First Nations disappointed with the verdict finding Raymond Cormier not guilty of the murder of Tina Fontaine

February 22, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


February 22, 2018

Treaty One Territory, MB _ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), and the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief’s Office (AFN MB RCO) each express extreme disappointment in the jury’s decision finding Raymond Cormier not guilty of killing Tina Fontaine.

“Our community has been saddened, outraged and devastated as we followed this trial and learned about young Tina’s life. With this decision, justice is denied yet again, and a family and our community mourns again,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

“The ending to Tina Fontaine’s story is not a happy one. Although her great-aunt, Thelma Favel, did all she could to give Tina a positive environment and a good home in Sagkeeng, the events of Tina’s life brought her to the city with a broken heart due to her father’s death and a naïveté about the sometimes harsh streets of Winnipeg. She was only fifteen,” said MKO Grand Chief Sheila North.

“In the hours before her death, Tina Fontaine had contact with police, health care workers and child welfare employees. Police found her in the company of a man who was cruising the neighbourhood looking for women, hospital staff found her disoriented and sleeping in a parkade, and child and family services checked Tina into a hotel, but did not prevent her from leaving. I can’t help but feel that one of these interventions could have stopped the tragedy that ended her life. Winnipeg is a great city, full of people who care, but it also has a dark side and the city has to do a better job of taking care of its most vulnerable,” said North.

Raymond Cormier was charged with second degree murder of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine after the discovery of her body in Winnipeg’s Red River in August 2014. The case strengthened calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities came together to mourn the death of Tina in this shocking murder.

“My thoughts are with the family of Tina Fontaine. I cannot imagine their pain throughout this ordeal, and now this decision only adds to that pain. Tina was failed by the child welfare system, failed by the police and now failed by the courts. We must learn from this terrible experience and we must all demand action now to ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls. Today, we stand with the family and we say that reconciliation must be about more than words, it must be about valuing the lives of our young people like Tina Fontaine,” said AFN MB RCO Kevin Hart.

The AMC, MKO, and AFN RCO stand with Tina Fontaine’s family and all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and their families. Grand Chief Dumas concluded: “We support Tina’s family, urge theCrown to seriously consider an appeal, and if not, for the authorities ensure Tina’s killer is brought to swift justice.”