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Tory MP calls Louis Riel a 'villain'

Liberals are demanding a Tory MP apologize for criticizing Métis leader Louis Riel.
Edmonton MP Peter Goldring has called former Métis leader Louis Riel a "villain" who has blood on his hands from leading the Northwest and Red River rebellions. ((Tom Hanson/Canadian Press))

Liberals are demanding a Tory MP apologize for criticizing Métis leader Louis Riel.

Edmonton MP Peter Goldring sent out a pamphlet in December to "set the record straight" about Riel's actions in the late 1800s.

In the newsletter, titled The Truth About Louis Riel, Goldring calls the former Métis leader a "villain" who has blood on his hands from leading the Northwest and Red River rebellions.

Goldring said Riel doesn't deserve a statue on Parliament Hill and that such a tribute would condone his "civil disobedience."

Winnipeg Liberal MP Anita Neville said the Conservative party should apologize to the Métis for what she calls a "smear campaign" against the founder of Manitoba.

Louis Riel is regarded as a folk hero by many for his defence of Métis rights and culture. ((National Archives of Canada/Canadian Press))

Although he was hanged as a traitor, Riel is regarded as a folk hero by many for his defence of Métis rights and culture.

Winnipeg Conservative MP Shelley Glover, who represents the city's St. Boniface riding where Riel is buried, distanced herself on Friday from her colleague in Edmonton.

Glover, who is Métis, said she was shocked and offended when she saw the article.

"We have different opinions. I, of course, disagree with him wholeheartedly with regards to Louis Riel," she said.

"I was very disturbed about what I read because I found it to be unjust and inaccurate and unfortunate."

Glover spoke with Goldring on the telephone Thursday and said the two Tories agreed to disagree on the matter.

With files from The Canadian Press