no response, he moved into the next section of the food court and called out the woman’s name again.

He said he was simply “trying to be an honest citizen and help somebody out.”

He checked the back of the card and began calling the 1-800 number on his way back to his burger and fries when he was approached by a plainclothes security guard wearing a white name badge.


“It didn’t look like anything official. It looked like something anybody could have made up,” Lusty said Friday.

The security guard asked Lusty to give the card to him, but he explained he was already on hold with the bank and that he would look after it.

Lusty told the man he was simply doing his “due diligence” in reporting the card lost. That didn’t wash with the security guard, who summoned two more security guards using his phone.

They asked him to leave, but Lusty refused.

“I told them that I had just bought a meal here and I am going to eat it in peace,” he said.

“They just stood over me while I ate. They were just power tripping. I even told them that they could sit down while I finished my meal.”

After reporting the card lost, the bank official said the card should be destroyed, Lusty said.

“That’s when I handed it over to (the security guard) and told him that he could now have it and he should cut it up,” he said.

The security guard didn’t hear Lusty so he repeated what the bank had told him, followed by “Are you deaf?”

That’s when he said he was told to immediately leave the premises and not to come back until the following day.

He refused and finished his meal. He then headed for the elevator, but not before he snapped a photo of two of the guards.


At that point, the security guards said he was banned from the mall for one month.

“I mean, this has happened before,” Lusty said, referring to an incident in 2014 when Indigenous outreach worker Gary Moostoos was banned from the food court for six months for no reason.

“This was just racist and discriminatory and it was sheer stupidity,” Lusty said.

“People from our communities need to know that if they assert themselves on matters that they feel are right about, that is their right to do so and they should do so, because otherwise our people will continue being walked all over.”

Mall general manager Olympia Trencevski viewed security footage of the incident and said she was “disappointed.”

The ban was lifted Friday, she said.

“This goes against all of our values and standards and everything we have been working so hard for,” Trencevski said. “What we saw was unacceptable.”

The plainclothes security guard has been removed from duties and will be required to redo all of his training, including diversity, sensitivity, Indigenous awareness and customer service training, Paladin Security executive vice-president Greg Swecera said Friday.

The other two guards will be required to review the footage and may undergo further training.

Lusty will receive a written apology from the group and a face-to-face apology from the plainclothes security guard, Swecera said.

“I’ve had very good, positive, conversation with Terry and we are working through it,” he said.


Mi’kmaq community on edge over hit-and-run death of Brady Francis

Brady Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is shown in this undated handout image. CP/HO-Garnett Augustine

Elsipogtog First Nation seeks justice for Brady Francis killed Saturday in Saint-Charles

A grieving New Brunswick First Nation is anxiously awaiting the results of a police probe into the hit-and-run death of a popular young man, with many saying they are seeking a justice they felt was eluded in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.

Brady Francis, 22, was hit by a pickup truck Saturday as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

Social media posts were circulating Wednesday with pictures of Fontaine, Boushie and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent jury verdicts on the Prairies.

“I’m just saying that I hope history doesn’t repeat itself,” Garnett Augustine, Francis’s employer, said Wednesday.

Ruth Levi, a band councillor and the director of social services in Elsipogtog, said in an interview that the Mi’kmaq community is calling for charges in the death.

“We’re hurting, we left a very fine, wonderful young man. Our youth are hurting, the whole community is,” said the 57-year-old community leader in a telephone interview.

“We’re keeping an eye out for the results of the police investigation.”

She said community members attended a fundraiser Monday evening at CC’s Entertainment Centre on the reserve to raise over $31,000 for funeral expenses for the young man’s funeral.

Many people will be wearing white T-shirts with the logo “Justice For Brady,” at a funeral planned for Saturday, she added.

Levi was among the community members who drove to the scene on Saturday night in Saint-Charles.

Word rapidly spread that a GMC pickup truck had struck Francis as he walked away from an evening gathering.

Levi said family members have informed her that Francis had called his father, asking for a drive home and that the young man was awaiting the arrival of his relatives to bring him home.

Augustine, Francis’s employer at the entertainment centre, said he rushed to the scene after the incident, and witnessed paramedics trying to revive the young man he referred to as “my little right-hand man.”

Like Levi, Augustine said community members are deeply concerned by the death, and are eager to know precisely what occurred.

“I’m hoping for justice,” he said, adding that the recent not guilty verdicts in the 2016 death of Boushie in Saskatchewan and the 2014 death of Fontaine in Winnipeg are on the minds of many in the First Nation community.

“It’s hard. The whole community is shattered,” he said.

A memorial for Brady Francis, 22,. Morganne Campbell/ Global News

Said one Twitter user: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”

Only scant details have been made available so far about what occurred.

Police said in a news release on Tuesday that Francis was “a pedestrian” in Saint-Charles, N.B., on the evening when he was struck.

