MNO leadership and dignitaries at the Louis Riel ceremony on November 15 at
Queen’s Park in Toronto. (Left to right) Assistant Deputy Minister for Aboriginal
Affairs Hillary Thatcher; Hon. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development,
Trade and Employment; Métis lawyer Jean Tillet; PCMNO Treasurer Tim Pile;
MNO Chair France Picotte; Hon. David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs;
MNO President Gary Lipinski; and David DeLaunay, Deputy Minister of
November 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) 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 renews the commitment to completing his work. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) celebrates Louis Riel Day to recognize the many contributions of the Métis to Canada and to highlight the continuing struggles that Métis continue to face. “We celebrate this day to recognize our ongoing struggle to fulfill Louis Riel’s dream that the Métis take their rightful place within Confederation,” explained MNO President Gary Lipinski.
Métis communities across Ontario hold Louis Riel Day events and a provincial ceremony took place in Toronto at the Northwest Rebellion monument on the grounds of the provincial Legislature. The provincial government was represented at the Toronto ceremony by the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Minister Zimmer recognized the contributions of the Métis to building Canada. “Louis Riel Day is a time to recognize and respect the history, culture and identity of Métis people. We are grateful for their historic and ongoing contributions to Ontario and Canada,” he stated. “Ontario remains committed to working with the Métis Nation of Ontario to invest in and improve the well-being of Métis children, families and communities.”
The presence of Minister Zimmer at the Toronto Louis Riel Day event demonstrates the positive relationship the MNO has built with Ontario through the MNO-Ontario Framework agreement, which was signed five years ago. “The government’s willingness to sign the Framework agreement with us,” stated President Lipinski, “signaled there was a new way of doing business with the Métis and that the process of reconciliation had started.”
President Lipinski was also joined by Member of the Provincial Parliament Norm Miller, who spoke on behalf of PC Leader Tim Hudak. Other speakers at the event included MNO Chair France Picotte, MNO Vice-chair Sharon McBride, Jean Teillet, a Métis lawyer and great niece of Louis Riel, Senator Reta Gordon and Mitch Case, who represented Métis youth.