How the Canadian Justice System Fails our Aboriginal Sisters and Brothers

Open Letter to Marc Depatie, communications coordinator, TPS and Mayor Steven Black, Timmins, Ontario.

Timmins Police officer slaps handcuffs on an aboriginal woman who just wanted to get some fresh air. Photo by Frank Giorno TheONEONLINE.CA

Marc, in reading your bombastic and threatening email to me, in which you falsely accused me of writing inflammatory statements about the takedown, handcuffing of a young aboriginal woman in Timmins on Sunday, April 15, 2018, just because she wanted to go for a walk and get some fresh, please read some of the research I have undertaken in support of my statements.

Marc Depatie, is the communications coordinator for Timmins Police Services. Yesterday in response to my video recording the completely unnecessary arrest and re-criminalization of a young aboriginal woman, wrote me a scathing email in which he accused me of writing untrue and inflammatory words.

I respectively disagree with Marc Depatie’s self-serving words and let him know that I am not in the least intimidated by his vile and malicious response. And I am speaking the truth in the biblical senses as John the Apostle said the Truth will Set You Free.

I suggested to Marc, that accepting the truth of the situation is needed if TPS ever hopes to heal and improve the rapidly deteriorating relations with Timmins’ Aboriginal community that has been ongoing, but reached a boiling when on one day in late February two people from Fort Albany in Mushkegowuk Territory died at the hands of Timmins Police –21 year-old Joey Knapaysweet and 62- year old Agnes Sutherland.

These deaths are much more serious than the abominable arrest of the young woman on April 15, 2018, but in posting my video recording I wanted to show that Timmins Aboriginal community suffers even when it comes to everyday things like going for a walk in Timmins. Now TPS says this young woman was supposed to be on house arrest and she was required to stay in doors 24/7. What idiot prosecutor and foolish judge would order such a thing? With technology such as it is other more humane options are available like an ankle monitor.

For example, celebrity Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to house arrest in 2011, but unlike the young woman in Timmins who had to stay indoors all day, Lohan was fitted with an ankle monitor and she had more freedom to go about and walk outdoors and enjoy the simple things in life.

Los Angeles (CNN) — Actress Lindsay Lohan was under house arrest early Friday, authorities said, after she turned herself in early to begin a sentence for jewelry theft conviction.

Lohan showed up three weeks early at a Los Angeles jail to begin serving her sentence, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday.

It was determined that she would serve her time under house arrest because of overcrowding at the facility, authorities said.

She was fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor her movements and ensure she stays at home, except as allowed by the court, Whitmore said. But during those hours Lohan could go out and spend time outdoors with the ankle monitor providing tracking of her movements. (CNN May 27, 2011)

Regrettably this option was not provided to this young woman in Timmins.

“In the mid-2000s, the population of the Beaver County Jail in Hopewell Township peaked at more than 400 inmates on any given day.

That has since dropped to an average of about 250 county inmates in the facility. One of the things that helped to lower that number – and with it, the cost of county corrections – is a small rectangular black device about the size of an iPhone.

It’s an electronic monitoring device attached to a band and worn around a person’s ankle; it’s more commonly known, simply, as an ankle bracelet.- New York Times Feb. 25, 2011.

Below is the list of suggested readings, there are more, way more. I am going to add this list to my and also my blog

Please call me or respond to this email with TPS comment and I will be pleased to include it in my story. The offer goes to you to Mr. Black and Gilles Bisson, Charlie Angus et al.

Rest assured Marc, my statements if anything are understatements given the deplorable situation of how our legal and policing systems mistreats Aboriginal women and men. They history and literature on this deplorable behaviour by the elites has been well document and this behavior has evolved from the British Colonial administration (1672-1867) in the colonies of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, British Columbia and the Rupert’s Land Territories (1672-1870) to our current Canadian system which celebrated it’s 150th Birthday last year.

But Marc, you must realize that last year a great number of Aboriginal Men and Women across Canada were not celebrating because of a history of systemic discrimination and at times down right harm of Aboriginals in places across Canada and Canadian institutions including here in Timmins “The City with the Heart of Gold”.

I hope you don’t mind but I am sharing with you and others my reading list with you, that back my claim that there is something seriously wrong with Timmins Police Services and Aboriginal Community relations.

Did the Timmins Police Department miss or not hear the protests that included Walter Naveau,former Mattagami First Nations chief, were held on the steps of Timmins City Hall as an outcry of injustices in the aftermath of the single day killing of two Aboriginal people in Timmins, Joey Knapysweet, 21 and 62-year old Agnes Sutherland.