RCMP initially said they found a GMC truck sign at the scene, and have since seized a truck as part of the investigation.

The Mounties also said in a news release they are analyzing a key piece of evidence and have been conducting interviews.

Still, emotions have been running high, said Levi.

She said she and about 40 other community residents went to the house of the alleged driver of the truck on the morning after the incident.

Francis’s grandfather urged the crowd to disperse, and Levi helped to arrange a candlelight vigil on the reserve.

“We’re preparing for Saturday’s funeral … Brady’s body will be home tomorrow and we’ll get the crisis team ready,” she said.

“This young man took the appropriate steps to come home. He called his parents … and while he’s talking to his Dad, all of a sudden the phone goes dead. That’s something we don’t want people to forget,” she said.

— Story by Michael Tutton in Halifax.

The Canadian Press 


Trump not planning to ship Native Americans to India

This article was originally published by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump never proposed sending the U.S. population of about 3 million American Indians “back” to India, as a satirical news site claimed in a piece with fabricated tweets attributed to the president.

The Postillon’s story says Trump seeks to improve national security and was to sign an executive order to deport the country’s Native Americans. The story claimed Trump consulted with members of his administration and learned Native Americans don’t have “relevant immigration documents”. It attributes quotes Trump never said to Fox News, and fabricates two tweets from Feb. 13, 2017, about the issue that were never sent from the president’s account.

The piece is illustrated with a photo of Trump speaking last year to troops while visiting U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. The president did call at that event for more stringent screening to keep out those who “want to destroy us and destroy our country.” He said nothing about American Indians, the earliest settlers in North America. Native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Calls for Child Welfare overhaul filter into Sask. after Tina Fontaine’s death in Man.

Manitoba’s child welfare system has been criticized since Tina Fontaine’s body was found in the Red River in 2014. (CBC)

81% of 5,000 children in care in Sask. are Indigenous

As the death of Tina Fontaine leads to calls for an overhaul of the child welfare system in Manitoba, a similar push is gaining momentum in Saskatchewan.

On Aug 17, 2014, Fontaine was found dead in Winnipeg’s Red River. Fontaine was originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, but had been in the care of Manitoba’s child welfare system at the time of her death.

Calls for drastic change in Manitoba’s child welfare system have been consistent and loud since Fontaine’s body was discovered. In Saskatchewan, similar whispers are getting louder.

There are approximately 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan, and about 4,000 of them are Indigenous.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has been in talks with the Ministry of Social Services in Saskatchewan since October — when Second Vice-Chief David Pratt was elected to improve the situation for young Indigenous people in the care of the province. The collaboration is in its infancy, according to Pratt.

David Pratt is the second vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and manages the child welfare file. (Brad Bellegarde/CBC News)

“There’s a lot of receiving homes open in Saskatchewan and we want greater accountability in terms of what’s going on in those homes, who’s staffing those homes, if there’s any cultural component happening in those homes,” he said.

“I think we need to work together as partners.”

Pratt has been encouraged by the readiness of federal ministers Jane Philpott, of Indigenous Services, and Carolyn Bennett, of Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, to focus on prevention of children having to go into care, rather than band-aid solutions.

But Pratt said the province has some work to do.

‘Here in Saskatchewan, we have a lot of work to get done.’ – FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt on Saskatchewan’s child welfare system

“A lot of times the government comes to us with the jurisdictional song and dance. We know the constitution. We know what Section 91 states, that responsibility [for] Indians falls under the federal government. But we’ve got to look at what regions like Ontario are doing.”

In Ontario, federal and provincial governments work with Ontario Chiefs as a tripartite to work toward better outcomes for children in care.

“In Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq actually helped draft the child welfare legislation. Why can’t we do that in Saskatchewan? Let’s open up that legislation.”

Pratt believes that groups like the FSIN have solutions, if only various levels of government would listen.

Recognizing trauma, heritage

Part of improving outcomes for Indigenous children who are unable to live with their parents is connecting them with their home communities.

“Nine hundred of these children are not registered with their community, so we’d like to work as partners with the ministry to get them back registered,” said Pratt

“It’ll help them with their identity. Learning who they are is part of a healthy young individual.”

A young Indigenous person’s identity, though, can often involve a history linked to residential schools and intergenerational trauma, and the necessity of navigating colonial systems.

“Our treaty partners in Saskatchewan, non-Indigenous people, need to realize our history and that we’re not going to find solutions unless we work together on them,” said Pratt.

Within the province’s social services, there has been a conscious shift over the past few years to be more sensitive to the needs of young Indigenous people, and to connect them with their First Nations and families

Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014. It was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. (Tina Fontaine/Facebook)

“For many Indigenous families we work with, they might identify elders, community leaders, or agencies like community-based organizations that are Indigenous-run, or they might identify their home First Nation, so we’d connect with them in developing the case plan,” said Tobie Eberhardt, executive director of community services at the Ministry of Social Services.

