Controversy over Senator Beyak’s comments on residential schools

Canadian Senate chamber - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

More calls in Ottawa for the resignation of Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak. During a Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples last week, Beyak spoke about residential schools and a proposal to change the name of the Langevin Block, instead of a study on the disproportionately high number of indigenous women in Canadian prisons.

“I speak partly for the record, but mostly in memory of the kindly and well intentioned men and women and their descendants perhaps some of us here in this chamber who’s remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go un-acknowledged for the most part and are overshadowed by negative reports,” said Beyak.

Senator Lynn Beyak – Courtesy Senate of Canada

Former Truth and Reconciliation Chair, now Senator Murray Sinclair was also at the Committee meeting.

“Thank you for your elucidation of your views in regards to the history of indigenous and non-indigenous people in this country senator. I am a bit shocked that you still hold some views that have been proven to be incorrect over the years, but none the less I accept you have the right to hold them,” said Sinclair.

Senator Murray Sinclair – Courtesy Senate of Canada

Since then Residential School Survivor and NDP MP Romeo Saganash is also calling for Beyak’s resignation.

The Liberal Indigenous Caucus has asked Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose to remove her from the Conservative Caucus, saying “Bayak’s views are inconsistent with the spirit of reconciliation that is required in both chambers of Parliament.”

Assembly of First Nation’s National Chief Perry Bellegarde also issued a statement Thursday, calling Beyak’s comments misinformed.

Listen to Senator Beyak’s speech in a video produced by APTN below.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He worked as a sports writer in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario. Between journalistic duties in the NWT and Yukon, Campbell was a speechwriter for former NWT MP Dennis Bevington, and Sahtu MLA Norman Yakeleya.

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