Louis Riel Act receives Royal Assent, becomes law
December 8, 2023
Winnipeg, MB, in the National Homeland of the Red River Métis - Today, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the National Government of the Red River Métis, celebrates the righting of a 153-year-old injustice, which sees Louis Riel finally recognized as the first Premier of Manitoba.
The Act comes after over three decades of advocacy and public education efforts by President Chartrand and the MMF. From the removal of the offensive statue of Riel that depicted him as a tortured figure, to the inclusion of Louis Riel’s painting in Manitoba’s Legislative Building recognizing him as the founder of Manitoba and the introduction of Louis Riel Day on February 19th of each year, the road to this recognition has been long. These efforts have always been driven by the will of Red River Métis Citizens, standing united in a call to have Louis Riel recognized and remembered as the first Premier of Manitoba.
President Chartrand, along with Citizens, staff and MMF Cabinet members, were at the Manitoba Legislative Building to witness the historic moment the Act received Royal Assent.
“Royal Assent happened so quickly, it’s almost hard to believe that all the years of struggle and advocacy could end with a single gesture by our Lieutenant Governor Anita Neville,” said President Chartrand. “This makes our Nation’s dreams come true, and instills a huge sense of pride in our Citizens.”
Members of the Government of Manitoba’s Red River Métis caucus – Bernadette Smith, Renée Cable, Billie Cross, Tyler Blashko and Robert Loiselle – proudly wore their sashes to the Assembly for the Act’s passage. Afterward, they presented President Chartrand with a copy of the Act signed by Premier Kinew and the Red River Métis MLAs who helped usher in the historic Act.
“The first signed copy will be taken to Louis Riel’s gravesite, so our great leader knows that his desire to be recognized as a leader for good in Canada has finally come true,” said President Chartrand. “The second signed copy will be framed and put on display in our heritage centre, so future generations will be able to see and understand that the long battle for Riel’s recognition was finally achieved in 2023. I commend Premier Kinew and his team for joining us in this long battle, walking alongside us for the last few years as we worked to achieve this vision.”
The MMF will continue to engage with the Government of Manitoba, to see the oil painting of Louis Riel installed with the other historic premiers, so that he inspires the same feelings of pride that Red River Métis Citizens, Manitobans and Canadians feel when they look at the portraits of other past premiers.
“Now that this historic event has taken place, there is so much more to be done, ensuring that Canadians are educated about the contributions of Louis Riel as a father of Canada’s Confederation,” said President Chartrand. “Without doubt, he is looking down on us and seeing that his courage, bravery and sacrifice were not in vain. All children in Manitoba and Canada will now learn about Louis Riel the hero, the visionary, the founder of Manitoba and a father of Canada’s confederation. It’s a proud day to be Red River Métis.”
For more information, media may contact:
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Métis Federation