WATCH: It was a display of solidarity as a crowd marched in Victoria to honour Tina Fontaine. It is one of the rallies being held across the country following the acquittal of the man accused of murdering the First Nations teen. Isabelle Raghem reports.
A crowd of about one hundred people gathered at Victoria’s centennial square Saturday afternoon for “Justice for Tina Fontaine”, before marching together to the B.C. Legislature.
“I came to show support and show love,” said one marcher.
It is one of the rallies being held across the country, following the acquittal of the man charged in the death of Tina Fontaine.
The 15-year-old Indigenous girl’s body was pulled from Manitoba’s Red River more than three years ago.
A jury acquitted Raymond Cormier, 56, of second-degree murder Thursday after 11 hours of deliberation.
The Crown played part of a police interrogation during the trial, that prosecutors said proved Cormier killed her. The defence argued there was no forensic evidence that linked him to her death.
The verdict was met with despair and anger by family and Indigenous leaders.
“I can feel it in my heart [because] that was an indigenous youth whose life should have been honoured better,” said Songhees First Nation’s Tealiye, one of the rally’s performer. “To see that verdict come up, was a slap in the face.”
Saturday march is about honouring Fontaine, but is also a call for action.
“It could have easily been me or my friend or my sister,” said one protester.” I’m here so one day women don’t have to fear.”
“Canada has to change. They have to wake up and everybody else has to realize what’s going on in Canada,” said another.
Tina Fontaine’s body was found eight days after she was reported missing in August 2014. Originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, she had only been in Winnipeg for six weeks before she was found dead.
During that time she came into contact with paramedics, police, security officers and staff at the Children’s Hospital and Child and Family Services.
With files from the Canadian Press