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Book about Gerald Stanley case upsets Colten Boushie’s family due to lack of consultation




When Jade Tootoosis came across a new book about her cousin’s death, she says she felt insulted that her family was not properly consulted.  

Canadian Justice, Indigenous Injustice by Kent Roach puts “Gerald Stanley’s acquittal for killing Colten Boushie in the context of Canada’s colonial and systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples,” according to the publisher. It was released last month, not too long before the first anniversary of the acquittal.

In August 2016, Gerald Stanley shot and killed 22-year-old Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man, in his Saskatchewan farmyard. He was charged with second-degree murder. His defence rested on a “hang fire” argument — that Boushie was accidentally killed after the gun fired late following Stanley’s warning shots.

In February 2018, a jury with no visibly Indigenous members acquitted Stanley. The verdict further stoked racial tensions in the province that had been inflamed by the case.​

“My family had no idea. We had no idea that this was happening,” Tootoosis said of the book’s release. She said she has not been able to bring herself to read the book but did tell the author she was upset about it. She said some of her family has read the book and is OK with what he has written.

“We understand that it is going to be used for educational purposes.”

Tootoosis said the family was contacted one week before the book was released.

“My family and I, we expressed a lot of our displeasure in him writing a book without consulting. We had questions of where he gathered his information from and he said that he mainly got his information from public records, such as the court transcripts.”

Tootoosis said she found the cover of Roach’s book particularly triggering.

“It’s just tough to look at and brings up a lot of hard feelings.”

The cover of the book written by Kent Roach and published by McGill-Queens University Press. (McGill-Queens University Press website )

Roach, a University of Toronto law professor, said he published the book with an academic publisher with the intent of using it for educational purposes in the classroom.

He spent eight months parsing trial transcripts and putting them into the wider context of Indigenous people’s history — particularly in the legal world — and the social context of the province, he said. He previously told CBC what qualifies as justice under Canadian law often doesn’t provide a sense of justice for Indigenous people.

“It was a deliberate decision not to contact any of the participants in the trial process … if we were going to go that way, we would have to get proper ethical permissions for dealing with human subjects,” Roach said in a new interview.

After being interviewed by CBC and hearing the concerns from the family, Roach said he is asking the McGill-Queens University Press to change the cover of the book. However, he stands by his methodology in using only public records and not consulting with the family sooner.

Control of the narrative

Seeing the book wasn’t only jarring for the family. Nickita Longman, who is a Saulteaux writer from the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan, said it was “pretty unsettling” to see the first book about the case released “by a non-Indigenous author” so close to the one-year anniversary of the Gerald Stanley verdict.

Writer Nickita Longman, a Saulteaux woman from Saskatchewan, is critical of the timing of the release of Roach’s book and the lack of consultation with Colten Boushie’s family. (Nickita Longman/Facebook )

“This isn’t the first time — and it won’t be the last time — that settlers, particularly white men, control a narrative of our history,” she said. “I can’t help but feel that the way that we process pain and the way that we process our histories are very different than the way that settlers and academics and scholars and even lawyers would process it.”

She said Indigenous authors have an understanding and a sense of responsibility to their communities to tell their stories accurately and with care and respect.

“And I don’t know if that same care and respect is as much of a priority to non-Indigenous authors and reporters … so of course there’s a big need to have so many more indigenous reporters to tell our stories in these ways that are mindful and respectful to families that are grieving.”

Writing on Indigenous history

James Daschuk has dedicated more than 20 years of his life to studying and writing about Indigenous issues. He said a focus on consultation and ownership of stories was always part of his approach. The non-Indigenous associate professor at the University of Regina wrote the award-winning book Clearing the Plains, about the intentional starvation of Indigenous people on the Prairies by Sir John A. Macdonald. 

“I’m pretty conscious of, or try to be as conscious as I can, not to speak on behalf of Indigenous people, right? So I’ll be as clinical or whatever it will be, using the documentary evidence,” Daschuk said.

James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains, says he uses means of consent and consultation along with what he calls ‘white privilege’ to get messages of Indigenous history out to people in power. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Daschuk said that at times he uses his “white privilege” to assist Indigenous people to get their message to people in power or audiences they may not have access to.

“I’ve been thanked by Indigenous people for writing the book, but also for being white and writing the book, which kind of speaks to my white privilege … and somebody said, ‘Because if we wrote it, people would just say we’re complaining,'” Daschuk said. “So by being non-Indigenous I have … the veneer of impartiality.”

He said this “points to the embedded racism in our society because if you wrote the same words … you might not get the same response at all.”

Sister might read book

Tootoosis said her family understands the importance of Roach’s book and she doesn’t want to discourage people from reading it. She might read it herself in the future, but she said she’ll have a critical eye.

“I’m curious to see what he’s written, but I definitely will be taking some precautionary measures just for my well-being and that will probably be asking a few of my friends to read along with me so we’re able to process it as we go through the book.”


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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