The North-West Rebellion of 1885
On 22 Nov. 1885 Wilfrid LAURIER made another leap forward in his political career. The North-West rebellion had alarmed the country, and the hanging of the Métis leader Louis RIEL on 16 November especially outraged French Canadians. In a highly charged atmosphere on the Champ-de-Mars in Montreal, Laurier seized the opportunity to win the hearts of his compatriots:
“Speaking to a crowd of nearly 50,000, he was so carried away that his words touched the collective imagination. ‘If [I] had been on the banks of the Saskatchewan when the rebellion broke out,’ he reportedly said, ‘[I] would have taken up arms [myself] against the government.… Riel’s execution was a judicial murder.’... On that day Laurier had identified himself with the innermost sorrows of French Canadians and undoubtedly won them over.”
To learn more about events related to the North-West rebellion and the hanging of Riel, we invite you to explore the following biographies.