Skip to content

The Trial of Louis Riel

Louis David Riel, the founding father of Manitoba and Metis leader in Saskatchewan is one of Canada's most enigmatic historical figures. His controversial trial and execution for treason in 1885 has divided Canadians - Metis and whites - Catholics and Protestants - Francophone-Quebecers and English-speaking-Ontarians for over 125 years. Here the author, a former trial lawyer, a law professor and superior court judge, after examining all of the evidence, points out that apart from the issue of Riel's guilt or innocence, there should be concern by all Canadians that Riel did not have a fair trial. He concludes that Riel was prosecuted by overzealous and bullying lawyers for the government, in a  trial presided over by an incompetent, biased and indifferent judge and defended by unfortunately ill-prepared lawyers.