THUNDER BAY, ON, May 17 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose today
responded to the recent public statements of Ontario Attorney General
Chris Bentley reported by the Canadian Press to the effect that 'issues
around jury selection have been resolved' in respect to the Thunder Bay
"Under no circumstances does NAN agree that the issue of exclusion of
First Nations from jury rolls has been resolved. Until the Government
of Ontario does the right thing and conducts an inquiry and reports on
the truth of the systematic exclusion of First Nations from our justice
system, this matter will not be resolved. We, along with First Nation
coalition partners, have been seeking such a report since September
2008, but until the Court of Appeal issued its judgment in March 2011
we were largely ignored," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose.
"Tragically, there has been another death in our communities and yet
the Attorney General claims that Ontario is doing everything it can.
After the deaths of seven of our teenagers in similar circumstances
since 2000, I do not accept that this government can credibly claim
that they have resolved anything."
Julian Falconer, NAN's legal counsel on the Bushie Inquest and the jury
roll issues, stated: "We were retained to pursue legal proceedings that
would result in a complete report on the scope and circumstances
surrounding the lack of First Nations jury representativeness in the
Province of Ontario. The systematic exclusion of communities of people
from the justice system such as occurred here, is unprecedented and yet
First Nations continue to be denied what would be an automatic for
mainstream Canadians; a full accounting from the Province's Attorney
General. To use the words of the Court of Appeal in the recent Bushie
case (par. 72), officials from the A.G. and the Coroner‟s Office "have
not been forthcoming" and have given First Nations the "run-around" in
the face of reasonable requests for information. These issues are far
Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and
Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 - an area covering two thirds of the
province of Ontario.
SOURCE Nishnawbe Aski Nation
For further information:
Amy Harris, Director of Communications - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625 4906 or (807) 252-2806 mobile or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julian N. Falconer - Falconer Charney LLP (416) 964-3408 ext. 234