Louis Riel Let Justice Be Done

Let Justice Be done

Doyle Book Launch 2017

Perhaps one of the most enigmatic individuals in Canadian history, Louis Riel has been the subject of countless biographies scholarly debates and books. The latest, Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done, comes courtesy of Powell River historian, activist and author David Doyle.

Perhaps one of the most enigmatic individuals in Canadian history, Louis Riel has been the subject of countless biographies scholarly debates and books. The latest, Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done, comes courtesy of Powell River historian, activist and author David Doyle.

In the new book, Doyle provides an inquiry into the life and career of Riel, which the Métis leader called for during his trial.

The request was never granted, nor were attempts to answer questions relating to his conviction for treason, charges against him for murder, the fairness of his trial and his mental health.

The national launch of Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done was held on Saturday, June 17, at Powell River Métis Society’s sesquicentennial reconciliation commemoration.

Doyle said the book retells the controversial history surrounding a man many believe should be reconciled as a father of confederation.

“What I’ve done is take the research done before my time, as well as my own research, clarified the distinction between the old colonial period of history and opened it up for people who want to recognize indigenous rights,” said Doyle.

Over the last 30 years, Doyle and Friends of Louis Riel, a non-profit organization that envisions Riel’s eventual exoneration, have uncovered and collected evidence that has surfaced since Riel’s trial and execution in 1885. Since the conviction and subsequent sentence of hanging was carried out, Riel has officially remained a traitor to Canada.

City of Powell River councillor and Powell River Métis Society president Russell Brewer said the local organization is active in making sure Riel takes his rightful place among the fathers of confederation.

“The neat thing we have going on here is we have the Powell River Métis Society and we also have the Friends of Louis Riel Society,” said Brewer. “We have an active author on the Métis file and we have other active indigenous scholars who live here, so we’re active on the exoneration file.”

Doyle said he believes Riel’s exoneration will happen and may take place during Canada 150.

“That movement for the sesquicentennial has gained traction across the country,” he said.

Montreal city council passed a resolution in support of Riel’s exoneration earlier this year. Union nationale métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba, Canada’s oldest Métis organization, has called for the same action, according to Doyle.

On Louis Riel Day in February of 2016, prime minister Justin Trudeau commemorated Riel for being a champion of human rights, founder of Manitoba and a key contributor to confederation.

“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,” said Trudeau in a statement released by the prime minister’s office at the time.

Doyle believes Trudeau’s recognition of Riel could be the real beginning of exoneration.

“Prime minister Trudeau recognized Riel right off the bat when he came into power so we have indications the country is ready for that discussion,” he said. “The role of my book is to educate people to the proper recognition of Louis Riel as Canada’s indigenous Métis father of confederation.”

According to Brewer, despite all of the efforts and calls for Riel’s exoneration growing louder, political will is required.

“It will only happen once the national and provincial leadership wants it to happen,” said Brewer.

For more information on the book, go to rielity.ca.

David Brindle,

Powell River Peak, June 21, 2017

 

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