Victoria Chilton of Moose Cree, pictured, has never sat on a jury. As a First Nations woman, she is not alone in that. A report released last week on the state of jury rolls in northern Ontario hopes to change the underrepresentation of First Nations on juries, by ensuring that First Nations are accurately considered on jury rolls. Other people argue that improving jury rolls is not enough, and more systematic changes are needed. Either way, as the numbers of First Nations people being incarcerated continues to rise, the state of the justice system continues to gain importance. See coverage of the Iacobucci report on jury rolls starting on page 6, systematic issues with juries on page 8 and one example of a First Nations self-government solution to justice on page 9.
First Nations people rarely end up on juries. Some blame jury rolls, others, systematic problems such as racism. Regardless, the issue raises troubling questions about the meaning of justice in Canada.