FSIN calls for more to be charged for hate speech after Manitoba women arrested

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron speaks to northern mayors and councillors during the New North gathering in Prince Albert on Thursday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) executive is calling on the Saskatchewan RCMP to crack down on alleged hate speech made following the Gerald Stanley verdict, following through by enforcing investigations and laying charges against those who have posted life-threatening messages online “inciting hatred or violence towards First Nations people in Saskatchewan,” according to a press release.

The call comes after the Flin Flon RCMP arrested and charged two women for uttering threats and for public incitement of hatred after posting serious life-threatening messages towards First Nations people in the area. Charges are pending against a third woman. Police have not released the identities of the women charged. It’s unknown whether they’re connected to a widely-shared Facebook post from last week that cost at least one woman her job.

A pair of Facebook comments were shared with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

“Jeez, they need to get rid of the dog shoot days and shoot some pellican (sic) Indians,” wrote a user identified as Destine Spiller. According to CBC, Spiller worked at a hair salon, which announced she had been fired following her Facebook post.

Her comments were posted after her white car was vandalized with the logo of Terror Squad, a street gang that also operates in Prince Albert.

In subsequent comments on Facebook, she said she would “kill some Indians when I get home,” and proposed a “shoot an Indian day.”

The Facebook pages of Spiller and one other have since been deleted.

Spiller later apologized on Sunday for acting out in anger.

The second post shared with the Herald was from a second user* who had reposted a lengthy, rambling post including “Sorry I agree Only good Indian is a dead one” and “Totally 100 percent with. Killing them. Ethnic cleansing.”

FSIN chief Bobby Cameron praised the arrests but decried the lack of charges against anyone posting alleged hateful messages in Saskatchewan.

“This is what we expect the RCMP to do more of,” Cameron said.

“This life-threatening attitude must be stopped and those guilty of it must be charged for a hate crime and it must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We will no longer tolerate these blatant acts an statements of racism in Canada.”

According to the FSIN press release, the FSIN special investigations unit received numerous threatening and racist messages, screenshots and photos from concerned members of the public. These files are being reviewed and have been provided to the RCMP. No one has been charged.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, anyone who knowingly utters conveys or causes any person to receive a threat to cause death or bodily harm to any person is guilty of uttering threats. The charge carries a maximum of five years in prison.

To be found guilty of public incitement of hatred, someone has to communicate statements in any public place that incite hatred against any identifiable group that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace. A separate charge of wilful promotion of hatred applies when someone is accused of communicating statements other than in private conversation that wilfully promotes hatred against an identifiable group.

The charges against the three accused have not been tested in court.

* While the Herald has been able to confirm the authenticity of Spiller’s post through other media and other social media posts, The Herald has been unable to confirm the veracity or the original author of the second post and has decided to not use the person’s screen name.