Métis flag raised on Parliament Hill for the first time as President Froh takes part in Louis Riel Day ceremonies in Ottawa and Toronto

Louis Riel Day 2016_Toronto
Some of the MNO leadership and guests at the Queen’s
Park Louis Riel Day ceremony in Toronto. Left to right:
MNO Secretary-Treasurer Tim Pile; PCMNO Senator
Verna Brunelle-Porter, Member of Provincial Parliament
Norm Miller, the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of
Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Métis lawyer and
member of Louis Riel’s family Jean Teillet, MNO President
Margaret Froh, PCMNO Senator Rene Gravelle, PCMNO
Executive Senator Joe Poitras, MNO Chair France
Picotte and MNO Youth Representative Mitch Case. Click
here to view a larger version of the picture.

On November 16, 2016 in Ottawa and Toronto, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh spoke at the first Government of Canada commemoration of Louis Riel Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa as well as at the annual Government of Ontario Louis Riel Day ceremony at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Louis Riel was the great Métis leader executed by the Canadian government for leading the Northwest Resistance in defense of Métis rights and the Métis way-of-life. Every year Louis Riel Day is held to remember what Riel sacrificed, and renew the commitment to complete his work.  In Ontario, the Métis struggled to protect their rights, communities and families. The MNO celebrates Louis Riel Day to recognize the many contributions of the Métis to Canada and to highlight the challenges that Métis continue to face. “We celebrate this day to recognize the ongoing struggle here in Ontario to fulfill the dream for Métis to take our rightful place within Confederation,” explained President Froh.

The Métis flag was raised for the first-time in history on Parliament Hill by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister Louis Riel Day 2016_Ottawa
MNO President Margaret Froh (centre) gives an address
on Parliament Hill while Minister Bennett (far left) and Tony
Belcourt (second from left), founding MNO President and
MNO Ottawa Region Métis Council Councilor, listen on.
Click here to view a larger version of the picture.
of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, in a flag-raising ceremony early on November 16. Speaking at the ceremony, President Froh stated: “I know that one of the things that Louis Riel did, he foretold a day when Canadians would recognize and acknowledge the work that he had done and that the Métis had done in founding this country, in founding this place, these lands that we’re on today. […] I believe that that day has come. We are there now. I’m so excited to see so much pride within our nation.” 

Minister Bennett stated: “Today, for the first time, we are marking Louis Riel Day by raising the Métis flag on Parliament Hill. Louis Riel was elected to the House of Commons three times, but was never able to take his seat. […] I hope that all parliamentarians will join us as we raise the flag as recognition of the Crown and of Parliament, taking this significant historic moment very seriously.”

As in the past, Métis communities across Ontario are holding Louis Riel Day events and a provincial ceremony took place in Toronto at the Northwest Rebellion monument on the grounds of the provincial Legislature.

Among the dignitaries present in Toronto was the Honourable Dave Levac, Speaker of the Ontario Legislature. The crowd applauded as the Speaker stated with great conviction: “I stand before you as a Métis – I am proud of the fact that I am Métis.”

The provincial government was represented at the Toronto ceremony by the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Minister Zimmer stated: “Today, Louis Riel is recognized as a statesman, having played a pivotal role in the history of Métis people, as well as the formation of Canada. […] We will continue working with Métis partners to uphold Riel's legacy and create new opportunities for Métis people as we continue on the journey of reconciliation together.”

The presence of Minister Zimmer, Speaker Levac and several other Cabinet Ministers and MPPs at the Queen’s Park Louis Riel Day event demonstrates the positive relationship the MNO has built with Ontario through the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement, which was renewed in 2014.

Other speakers along with President Froh, Minister Zimmer and Speaker Levac included Norm Miller, the PC Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Critic, and France Gélinas, the NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Critic, MNO Chair France Picotte, Jean Teillet, a Métis lawyer and great niece of Louis Riel, Senator Verna Brunelle-Porter and Métis Youth Representative Mitch Case. Also in attendance were: the Honourable Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry; the Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism; Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands; Author Potts, MPP for Beaches–East York; Yvan Baker, MPP for Etobicoke Centre; Percy Hatfield, MPP for Windsor–Tecumseh; Soo Wong, MPP for Scarborough–Agincourt; and, John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South.

In her Toronto remarks, President Froh explained that today Métis are enjoying “such a revitalization of pride [that] . . . our future is very bright – there are amazing things on the horizon for us.”

As one example of this bright future, President Froh cited the recent signing of a historic Framework Agreement between the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Government of Canada, which sets out a process to begin formal reconciliation negotiations and charts a path toward a shared prosperous future. More information about the Framework Agreement is available online: http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canada-and-manitoba-metis-federation-celebrate-key-milestone-on-road-to-reconciliation-601306875.html

More information on Louis Riel Day is available on the MNO website at: /news-media/news/2016-louis-riel-day-events/.

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Published on: November 17, 2016

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