Beyak leaves controversial letters online as minister calls for action

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A week after the Senate Ethics Officer ordered Non-affiliated Ontario Sen. Lynn Beyak to take down letters posted to her website that have been condemned by politicians of all stripes as racist and hateful, the correspondence is still featured prominently on her taxpayer-funded page.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett tells CBC News she’s determined to do something about the letters, most of which were sent to the former Conservative senator after her controversial March 2017 speech in which she defended the Indian residential school system.

Bennett said she will send a tweet on the matter every day the letters are still posted to the site or until the Senate takes some sort of action against Beyak over her blatant disregard for the ethics officer’s demand that she remove the letters, apologize and complete cultural sensitivity training.

“It’s unfortunate. She doesn’t seem to understand how these letters have affected residential school survivors, but really all Canadians. To many First Nations … they see them as inciting hatred and they want them down,” Bennett said in an interview with CBC News.

“This sort of intransigence is unbelievable for a parliamentarian. We’re supposed to lead by example. If the ethics commissioner says you’re at fault, your job is to remedy it. And yet she’s refused.

The Senate itself has done such an amazing job and its reputation is being tarnished and damaged by this one member who just doesn’t seem to get it. They should do whatever they can … it’s damaging to the institution and to Canada to host these racist screeds on a government website.”

The Senate ethics committee could recommend a number of sanctions, which include blocking Beyak’s access to Senate resources and limiting her right to speak or vote. It could even recommend her expulsion from the Senate, although senators would have to vote to confirm her expulsion.



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