Embattled Sen. Lynn Beyak could be charged with a hate crime says fellow senator Lillian Dyck.
Dyck is referring to letters Beyak, 68, recently posted on her Parliamentary website that support the “good” that Indian residential schools did.
“I looked it up,” Dyck told APTN News Friday. “Hate speech is communicating statements in public that incite hatred against any identifiable group.
“Someone could look into this…Check all the letters and make a determination as to whether it met the high standard for hate speech. She could be charged.”
Dyck is from the Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan and chair of the Aboriginal Peoples committee. Beyak was removed from that committee last year when she expressed support for the schools.
Beyak was then removed from the Conservative Party of Canada caucus late Thursday.
“On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, I learned that Senator Lynn Beyak posted to her Parliamentary website approximately 100 letters from Canadians in support of her position on residential schools,” CPC Leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement.
Scheer said he demanded Beyak remove the content from her website, but she refused.
“As a result of her actions, the Conservative Senate Leader Larry Smith and I have removed Senator Lynn Beyak from the Conservative National Caucus,” Scheer said. “Racism will not be tolerated in the Conservative Caucus or Conservative Party of Canada.”
Scheer’s spokesman said there would be no further comment.
Many consider the letters and Beyak’s position on the notorious school system to be racist.
Dyck said the national outcry against Beyak could put her in the same boat as David Ahenakew, an Aboriginal leader from Saskatchewan charged with hate after making remarks about Jews in December 2002.
Ahenakew was found not guilty after two trials.
Dyck said some of the letters, which don’t reveal the authors’ full names, are “outrageous and offensive.”
She said they promote false and negative stereotypes about Indigenous people that, in turn, lead to discrimination and negative treatment.
Dyck praised Scheer for booting Beyak from caucus but says that frees the now-Independent senator from any censorship.
“She is not alone,” Dyck added. “This is a symptom of the racism in our country.”
Beyak’s views that some Indigenous children benefitted from forced residential school have been condemned by the Anglican church and Thunder Bay city council.
It was churches that ran the schools – known for emotional, physical and sexual abuse – for the Canadian government.
Beyak has not responded to APTN’s request for comment.
Beyak was nominated to the senate by former prime minister Stephen Harper. It was Harper who apologized in 2008 for the residential school system.
Dyck said reconciliation is meaningless if Canadians can’t address racism in society.
“I’m 72 years old. Is it going to change before I die? I hope so,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said she would not make the complaint to police to investigate Beyak.