The appellant, Rockie Ryan Rabbit, appeals his sentences of nine years concurrent for attempted choking with intent to enable him to commit an indictable offence (section 246(a) of the Criminal Code) and aggravated assault (section 268). The sentence of nine years was imposed after the defence proposed a sentence of three years and the Crown proposed a sentence of six years.
The appellant’s background
 The appellant is an Indigenous man from the Montana First Nation in Ponoka County, Alberta. His father, mother and her siblings, and grandparents attended residential schools. The family has a history of suicide, substance misuse and mental health issues.
 The appellant lived with his mother until he was five years old. She used drugs and drank alcohol daily, and was physically abusive towards him at times. Because of his mother’s drinking and drug use, he and his siblings were placed in group care away from the Montana First Nation.
 The appellant lived in two group homes from ages five to eleven. His sister reports, “it was really difficult for us to be raised without our parents and our culture”. While in group care, the appellant saw his mother once per year and did not see his father until he was 10 years old. At age nine, an aunt he was close to was killed in a house fire.
 During this time the appellant felt out of place and was ostracized and bullied because he and his siblings were the only Indigenous children at their school. The appellant described being disconnected from his family and culture, which left him feeling lost and like he did not belong.
 When the appellant was 12, he and his sisters moved back to the Montana First Nation to live with their father. Moving back to the reserve was a shock. The children struggled to relate to the community after being in group care. Previously incarcerated for murder, their father had a violent temper and was at times physically and emotionally abusive towards them. According to the appellant’s sister, their father “tried to help connect us with culture and get us on the right path, but he eventually gave up on us and sent us to our mom’s”.
 The appellant moved to live with his mother at age 15. He says his mother’s priority was her prescription medicine addiction. She would often ask her children for money. There was a great deal of poverty and often there was not enough food. The appellant says his mother kicked him out at age 17.
 In 2019, at age 28, the appellant began struggling with depression, though he was never formally diagnosed. He also began using methamphetamines on a regular basis. He reports that he used crystal meth monthly when he spent time with relatives who were using. Often, he would use the drug daily for a week and then not for the remainder of the month.
 Beginning in 2020, the appellant and his family suffered a series of devastating losses. A cousin committed suicide. Another cousin was murdered while incarcerated. A cousin’s son hung himself. An uncle died of a heroin overdose. One of the appellant’s brothers committed suicide, likely in connection with his addiction to crystal meth. The appellant was close to his brother and found this loss to be extremely difficult. His sister says that at this point the appellant increased his alcohol and drug use.
 In the summer of 2021, shortly before the subject offence, the appellant lost another cousin, who was also his best friend. His brother reports that the death of this cousin was a trigger for the appellant. The appellant says he began using substances more heavily at this time. The appellant was described as normally quiet and gentle, but his sister notes that “he is a completely different person when he is using; he becomes angry and violent”.
 Also in the summer of 2021, the appellant decided to move his daughter back to live at the Montana First Nation with him. According to his sister, his daughter’s mother did not feel the reserve was safe, and the appellant lost custody as a result. His sister reported that this was very difficult for the appellant.
 On the afternoon of July 14, 2021, the appellant committed a brutal and unprovoked attack on a stranger. The appellant was 30 years old at the time.
 The victim was waiting to be let into her children’s daycare. The appellant came up behind her and looked inside her backpack. When the victim tried to pull away, the appellant shouted at her, “did you kill my daughter?” and demanded to know where she had hidden his child.
 The appellant told the author of his Gladue report he had been using drugs and was experiencing hallucinations that his daughter had been kidnapped two days prior. He said he had been stopping random people and asking them where his daughter was. When he approached the victim, he believed she had his daughter. This was the first time the appellant had experienced this type of reaction to drug use.
 The victim tried to get away, but the appellant grabbed her head, slammed her to the ground, got on top of her and began strangling her with both hands. He continued strangling and punching her for over four minutes.
 Two of the victim’s three children, ages six and eight, observed the assault through the glass door of the daycare and cried hysterically.
 … The appellant got up when the police ordered him to do so….
 The victim’s husband arrived after hearing her screams from half a block away. He was distraught when he observed her condition. She appeared to be semi-conscious and was unresponsive. Her face was blue, and her breath was shallow and laboured. She foamed at the mouth and gurgled.
 The victim regained consciousness and was rushed to hospital. She sustained a tennis ball sized hematoma on her forehead, swelling and inflammation on her neck, and other injuries.
