Sen. Lynn Beyak says she was never asked to remove 'racist' letters from Senate website - APTN NewsAPTN News

Sen. Lynn Beyak says she was never asked to remove ‘racist’ letters from Senate website

Sen. Lynn Beyak remains defiant in keeping ‘racist’ letters about residential schools up on her Senate website and says she was never told to take them down by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

“Contrary to his statement, that he asked me to remove content and I refused, neither I nor my staff ever spoke with Andrew Scheer or anyone from his office, at any time,” said Beyak in a statement Monday.

Scheer said last week he demanded Beyak to remove about 100 “support letters” of her drive to show the good Indian residential schools did and other Indigenous issues.

When she refused, he kicked her out of the Conservative caucus, making her an independent senator.

“I demanded Senator Beyak remove this content from her website. She refused,” Scheer said.

Scheer mentioned one comment in a letter was particularly offensive.

“To suggest that indigenous Canadians are lazy compared to other Canadians, is simply racist,” he said.

Beyak said the letters posted are not racist.

“Talking points from his office also declared: ‘Senator Beyak admitted that she intentionally posted racist correspondence about Indigenous Canadians to her Parliamentary website,’ said Beyak. “That statement is completely false. I would never say or do such a thing.”

She added she learned she was getting booted from caucus through a media release from Scheer’s office.

That aside, Beyak believes her website, and the letters, provide a platform for free speech.

“Canadians can read and decide for themselves what is relevant and helpful for a fresh start for those Indigenous people who still suffer, and who live in hopelessness and poverty with inadequate housing and dirty water,” she said.

“Discerning citizens don’t need government to tell them what is allegedly racist.”

Fellow senator Lillian Dyck said last week the letters could lead to criminal charged for hate speech.

“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.

Scheer also said last week he first learned of the letters Jan. 2 but they had been on Beyak’s website for several months.

An email dated September 15 from a residential school survivor provided to APTN News, indicates that Scheer’s office was tipped off then about the “support letters.”

Sen. Larry Smith, the Conservative leader in the Senate was also sent the email.

“I am disappointed that my email back in September was ignored,” said Garnet Angeconeb. “They knew all along she had those ‘support letters’ on her Parliamentary website.”

Angeconeb is just one of many who believe Beyak’s letters and stance on residential schools are racist.

A spokesman for Scheer said his office gets 1,000 to 2,500 “pieces of correspondence” a week and it usually takes four to six months for people to get a response.

“We have about four or five staff members who are tasked with strictly doing that,” said Jake Enwright. “They work very, very hard to answer these inquiries as quickly as possible.”

Enwright maintained Scheer learned of the letters Jan. 2 and that Angeconeb’s email was in the que to receive a response.

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12 Responses to “Sen. Lynn Beyak says she was never asked to remove ‘racist’ letters from Senate website”

    Gwen January 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm #

    “….We can lead a person to education but you can’t make them think.”

    Dan E. January 9, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

    I have seen many road blocks placed in front of Indigenous people! These blocks are directly connected to the thinking like L. Beyak has. I have worked as a Native Liaison in Corrections, Aboriginal Education Assistant and a commercial fisher to name a few. Racist thinking that has been normalize in our institutions has been a gauntlet. Ms. Beyak is entrenched in thinking errors about indigenous peoples. Through all of this we thrive! we can lead a person to education but we can’t make them think!
    many Canadians have moved past ignorant rants and racism, focusing on what is good and who we really are as Indigenous Peoples. Ms L. Beyak should take note.

    ron burns January 9, 2018 at 5:54 pm #

    straight talk
    I think you people meaning the settlers. The government has been doing this living off the FIRST NATIONS for generations, Indians were never poor, they were never hungry until the settlers came and killed off their ways of life. Beyak is a poor excuse for a senator, making racist comments and justifying them. Resign you are a waste of time. Educate yourselves on the FIRST PEOPLES of Canada. eh

    Margaret Sutherland January 9, 2018 at 4:56 pm #

    Senator Beyak’s mind does seem to be stuck in the dark ages of the colonial history of Parliamentary rules. She said that she does not need ” to be educated” on the history of Aboriginal Peoples and their educational experiences with the Indian residential schools.

    Now Senator Beyak has been removed from The Senate Aboriginal Committee and the Conservative Caucus and especially after all Parliamentarians, the House of Commons Members and the The Senate House Members, were presented The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and its 94 Calls to Action.

    She has had so many opportunities to meet all the well-educated and most well-informed Indigenous Peoples from the different walks of life, and who have been leading new changes for their own communities and moving forward on with education reform, community-based culturally-relevant plans for programs and services, and and advancing steadfastly in various institutionally-build new changes in economic development, business development, and other areas including the importance of the revitalization of the Indigenous Languages applied on land-based teachings and sharing their traditional knowledge and skills.

    It is now 2018 and the only other choice Senator Beyak has in front of her is to either shape up or ship out, with no prejudices or biases.

    Pamela January 9, 2018 at 12:34 am #

    I agree with Lynn. What the government has been doing for years is not working. We need a drastic change to help these people lift themselves up out of poverty. Obviously their chiefs are not helping them but they themselves don’t seem to be suffering.

      Gord January 9, 2018 at 4:09 am #

      these people??

      Heather Dawe January 10, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

      If you agree with Lynn then I suggest at least getting educated on the matter at hand which she has not. There are 2 really good courses offered online by Coursera. On is Indigenous Canadá offered by the University of Alberta and the other is Aboriginal Worldviews. They are both free and are extremely helpful to explain why Lynn Beyak’s statements and Posting rascist emails on a government website is wrong. If you truly would like Canada to move forward with it Indigenous brothers and Sisters take the time and learn.

    Joe January 8, 2018 at 8:01 pm #

    There were people who found their schooling to be beneficial. We already know that some didn’t but she only spoke the truth.

      Sarah January 9, 2018 at 4:38 am #

      “Some” didn’t ??? Really ??? I challenge you to give me 3 names of IRS survivors who will publicly say they had a great experience at IRS !!
      I’LL WAIT.

        joe January 10, 2018 at 4:12 pm #

        Read the part of the report called Survivors warm memories. Perhaps you could show enough intelligence to do your own research next time instead of “challenging” people who know what they are talking about.

      Lenard January 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

      Wow I have been told racism doesn’t exist in canaduh…try being raped by a priest or nun then come back and tell me how wonderful it is…yes I guess I am racist but I treat others the same way I’m treated… I work in the construction industry and have to fight racist people on a weekly basis been wrkn since I was 14 on my own and yes I pay taxes just like every other person…been wrkn since 1975 and nothing has changed..

      Pernell January 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm #

      Put yourself back in them day where your being force or locked up in a room being molested by a preacher or a nun then see if she speak the truth