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Métis flags raised in Gibsons and Sechelt

Louis Riel Day
Louis Riel
Historian Terry Goulet, Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers and Ron Paradis, president of the United Canadian Métis Nation take part in the flag raising ceremony in Sechelt.

The province marked Louis Riel Day Nov. 16.

Métis and provincial government representatives gathered on the legislature grounds in Victoria to raise the blue and white infinity flag.

“As a proud member of the Métis community, I was honoured to watch the flag rise in front of the people’s house,” said deputy premier Carole James. “By proclaiming Nov. 16 as Louis Riel Day, we celebrate the importance of Louis Riel’s personal sacrifice and Métis culture. We are committed to working together to make life better for Métis people throughout British Columbia.”

In Gibsons and Sechelt, municipal politicians were joined by Ron Paradis, president of the United Canadian Métis Nation (formerly the Vancouver Métis Citizens Society), and others from the Sunshine Coast Métis community to see the Métis flag raised.

In a release announcing the flag raising at the legislature, the government said Louis Riel Day also acknowledges “the importance of Riel as a foremost historical Métis leader and the historical wrongs committed… His commitment was so strong that, in the end, he gave up his life in defense of the rights of the Métis.”

Riel was hanged on Nov. 16, 1885 after being convicted of treason and some in the Métis community, including the United Canadian Metis Nation, have been calling for the federal government to formally exonerate Riel. They had also hoped to see him named a Father of Confederation to mark Canada 150.