Physicians for Appeal in Gerald Stanley Murder Case
As a general practice physician in Northern BC, I have many First Nations patients who deeply understand the connection between racism and its negative impact on mental and physical health in severe, ongoing ways based on their lived experiences in Canadian society.
Insufficient longitudinal research has been done on the direct impact that racism (institutional and otherwise) has had on the health of Indigenous people in Canada. A systemic review of the data on minorities in the U.S. shows poorer mental and physical health outcomes correlating with perceived racism.
The acquittal of Gerald Stanley is demonstrative of an institutional racism that is inherently dangerous. Much of the conversations around the “suicide epidemics” in Indigenous communities across Canada speculate on prevention and the possibility of healing in these communities, while a common attribute shared by those who die by suicide or attempt to is a pervasive hopelessness.
we intend to repair this widespread lack of hope if verdicts such as
in the Stanley case are allowed to stand? The Canadian justice system
failed Colton Boushie, and this jury declared a young man's life less
important than an ATV.
is Canada communicating to its Indigenous communities that we don't
value Indigenous life. How can we claim to support Indigenous youth to prevail through both historical trauma from past systemic injustices such as
residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, while still encountering
daily reminders that the system does not value and will not protect
verdict in the Stanley trial is a public health risk to every
Indigenous person in Canada, and as physician advocates we have the
obligation to speak out and demand an appeal.