The former head of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is applauding an Edmonton jury’s decision to convict Bradley Barton of manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue.
“The jurors who found Mr. Barton guilty show that Canadians are ready for change,” Marion Buller said in a statement released Monday.
“So far, Canadian governments have failed to recognize this readiness for change. We are waiting, still, for them to build new, decolonizing relationships with Indigenous people. It is only with new relationships that Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit people will be safe in their own homes and their communities.”
Gladue, 36, a Métis and Cree mother of three, was found dead at the Yellowhead Inn in Edmonton in 2011.
Barton was arrested two days after her death and charged with murder.
He was acquitted by a jury in 2015.
The case made it to the Supreme Court of Canada where judges ordered Barton to stand trial, this time for manslaughter.
It took only one day of deliberations this time for the jury to find the 52-year-old guilty.
Lisa Weber, a lawyer who sat with Gladue’s family during the trial, is the president for the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal women and had standing at Barton’s Supreme Court hearing.
“Family (was) absolutely relieved to hear that there was a conviction. No words I can express,” she said.
“Everyone was crying for joy that that was the actual decision. I tell you there is a recognition up until that very last minute that you just never know.”
But the lengthy ordeal is not over for Gladue’s family.
Barton hasn’t been sentenced yet – and there is word that he may appeal the verdict.
“I can say just my own reaction both as a female lawyer, as an Indigenous woman, it was pretty devastating and shocking to hear that Barton was already contemplating an appeal,” Weber said.
“There are no words for how much this family and, quite frankly, Indigenous (people) everywhere have gone through as a result of this man’s actions.”
Barton could face life in prison when sentenced. Not date has yet been set.