“It would be around the family identifying what their needs are, who they would see as their natural supports.”

Every child is also subject to a strength and needs assessment when they come to the ministry for help.

Most often, children are then placed with a family member, or at the very least, with someone familiar to them.

“Sixty per cent of children in Saskatchewan are placed with extended family, or significant people in their lives,” said Eberhardt.

CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2018


Norway House Installs Checkpoint to Block Drugs, Liquor

The 24-hour checkpoint is on Highway 73, the only road into Norway House. (Norway House Cree Nation/Facebook)

Visitors and community members must pull into 24-hour checkpoint staffed by security guards

Anyone driving into Norway House Cree Nation now has to go through a border patrol-like checkpoint.

The dry community is taking the extra step to prevent alcohol and drugs from entering the reserve.

All visitors and community members must pull into the 24-hour checkpoint — a building that resembles a registration gate at a national park — where trained security guards will ask for a licence and registration.

Norway House Chief Ron Evans says they have been talking about a checkpoint for a few years.

“We have a lot of issues with drugs and alcohol in our community and we have people driving in and out all hours, and this was one way for us to at least alleviate some of that,” said Norway House Chief Ron Evans.

The community of about 5,000 people, located 460 kilometres north of Winnipeg, launched the new security measure on Monday. The checkpoint is located on Highway 73, the only road into Norway House.

“They [guards] may ask … if you belong to the community or, if you’re visiting, they may ask you what brings you into the community,” Evans said.

“From the responses, I guess they’ll determine whether it warrants a search of your vehicle or not.”

Evans said they have been talking about the idea for a few years and got the process rolling after a 2015 meeting with the RCMP.

More meetings followed between Norway House leaders and politicians from both the federal and provincial levels of government to develop the necessary bylaws.

Evans estimates it will cost $500,000 a year to operate the checkpoint.

CBC News


‘The world knows his name’: rally for Colten Boushie held in Regina exactly one week after verdict


Members of the American Indian movement were part of a one-week rally on Friday night, in which people took a minute to remember and honour the memory of Colten Boushie. (CBC News)

Minute of silence held one week after Gerald Stanley found not guilty in Boushie’s death

One week after the verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial came down, people gathered in Regina to remember the death of Colten Boushie.

A group of about 60 walked and sang during the Friday night rally, before making their way to a downtown hall. There, they held one minute of silence at 7:30 p.m., to coincide with the time one week earlier, when a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty in Boushie’s shooting death.

Satin Denny, eldest sister to Boushie, stood to give a tearful address. She told those gathered how thankful her family members have been for the support of everyone across Canada, following her brother’s death.

“It’s hard; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.

Several came to the front to embrace Denny, and to speak about their feelings on the treatment of Indigenous people and their feelings on the need for change.

Murray Stonechild stood to describe some of the difficult things he had seen in his lifetime, as a war veteran, and yet how unsafe he and other Indigenous people felt right at home in Saskatchewan in the wake of Boushie’s death.

However, he said he felt something good would come from the sadness and misfortune of Boushie’s death.

“The world is watching. The world knows his name,” he said.

Stonechild said the federal government is now speaking out, recognizing the need for reform of the justice system.

Groups like Colonialism No More and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism have been trying to support the Boushie family by holding events like the one-week rally, said organizer Michelle Stewart. They continue to hold events to draw awareness to what she called a “two-tiered” justice system.

“I think what we’re doing right now in Regina and across Canada is demonstrating capacity to continue to hold space until something changes,” she said.

“I hope this is a catalyst for change.”

CBC News · Posted: Feb 16, 2018


RCMP investigate after officer reportedly wrote Facebook post that Colten Boushie ‘got what he deserved’

The RCMP is investigating reports an officer made a Facebook post saying Colten Boushie “got what he deserved.”

According to APTN News an RCMP officer on the Prairies posted the message, which said the shooting of the 22-year-old Indigenous man on a Saskatchewan farm should never have been about race.

Boushie, from the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed in 2016. Gerald Stanley, 56, was acquitted of second-degree murder in a verdict last week by an all-white jury, spurring protests across the country in what many believe was a racially motivated decision.

The female officer who made the post claims to police a First Nations community.

The RCMP told the Star that there are no officers with the name linked to the Facebook account, and didn’t confirm whether the woman worked as an officer under another name.

“Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved. How many of us work on or near reserves and are getting fed up with the race card being used every time someone gets caught breaking the law?,” she said.

Facebook post from APTN

The comment was posted in a Facebook group called “News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP,” and has since been deleted.

APTN did not disclose the person’s identity, but said two sources shared screenshots of the posting and revealed who the officer is.

