Should Louis Riel be pardoned?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I do think that Louis Riel should be pardoned.  I am not sure that, as some people argue, he should be proclaimed a hero, but I do think that it would make sense to pardon him for his alleged crimes.  I have two reasons for saying this.

First, I do not think that Riel should have been executed in the first place.  While his actions were technically treasonous, they can also be seen as the actions of a freedom fighter or a person who was protesting against what he saw as unjust treatment of the Metis by the Canadian government.  He was also possibly insane.  For these reasons, I do not think that he deserved to be executed.

Second, I think that times have changed enough that we should see Riel’s actions in a different light than they were seen in the 1870s and 1880s.  Today, we should be able to admit that the Canadian government was wrong in many of the ways that it treated First Nations people and Metis.  We should recognize that Riel was trying to right something that was clearly a wrong.  Because of that, he should be pardoned for his actions.

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