By: Kevin Libin
Canadians are used to judges saving their opinions for the courtrooms. And used to those opinions sticking to matters of the law. But John Reilly doesn’t much care what Canadians expect.
He’s mostly retired. And his opinions have been developed after a long career on the Bench. They are about the way First Nations are governed in Canada and, in particular, at the nearby Stoney Nakoda reserve that delivered a river of victims and perpetrators into his Canmore, Alta., courtroom for decades. This is too important, he believes, to stay silent about.
“What concerns me is that the ordinary member of a native community does not have the protection of the law. If I know my mayor and councillors are taking money that they shouldn’t, they will be prosecuted immediately for trust thefts and probably face imprisonment,” Mr. Reilly says. On reserve, corruption rarely brings repercussions. “Becoming an Indian chief in Canada is a licence to steal. Some of them use it, some of them don’t.”
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