First Nations call for boycott of Beyak’s businesses - APTN NewsAPTN News

First Nations call for boycott of Beyak’s businesses

Kathleen Martens
Comments in support of Canada’s punitive Indian residential school system could hurt Ontario Senator Lynn Beyak in the pocketbook.

Beyak’s family owns two car dealerships in Dryden and Fort Frances, Ont., smackdab in the middle of Grand Council Treaty 3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory.

“I’m calling for a boycott,” said Tania Cameron, a First Nation’s activist in Kenora.

“I’ll be sending letters to the First Nation leadership and, of course, using social media.”

Cameron said tribal councils and First Nations use the winter road season to make major purchases.

“This is their time to buy vehicles. They’ll go to Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, Winnipeg even…and I certainly don’t find it fitting that Beyak’s businesses should benefit from First Nation dollars.”

The call to boycott Beyak’s family businesses comes the same day area First Nations launched an online petition pressuring the former Conservative senator to resign.

The website went live Tuesday.

“Senator Beyak’s shameful defence of the Indian residential school system is unbefitting for a member of the Senate,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of NAN.

“Her lack of knowledge and empathy for the horrors of the residential school experience is offensive to survivors and all the children who were lost.”

Fiddler, Grand Chief Ogichidaa Kavanaugh, who represents 34 First Nations in the Beyak business area, and Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization of Manitoba have all signed the petition.

They describe it as a nationwide campaign.

Locally, Cameron said a boycott is needed to counter Beyak’s “deplorable” stance on residential schools and letters in support of that stance posted posted on the senator’s website.

Cameron said she was further offended by comments made by Beyak’s son, Nick Beyak, a Dryden city councillor, about First Nation’s people and the residential school era in Canada.

However, Nick Beyak said the boycott is “an inappropriate response” to the controversy.

“I’m quite confident in the way my businesses treat people,” Nick Beyak said, noting he had many Indigenous and non-Indigenous customers.

“I really believe the people whom we do business with at both dealerships will continue,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lynn Beyak is under fire in Ottawa, too. She was kicked out of the Conservative Party caucus last week, and Tuesday a group of independent senators requested an investigation into whether her posts on the government website breach Senate ethics rules.

She declined to be interviewed for this story.

The controversy also hit at a meeting of Dryden city council Monday night, noted Coun. Mary Trist.

“I reiterated my comments that I disagreed with (the) Beyaks’ comments,” she told APTN News following the meeting.

“I talked about how they had no place in 21st-century Canada, that it is troubling when I hear that someone feels they don’t need further education on a topic. Because we represent everyone in our municipality. It’s not just council business, it’s our country’s business.”

Trist teaches at a hockey academy in Dryden, where she says learning about residential schools is part of the curriculum.

“If we can’t have these conversations as leaders to acknowledge the past and work together to move forward somehow, what the heck are we doing there?” she said in an interview.

Trist said she thought Nick Beyak would take the opportunity to apologize. But he didn’t.

“I can’t make sense of why he thinks what he said was OK,” she said.

Cameron said hockey is big business for Dryden and the community hosts a major First Nations tournament that fills up hotels and restaurants.

“They make like hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Cameron said, suggesting a boycott could be expanded.

“If Dryden doesn’t come out with a statement it doesn’t look good for them because they want to attract First Nations like that.”

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11 Responses to “First Nations call for boycott of Beyak’s businesses”

    Gerry January 16, 2018 at 4:02 am #

    Cultural extortion

    Two wrongs don’t make a right

    june McMullen BA January 11, 2018 at 4:53 am #

    whoa Pamela easy you should join anger management…now I am getting sick of tax payers money my family has a history of paying tax since 1800’s and we are all first Nations…so if comment is going be made why not suggest positive solutions instead of adding hate and getting it out of hand as Joe said she does not really care so it is not about her it is about innocent people all the around…just saying

    Pamela January 10, 2018 at 6:24 pm #

    Well there goes Freedom of Speech. Why don’t we just drag Lynn and her whole family out of their houses and burn them at the stake. This is getting out of hand..

      Del January 11, 2018 at 4:19 am #

      I’m for that. I’m sure that’s what happened to many Indigenous people when that town was squatted on.

      Joe January 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      I agree. It is totally out of hand.

      Kel January 11, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

      Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences.

      John January 13, 2018 at 11:31 am #

      Just like the government of Canada n the church did to the kids drag out of home cut their hair punish for speaking the language n abused Personally I would of loved them to Graf us out n burn our house down that we would still be together instead of that horror show .. should educate yourself bout our race like I was told to do about your race Just saying

    Joe January 10, 2018 at 4:03 pm #

    I don’t think she’ll really care.

  5. D_landrue@hotmail.con'
    Dave January 10, 2018 at 4:42 am #

    I replied on this already but no response by most as I expected So what is boycotting his business going to to. Put alot of tax payers out off work plus alot of taxes that are paid by Dryden gm to the town. Well I hate to see people who could loose their jobs over this when they have nothing to do with it. Not being perjudice I am white but my kids are (I’m not even sure how to say it cause sure shit I’ll offend some) 1/4 native Canadian and my best friend is status so ya the fact remains. We operate on taxes. If we boycott Dryden gm. Are the first Nations willing to cover the void that the town will see by shutting down this business.

      Bill January 11, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

      Your not sure how to say it because you don’t want to know…come on pal mixed blood your kids are Metis. Get with their heritage and maybe then you will see why Beyak can survive on white dollars and the aboriginal people can support an honorable business owner.

        Bob January 18, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

        Wow racist much?? Exactly what is white dollars??