Metis outraged over MP's comments about Louis Reil
Edmonton MP Peter Goldring is facing fierce criticism from Metis Albertans and from fellow politicians after he posted a newsletter to his website discounting Metis leader Louis Riel.
Goldring posted the letter in response to a request from the federal New Democrats who wanted Louis Riel to be recognized as a father of confederation and wanted a conviction that saw him hanged for treason overturned.
In his letter Goldring wrote, "Riel didn't father confederation; He fought those who did."
Riel, a politician who fought for Metis rights in the late 1800s and also helped found the province of Manitoba, led two violent rebellions against the Canadian government and was hanged for treason.
The letter went on to say, "To un-hang Louis Riel and to mount a statue to him on Parliament Hill would elevate anarchy and civil disobedience to that of democratic statesmanship."
The letter has now been removed from Goldring's website, but the words have Alberta's Metis outraged.
"We believed we had moved past that," said Audrey Poitras from the Metis Nation of Alberta. "It's really sad that we still have leadership of Canada who don't understand the history of Canada, are either ignorant of the facts of that or are racist."
Others echoed that statement, saying they can't understand how an elected member of the Parliament could write such a letter.
"It made me angry that this is one of our members of parliament that is challenging our history that way," said Debbie Houle, a Metis Albertan.
Fellow Conservatives are also shocked by Goldring's comments.
"I think…it's a little over the top, what Peter has written," said MP Laurie Hawn. "Louis Riel is a name that's very highly thought of by a great many Canadians."
Stephen Harper's office also released a statement on the letter writing, "This document is absolutely not, in any way, an initiative of the government or our party. This is a personal initiative of MP Goldring which we strongly disapprove of."
CTV News made a number of attempts to get in contact with Goldring, but was not able to reach him.
The Metis Nation of Alberta is now calling on the federal government to impose some disciplinary action against Goldring.
With files from Bill Fortier