The sentencing judge’s decision: R v Rabbit, 2022 ABPC 68
 The sentencing judge found that the case against the appellant was overwhelming and that the sole mitigating factor was the entry of guilty pleas. She found several aggravating factors, including:
1) the attack was vicious, random and unprovoked;
2) the violence was prolonged;
3) the violence only ceased when the police arrived;
4) the medico-legal report indicated the actions of the appellant could have ended in the victim’s death;
5) the victim suffered both physical and psychological harm as a result of the assault;
6) two of the victim’s children witnessed the attack and have suffered psychological harm;
7) the victim’s husband heard his wife’s screams, attended the scene to discover his unconscious wife and was extremely distraught;
8) the appellant was on release for assaulting his brother when he committed the offences;
9) the appellant has a prior criminal record, although it is fairly brief and only the assault involved violence; and
10) there was evidence of voluntary consumption of methamphetamine and the resulting violence, and the history of methamphetamine use is aggravating.
 The sentencing judge acknowledged the appellant’s Gladue factors were significant but held “where the offences are violent and serious, the principal [sic] of restraint and an acknowledgement of the lessened moral blameworthiness of an individual with significant Gladue factors cannot justify a sentence that ignores the seriousness of the offences and the harm done to the victim”: Rabbit at para 17.
 She held the case at bar was closer to near murder than mere accident, and that the sentence for aggravated assault should be significantly increased because it was accompanied by choking. In her view, its seriousness was not adequately reflected in the Crown’s proposed six-year sentence.
 She imposed nine years for each offence, less credit for pre-sentence custody, to be served concurrently having regard to the principle of totality.
Did the sentencing judge commit errors in principle?
 We conclude the sentencing judge committed errors that impacted the sentence, and therefore the appeal must be allowed. Our conclusion rests on two main foundations:
1) Sentencing must be proportionate not only to the gravity of the offence, but also to the degree of responsibility of the offender.
2) In cases involving Indigenous offenders, particular attention must be paid to assessing their degree of responsibility equitably, with an informed understanding of their circumstances.
 Our first foundational point is the fundamental principle of sentencing, stated at section 718.1 of the Criminal Code.
 Vats of judicial ink have been spilled over the second foundational point. Still, Indigenous people continue to be vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and this overrepresentation continues to rise: R v Hills, 2023 SCC 2 at para 87; R v Natomagan, 2022 ABCA 48 at paras 7, 8.
 With or without a Gladue report, s 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code requires judges to do the work of appreciating the degree of responsibility of Indigenous offenders. The Gladue report filed in this case is tragically typical. It could have been drawn from past jurisprudence, studies and reports, beginning with the appellant’s parents’ residential school experience. The appellant endured abuse and addictions in his family home, was taken out of his community and placed in group care, and struggled to readjust to his home community, poverty, low education levels, disconnection from family and culture, unstable relationships, and depression.
 In the couple of years preceding the offence, the appellant lost family members to suicide, murder, and overdose. A year prior to the offence, his brother committed suicide. Suicide rates are high in Indigenous communities: Natomagan at para 105 and sources cited therein. The summer of the offence, his close cousin died.
 After losing his brother and cousin, the appellant effectively lost his daughter. According to his sister, this was because the girl’s mother believed that the reserve was not a fit place for a child.
 To apply s 718.2(e), sentencing judges must try to understand what influenced an Indigenous offender to act in the way he did. It also includes assessing whether one’s instinctive reaction to that conduct would be the same, given the circumstances, if the offender were of a different race, culture, or background. This analysis involves empathy, imagination, and introspection, among other things. It imposes on the sentencing judge the difficult task of imagining a different life, and honestly asking how a person – not the world’s strongest or most resilient person – might be affected by such an experience.
 The sentencing judge erred by not engaging in this analysis, instead relying on the concept of a discount that is not available where a serious violent offence has been committed. Both facets of this misconception have been repeatedly rejected: R v Hilbach, 2023 SCC 3 at para 39; R v Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13 at paras 70-75 and 84-86; R v Wells, 2000 SCC 10 at paras 30, 50.
 According to the appellant, at the time of the offence the drugs caused him to hallucinate that his daughter had recently been kidnapped and to believe that the victim had his child. The sentencing judge dismissed this as mere self-reporting, claiming “there is no further evidence before the Court to support this assertion”: Rabbit at para 6. In fact, there was other evidence. The agreed facts included that the appellant shouted at the victim, “did you kill my daughter?”; demanded to know where the victim had hidden his daughter; was “rambling” in the back of the police vehicle; and reported to police that he had consumed methamphetamines a short time prior. Perhaps the sentencing judge felt expert evidence was required to support an assertion the appellant had been hallucinating. While expert evidence may have been helpful, it was not a prerequisite for sentencing purposes. All credible information that was before the court should have been considered in assessing the appellant’s degree of responsibility.
 The sentencing judge identified the guilty plea as the only mitigating factor. She summarized an apology letter written by the appellant but did not indicate whether it had any mitigating effect. In the letter, the appellant referred to his hallucinations. He called his actions unforgiveable; expressed shame and regret; and showed insight into the life-changing effect his actions had on the victim. Similarly, the sentencing judge did not comment on whether the appellant was remorseful. Remorse is a relevant mitigating factor. It can be of particular significance where it reflects insight and a reduced likelihood of offending in the future: R v Friesen, 2020 SCC 9 at para 165; R v Ambrose, 2000 ABCA 264, 271 AR 164 at paras 71, 83.
