moved for leave to introduce Bill C-302, An Act respecting Louis Riel.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sudbury for seconding the bill.
The bill would call upon the government to reverse the conviction of Louis Riel on the premise that Louis Riel was a hero, not a traitor. We do not seek to have Louis Riel pardoned, because a pardon would imply that he was guilty of something and we now forgive him. We seek to exonerate Louis Riel.
We should take note that Louis Riel was a member of Parliament. He was elected three times to the Canadian Parliament and was never allowed to take his seat, although Métis lore has it that he did paddle his canoe to the foot of Parliament Hill with his Métis colleagues, climbed the cliff, entered his name into the permanent record and took his seat one night in 1871.
The people of Manitoba have recognized Louis Riel as a hero. There is a statue of Louis Riel on the grounds of Manitoba's legislative building.
On behalf of the Métis people of Canada, we believe that exonerating Louis Riel would be in the same spirit as the formal apology the Prime Minister gave to the survivors of Indian residential schools. We believe it is a necessary prerequisite to healing the relationship between the Métis people and the Government of Canada.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)