Killers like Michael Bryant should not speak for their victims

Today we call on RightsCon to honour its stated commitment to the human rights of marginalized communities by disinviting former Ontario Attorney General and recently-appointed head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association Michael Bryant from this conference, due to his involvement in the death of a Métis man in Toronto nine years ago.

International attendees from government, civil society, the tech sector, and human rights are welcomed to Canada for RightsCon, where the recent acquittals of two white men in the deaths of two young Indigenous people mean that Indigenous justice issues are fresh in the public consciousness.

The widely-publicized case included a carefully-curated portrayal of the victim, Darcy Allan Sheppard, which included repeated references to his “troubled” life and substance use, a tactic which has been seen so often in cases involving Indigenous victims of violence, including recently Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie.

Bryant’s recent appointment as head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is troubling, and would appear to run contrary to their stated mandate. We now therefore invite RightsCon to send a different message about who it invites into the shared space and what that signifies about whose human rights are valued

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