And there is still the issue of the six unsolved murdered and missing women in the Timmins area since 1989 and the still unsolved murder of Mario Wesley in 2014.

Mario Wesley was stabbed to death in a house on Windsor Ave on July 28, 2014 and Timmins Police still have no clue as to who murdered Mario Wesley. Photo by Frank Giorno

Below is the list of suggested readings, there are more, way more. I am going to add this list to my and also my blog

Please call me or respond to this article with TPS comment and I will be pleased to include it in my next story. The same invitation is extended to anyone who is copied in this email including Mayor Black, and Gilles Bisson and Charlie Angus.
The verdict in the Colten Boushie case has provoked outrage across the country and prompted reflection about how the justice system treats Indigenous people. After 15 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Gerald Stanley, a farmer, of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Boushie…
Ignorance is not an absence. Ignorance is a force. It justifies. It silences. It perpetuates.

When the Law Breaks Down: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and Governmental Defiance of the Rule of Law
Abstract: Comments on Aboriginal peoples, governmental defiance, and the breakdown of law and the balance between law’s roles and limits.
Keywords: Civil disobedience–Law and legislation; Indigenous peoples–Civil rights; Canada
Justice system failing First Nations, report finds: Iacobucci urges action to get aboriginal representation on Ontario juries


The Murder of Mario Wesley in Timmins Still Unsolved

As 2014 draws to an end, the murder of Mario Wesley in Timmins remains unsolved. Last April, I wrote one of my “A Northern Blogs” about my friend Mario Wesley titled “Mario Wesley Sculptor and Musician Battles Personal Demons.” I never posted it on A Northern Blog and only recently discovered it in my draft unpublished blogs. Mario never had a chance to defeat his demons. He was murdered on July 28, 2014. The first murder of the year in Timmins.

Five months later the Timmins Police still have not charged anyone with Mario’s murder. I understand that the Timmins Police are taking Mario’s murder seriously and have followed strands of leads all the way to Attawapiskat, where a police investigator traveled to question potential witnesses. Sources close to the Wesley family tell me Timmins police have questioned over 200 people who Mario knew and associated with…but nothing has led to the laying of criminal charges so far.

mario-wesleyShortly after Mario’s funeral, Timmins police placed posters around town of Mario playing a guitar and asked anyone with leads into Mario’s death to get in contact with them or with CrimeStopper. Officers also visited the Lord’s Kitchen, a community kitchen in the basement of the old Church of the Nativity on Spruce St. North where Mario used to meet his friends for a meal once a week.

Here is the Timmins Daily Press story reporting on Mario’s murder

As we end a very sad and empty 2014 I certainly hope that police continue to work hard on solving Mario’s murder. Mario like all of us had his demons and I believe he would have conquered them. I know his daughters want the person or persons who murdered their father apprehended and brought to trial.

Mario Wesley Sculptor and Musician Battles Personal Demons

Here is the blog I wrote in April, 2014, that I posted on my Facebook page, but didn’t add to A Northern Blog until now.

“Artists and musicians are doomed to be cast in many instances as tormented souls who see and interpret the craziness of the world for the so-called sane majority. Mario Wesley my friend originally from Moosonee would fall into this definition. A man who is beset by hosts of personal demons, some inflicted by his early years of being abused in residential school, others being caused by his alcoholism which he battles successfully for a brief period…and when he does he produces such a beautiful song such as this one…”First Love”.

Mario is also a talented sculptor, working in soapstone. I purchased one of his sculptures and donated it to the Ojibway Cree Cultural Centre where it belongs for all to see and appreciate. Now Mario is afflicted with glaucoma and is legally blind. I wish he could beat his demons and continue writing songs and sculpting. Last Time I saw him he told me he had stopped drinking. I hope to set up an Artists Table at Timmins Urban Park this summer and am encouraging Mario to focus on his sculpting. He will sell many of his works, that I am sure, although with his glaucoma getting worse it will be increasingly more difficult for Mario to sculpt.

As for music, we will have our Friday afternoon open mic at Urban Park and I hope to encourage Mario to get up and sing his songs.

Gallery Owner in Thunder Bay Liked Mario’s Sculptures

Today, I got a comment on Mario Wesley’s First Love Video which is posted on my you tube site from a gallery owner named Louise in Thunder Bay, Ontario who was searching for Mario because she liked his sculptures. Maybe we can get Mario sculpting again and perhaps Louise in Thunder Bay can be sent a few to display in her gallery…I am sure Mario could use some of the proceeds of the sales.

Here is “First Love” By Mario Wesley recorded in September 2011 by Gillies Lake…unfortunately the ending is kind of bumpy as my editing skills failed me….I hope you enjoy this nonetheless.”