NAN Statement on Brayden Bushby Sentencing

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox has issued the following statement on the sentencing today of Brayden Bushby, who was convicted of manslaughter last year in the 2017 death of Barbara Kentner:

“Barbara was much loved and is very much missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with her sisters, their families, and the community of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation on this difficult day. Barbara was taken from us far too soon, and no sentence can relieve the anguish her family and friends have experienced.

It is encouraging that Justice Pierce acknowledged the powerful victim impact statements while delivering this sentence, and that she recognized the need to send a strong message of deterrence. She highlighted how Bushby targeted a vulnerable, defenceless woman, and that his actions have perpetuated feelings of distrust and insecurity for Indigenous Peoples in Thunder Bay.

This brutal and senseless attack demonstrates the racism and violence that Indigenous Peoples continue to face, not only in Thunder Bay but across the country. We stand today in solidarity with Barbara’s family and all those who seek to end systemic racism and support equality and justice.”

Barbara Kentner, 34, died on July 4, 2017, five months after being struck by a trailer hitch thrown by Bushby from a moving car while she was walking with her sister on a residential street in Thunder Bay. For the attack that led to her death, Bushby has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment less one month for time served.

Justice Helen Pierce acknowledged the far-reaching effect this “dehumanizing” attack has had on the Thunder Bay community and acknowledged the “anger, fear and sadness” felt by members of the Indigenous community. She stated that Bushby’s actions have had a “ripple effect” beyond Thunder Bay, as Indigenous Peoples across Canada feel they are not safe and that their lives are not valued. This, she said, warranted a sentence that emphasizes denunciation and general deterrence.

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls found that Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women is the result of persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses.

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