Louis Riel Let Justice Be Done

Prime Minister Justine Trudeau on Louis Riel Day

Prime Minister Justine Trudeau on Louis Riel Day 2016

Trudeau Riel Statement Feb 15 16

In an historic statement, February 15, 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to Louis Riel, commemorating his role as a Founder of Manitoba and a key contributor to Canadian Confederation. Recognizing the sacrifices Louis Riel underwent in the defence of his homeland and his people, Prime Minister Trudeau called on the Canadian people to reflect on the life of Louis Riel. Most significantly Prime Minister Trudeau honoured Louis Riel’s career, pointing out that the “ideals that Louis Riel fought for – ideals of inclusiveness and equality – are now the very same values on which we base our country’s identity.”

I wish to thank Prime Minister Trudeau for his reflections on Louis Riel. It is truly historic as although we have had 25 attempts to have Riel’s trial and conviction overturned in Parliament, no prime minister has dared, or desired, to commit to the life and career of Louis Riel. Prime Minister Trudeau’s words and sentiment are very encouraging. However, there remains a great dichotomy in the fabric of Canada:

Louis Riel remains a convicted criminal – guilty of High Treason – a “traitor” to Canada.

Now, after 130 years, there is an opportunity for healing. The power of reconciliation is awakening. The work done by Justice Sinclair and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with its 94 recommendations opened the eyes of Canadians as to the horrors of Canada’s racist and colonial past. Historically, the trial and unjust execution of Louis Riel has been Canada’s “great divide.” The Canadian people would like a review of the trial, charges and execution of Louis Riel. Metis lawyer and author George Goulet has written Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied – the definitive analysis of Louis Riel’s trial, appeal and execution. With this evidence, and the “Crown Letters” implicating John A. Macdonald and his minister we can prove Riel’s trial was “fitted-up” to ensure Louis Riel would “hang by the neck until dead.”

Respectfully,  I suggest it is time to heal this scar upon Confederation and for the Trudeau government to take up its historic role in the reconciliation of Canada’s “great divide.” It is time for Parliament to revoke Riel’s conviction for High Treason and for the Prime Minister to formally exonerate Louis Riel and recognize him as Canada’s Aboriginal (Metis) Father of Confederation in time for Canada’s Sesquicentennial—July 1, 2017.


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