Raymond Cormier not guilty in death of Tina Fontaine

26 February, 2018, 09:44 | Author: Diane Mills

The jury has already heard that Tina was raised by her great-aunt on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg, but went to the city to visit her mother.

Boushie was with four other young people who drove their SUV into a Saskatchewan farmyard in August 2016. "If we want reconciliation and truly protect our children and families, we can no longer allow the status quo to exist".

The verdict in Cormier's case brought renewed accusations that the justice system fails to properly serve Indigenous people.

"Fundamentally, we need jurisdiction over our children and we're going to take it and we're going to move forward", he said.

As a social worker and a volunteer with the North End watch group Bear Clan Patrol, Bighetty says he felt in that moment he had failed Tina and that as an Indigenous man the system has failed him.

He said that is the last time he saw her. Cormier acknowledged the argument in an interview with police and said he followed her down the street before turning in the other direction. "You set us up for failure right from the start and take our children away", said Jerry Daniels, grand chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization.

"This is a hard and tremendously sad day for our people", she said.

"She doesn't want to see any retaliation", North said.

"She wants peace. She wants healing".

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Sounds of drumming, traditional song and shouts of "we want justice" echoed through downtown during the almost three-hour long event, which wound past the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and ended at Oodena Circle, the sacred site at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers at The Forks. Once there, her life spiralled out of control and she became an exploited youth.

Cormier's defense lawyers, Tony Kavanagh and Andrew Synyshyn challenged recorded evidence and argued the Crown's case was built on "inferences made from recordings that are hard to hear".

She and her boyfriend met Cormier in the summer of 2014. Holland testified that she heard Tina tell Cormier she was going to call the cops.

As an Indigenous girl not much younger than Tina was, Traverse says her mother often warns her to be careful and not to "dilly dally" on her walk to and from school.

Witnesses remember Tina and Cormier fighting in the street over a stolen truck and Tina accusing him of selling her bike for drugs. Court heard an audio recording of Tina calling 911 to report a stolen truck. He wasn't charged at the time, but was jailed on a theft and breach charge until June 2015, when the Winnipeg Police Service began a six-month undercover investigation that ended with Cormier's arrest for second degree murder in December 2015.

A forensic pathologist testified during the trial that it was not possible to determine how Ms Fontaine died. In our sadness, we must be motivated to make a difference. "My community of Sagkeeng will be hurting as I go home today". "The people in this country need to know Tina was loved by everybody".

North points out that almost three decades after the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, a Manitoba examination of the treatment of Indigenous people in the justice system, numerous recommendations haven't been implemented.

These real, positive partnerships are what we all need to pursue to prevent future tragedies. We live in Third World conditions.


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