Kinew Introduces Bill to Recognize Louis Riel as First Premier of Manitoba, Pass Legacy of Riel Down to Students

Winnipeg, MB—NDP Leader Wab Kinew introduced a bill in the house today to formally recognize Manitoba founder Louis Riel as the province’s first premier and to modernize the current provincial education  curriculum to more accurately reflect the history of Riel’s life and accomplishments.

“Manitoba’s 150th anniversary is an opportunity to recognize that Louis Riel is more than just a significant figure in history—he is the founder of our province and the Premier of our first government,” said Kinew. “This bill will ensure young people understand the instrumental role Riel played in the creation of our province and learn about his progressive vision for a fair and inclusive Manitoba.”

The bill bestows the honorary title of “First Premier of Manitoba” onto Riel and mandates the Minister of Education take steps to ensure the provincial curriculum acknowledges the title and outlines his significant contributions to the province.

In 1869 Louis Riel led a progressive provisional government that adopted a List of Rights based on a multicultural, bilingual and inclusive vision of a province that respected the rights of Indigenous and minority communities. The Government of Canada sent emissaries to negotiate with Riel and eventually accepted the List as the basis for the Manitoba Act, which established Manitoba as a province in Canadian Confederation. The name “Manitoba” was also submitted by
Riel to the federal government and was accepted.