 Understandably, the sentencing judge was moved by the gravity of the offence and its effect on the victim and her family. However, she lost sight of the proportionality principle and fell into error by seemingly viewing recognition of any mitigating factor as an undermining of the gravity of the offence. This error was most clearly expressed in respect of the Gladue factors. She said: “where the offences are violent and serious, the principal [sic] of restraint and an acknowledgement of the lessened moral blameworthiness of an individual with significant Gladue factors cannot justify a sentence that ignores the seriousness of the offences and the harm done to the victim”: Rabbit at para 17. She went on to say that since death could have resulted, “the seriousness of the strangulation is not adequately reflected in the upper range of the global sentence suggested [by the Crown] as six years’ incarceration.”
 The nine-year sentence she imposed mirrors the highest sentence either party was able to find for offences of this kind. We conclude the sentencing judge gave no effect to any mitigating factors. We return to the foundational principle of sentencing: a sentence must reflect the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. While the sentencing judge was technically correct in saying the gravity of the offence cannot be ignored in imposing sentence, she ignored the second half of the foundational principle. It is an error to decide on a sentence for the offence alone, and then reject any accounting for the offender’s degree of responsibility because it might require an adjustment of that partially informed sentence.
 This Court explained at paragraphs 25 and 26:
... this analysis reveals an error in understanding the Gladue principles. As noted, the central purpose of the Gladue analysis is to achieve proportionality. The first principle that a sentence must be proportional to the gravity of the offence and degree of responsibility of the offender has “...long been the central tenet of the sentencing process”: Ipeelee at para 36. The “constrained circumstances of Aboriginal offenders may diminish their moral culpability”, as explained in Ipeelee at para 73. Reduced moral culpability must also affect the proportionality analysis, since moral culpability is one component of the equation. It follows that where there is reduced moral culpability, there is a consequential reductive effect upon the ultimate determination of a fit and proper sentence: Ipeelee at para 87.
It is an error to proceed on the basis that Gladue factors do or do not justify departure from a proportionate sentence, as the trial judge did. Instead, application of the Gladue analysis achieves a proportionate sentence.
 We underscore the point: the mandatory s 718.2(e) analysis achieves a proportionate sentence. Proportionality reflects the gravity of the offence and a fair and informed understanding of the degree of responsibility of the Indigenous offender.
What is a proportionate sentence?
 The appellant now concedes the trial Crown’s proposed six years is within the reasonable range having regard to the principles of totality, parity, proportionality, and the balancing of Gladue factors. Departing from his original position of three years, he submits a sentence of five to six years would be fit.
 Before us, Crown counsel…
 He cited other cases establishing a suitable range of four to six years.
 One such case was R v Tourville, 2011 ONSC 1677. The sentencing judge there canvassed a number of Ontario cases and identified four to six years as the “high end of the range” for the offence of aggravated assault. The judge noted, “These cases generally involve recidivists, with serious prior criminal records, or they involve ‘unprovoked’ or ‘premeditated’ assaults with no suggestion of any elements of consent or self-defence”: R v Tourville, 2011 ONSC 1677 at para 30.
 The above cases reflect what the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal noted in R v Bear, 2018 SKCA 22 at para 47: sentences for the s 246(a) offence can vary considerably depending on the relevant circumstances. The same applies to aggravated assault.
 We accept that no one precedent, or group of precedents, will establish a single fit sentence. We find that in the context of the precedents, the range originally identified by the parties – three to six years – is appropriate for the gravity of this offence and the degree of responsibility of this offender.
 The offence was extremely serious. It was random and of frightening duration. It put the victim’s life at risk, though thankfully, it appears, with little lasting physical injury. The psychological effects on her, her husband, and their children will likely last a lifetime.
 In assessing the appellant’s degree of responsibility, we take into account his guilty plea, expression of remorse, and meaningful Gladue experience. Significantly, the evidence credibly suggests the appellant responded to loss by increasing his drug use and was under the influence of drug-induced hallucinations when he attacked the victim. His use of drugs at this time, while unlawful and dangerous, is to some degree explained by his past environment and recent events in his life. He did have a history of prior drug use and was described as “angry and violent” when using, but he had never before experienced hallucinations similar to those that precipitated the subject attack. These factors diminish his moral blameworthiness.
 We are mindful that we should consider a sentence that minimizes imprisonment to the extent that is reasonable in the circumstances and consistent with the harm done to the victim and the community: s 718.2(e).
 We conclude a proportionate sentence in all the circumstances is four years’ incarceration, less pre-sentence custody as calculated in the court below.
 The appeal is allowed and a sentence of four years less a credit of 379 days for pre-sentence custody is imposed.