MP's anti-Riel comments condemned by Metis, government officials.
Metis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras said an "inaccurate depiction of history" outlined in a recent newsletter by an Edmonton Member of Parliament is either due to ignorance or racism. But either way, it's not acceptable.
"We're not pleased with what (Peter Goldring) has said, but everybody has their personal opinion. Our issue with him is that he's doing it as an MP, a government representative. He's doing it with hatred in mind," said Poitras.
In his December 2009 newsletter entitled "The Truth About Louis Riel" and distributed to members in his federal riding and posted on his website (it has now been removed), Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring "sets the record straight" stating that those who want to recognize Riel as a Father of Confederation "have sunk to a level comparable to that of modern Japan, where schoolbooks are sterilized to remove their Second World War shame, in the effort of sanitizing history. ..."
Goldring's newsletter came out the month after a private member's bill was introduced calling for Riel's treason conviction to be overturned and Riel to be formally recognized as a Father of Confederation.
Goldring further stated in his newsletter: "However, to sanitize (Riel's) rebellious ways that caused so many deaths of Canadian soldiers and citizens is too much, too far and too revisionist. Canada's first war veterans fought and died to keep Canada united; Louis Riel most certainly did not."
It's Goldring who is being "revisionist" in his re-telling of history, said Poitras. "Either he's ignorant of the true facts of history or he's promoting hatred or he's being racist."
While the MNA has yet to respond officially to the matter, Clement Chartier, president of the Metis National Council, sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper "seek(ing) your assurance that Mr. Goldring's views are not those of the Conservative Party."
The Prime Minister's Office as well as Liberal Opposition and New Democrat candidate Ray Martin have all come out against Goldring's comments. "This document is absolutely not, in any way, an initiative of our government or our party," said Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Harper, in an e-mailed statement.
George and Terry Goulet, retired Metis lawyers who live in Calgary and who wrote two books on the Metis and the Trial of Louis Riel, responded to Goldring's mail out with a letter to the MP. Outlining point by point where Goldring's argument is flawed, the Goulets stated, "Regrettably your writings are riddled with numerous egregious errors and many omissions. It also ignores the significant contributions that Louis Riel and the Metis have made to Canada."
The irony of the timing of Goldring's newsletter can't be missed, pointed out Poitras. The year 2010 has been declared as the Year of the Metis. Poitras said Goldring's claims make it obvious that more education, not only about Riel but the role of the Metis in history and continued contributions, is needed.
Goldring did not respond to a request for an interview from Alberta Sweetgrass.
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|Date:||Apr 1, 2010|
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