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In the angry wake of the Boushie verdict, Justin Trudeau tries to find the words

In the angry wake of the Boushie verdict, Justin Trudeau tries to find the words
From CBC - February 13, 2018

Faced with a belief, shared by many,that justice has not been servedand a moment that could seem to exemplify centuries of continuing injusticeJustin Trudeau and his government obviously feel the need to say something.

But in the wake of a jury's ruling that Gerald Stanley did not commit a criminal offence in the death of ColtenBoushie, the words have notcome easily.

On Monday afternoon, for instance, there were loud grumbles in the House of Commons when the prime minister prefaced his response to a question about the case with the proviso that "it would be completely inappropriate to comment on the specifics of this case."

"We understand," he said in the next breath, "that there are systemic issues in our criminal justice system that we must address."

The grumbles spoke to a suspicion in some quartersthat the Liberals already haveinappropriately commentedon ajudicial proceedinga case that might still be appealed.

Wilson-Raybould's promise to 'do better'

Trudeau's first responseon Friday night was to acknowledge the personal loss and send his "love" to the Boushie family.Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould offered empathy and a vague opinion.

"As a country we can and must do better," she wrote."I am committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians."

"Do better" suggests something or someone has failed. And so, on Saturday morning, Trudeau was asked whether he and the attorney general were questioning the judicial process.

"I am not going to comment on the process that ledto this point today," Trudeau said. "But I am going to say that we have come to this point as a country far too many times. Indigenous people across this country are angry, they are heartbroken. And I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better."

On Monday, Wilson-Raybould pleaded that she had been speaking "about the justice system generally."

Maybe she was and maybe she thought she was staying on the right side of the line. But at the very least, she could be accused of cutting it rather close.

A government that questions a particular verdict, or suggests the legal system itself is deficient, can expect to be accused of weakening the reputation and independence of the judicial process itself.

But the moment also seems to demand more than a no-comment.

So it might be a momentto look back at Barack Obama's response to a not-guilty verdict in the death of Trayvon Martin, the black 17-year-old who was fatally shot in Florida in 2012.

How Obama did it

On the day that a jury acquitted George Zimmerman, the U.S. president released a ten-sentence statement. Five days later, he addressed reporters at the White House, speaking for nearly 20 minutes.

Explaining the anger

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