“Obviously, this remark is absolutely appalling and unacceptable,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a teleconference with journalists Thursday.

The RCMP’s statement in response to the story said on- and off-duty members must behave in accordance with the force’s code of conduct and that a member’s use of the internet for social networking is subject to the same standards.

It said members must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a disgraceful or discreditable manner. When concerns about disrespectful content believed to be written by an RCMP employee are raised, “they are and will be investigated and addressed.”

“The RCMP is once again reminding people that they can and will be held responsible for their communications, both in-person and on-line, and police will investigate any complaints of suspected criminal behaviour,” it said.

Deaths of 2 Cree people during interactions with Timmins police under investigation

A vigil was held Tuesday in Timmins for 21-year-old Joey Knapaysweet of Fort Albany First Nation near the spot on Gillies Lake where he was shot by police on Saturday. (Facebook)

The province’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating both incidents

The mayor of Timmins is calling for calm after two Cree people were killed over the weekend following altercations with city police.

A 21-year-old man was shot dead by police near Gillies Lake, while a 62-year-old woman died after being detained in a jail cell.

Numerous sources, including Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus, have identified them as Joey Knapaysweet and Agnes Sutherland, both of Fort Albany First Nation.

Little is being said officially about the deaths as they are now under investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit or SIU, which looks into any serious incidents involving police.

Timmins mayor Steve Black is calling for citizens to refrain from making comments about the two Indigenous people killed over the weekend and about the city’s police force until the investigation is concluded. (

But Timmins Mayor Steve Black thinks too much is being said about these incidents in his city and called for calm at the start of Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

​”I would encourage our community to please refrain from some of the comments that are being made towards the individual and the family that are not appropriate and racist in some regard in social media circles and definitely inappropriate for a time like this,” Black said.

“And some of the comments towards our police, I believe. We should wait for the investigation to take its course and hear from the SIU.”

Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon (Erik White/CBC)

The deaths have overshadowed the emergency summit being held in Timmins by the Mushkegowuk Council this week.

The regional James Bay government declared a state of emergency in November, worried about a tide of drugs and alcohol coming into it’s seven member communities.

Grand Chief Johnathan Solomon says there has been sense of optimism at the summit, that all the communities, the three levels of government, police and health partners will work together to find solutions.

“There’s a lot of unison in regards to working together and people are, like I said, have optimism that we can do this. We can become a healthy nation, healthy communities with health families,” Solomon said.

“I know that we won’t be able to stop it but someway, somehow we’ve got to find a way to decrease the flow of illicit drugs into our communities.”

CBC News Posted: Feb 07, 2018


Fatal Shooting of Colten Boushie A ‘Freak Accident:’ Defence

Colten Boushie, left, was killed in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

A defence lawyer says an Indigenous teen who died in a shooting on a Saskatchewan farm was the victim of a freak accident.

Gerald Stanley’s lawyer is making his opening arguments before a jury hearing the man’s second-degree murder trial.

Scott Spencer told jurors that 22-year-old Colten Boushie’s death wasn’t justified, but they must put themselves in Stanley’s shoes.

He said the Stanley family was facing intruders on their farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016 which created a panic situation.

Spencer suggested it wasn’t unreasonable for warning shots to be fired to scare off the intruders and called the fatal shooting a “freak accident in the course of an unimaginably scary situation.”

Boushie was sitting in the driver’s seat of a grey Ford Escape when he was shot.

“This is not a justified death. It is never right to take somebody’s life. But that’s not what this case is all about,” Spencer told court in Battleford, Sask., on Monday.

“For farm people, your yard is your castle. We have a family. They were working on their ranch. That’s what the day started like for Gerry and his family. What happened is they faced essentially (an) intruder.”

Court has heard an SUV with a flat tire carrying five people drove onto the Stanley farm. The driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley farm in search of help with the tire.

Stanley’s son has testified that on the day of the shooting, he and his father heard an ATV start and thought it was being stolen. The pair ran toward the SUV and threw a hammer at the windshield as the driver tried to leave the farm.

Sheldon Stanley said he went into the house to get his truck keys and heard two gunshots. He said he heard a third when he came back out. He told court he saw his father, looking sick, with a gun in his hand saying, “It just went off.”

“You have to view it from Gerry’s perspective and what he faced. The fear, the unknown. When you’re in a situation where you have intruders and you don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for police assistance. This case comes down to what’s reasonable,” Spencer said.

“It’s not a self defence. What can you do to protect yourself in those circumstances? You can’t use lethal force but is it reasonable to deal with the circumstance to protect you and your family?”

Spencer suggested Stanley’s gun misfired.

“The reality is the gun just went off. If they would have just stopped … stopped stealing … just walked away he wouldn’t have had to go over there.” said Spencer, who added that Stanley will take the stand to explain what happened.

The Crown wrapped up its case last week.

The Canadian Press