moved for leave to introduce Bill C-248, An Act respecting Louis Riel.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Manitoba and on behalf of the Métis nation, it gives me great pride to introduce this bill, the purpose of which is to reverse the conviction for high treason of Louis Riel and to formally recognize him and commemorate his role in the advancement of Canadian Confederation and the rights of interest to the Métis people and the people of western Canada.
This bill goes on to recognize that Louis Riel was in fact the founder of the province of Manitoba and that he was elected three times to the House of Commons, but as a result of political pressure was never allowed to take a seat. This bill points out that as a result of the events of the Northwest Territories rebellion in 1885, Louis Riel was wrongfully tried and convicted, and on November 16, 1885, was executed for high treason by the Government of Canada.
This bill does not seek a pardon for Louis Riel. It seeks to exonerate him, and for the House of Commons to recognize that he was executed wrongfully and that he should never have been convicted. We are not seeking a pardon. We are seeking full exoneration.
In introducing this bill, I want to recognize and pay tribute to Yvon Dumont, the former lieutenant governor of the province of Manitoba and president of the Manitoba Métis Federation; Clem Chartier, the president of the Métis National Council; and David Chartrand, the current president of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)