I am writing in response to Nick Beyak’s letter of April 3, 2019.
I am an Anishinaabekwe from Couchiching First Nation and a teacher. In my post-graduate studies and in my professional work I have studied the effects of colonialism on Indigenous people in Canada, namely the impacts of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, as well as ongoing ignorance about these effects.
My focus as an educator has been on the need for education so that we can build the capacity to work toward fulfilling the “Calls to Action” of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015).
These can be found online at: https://nctr.ca/assets/reports/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf.
I was left speechless by Nick Beyak’s letter (April 3) in which he dismisses Doug Judson’s comments regarding the ethics ruling on the matter of Senator Lynn Beyak as merely a means to political gain.
I think Mr. Beyak’s letter is ridiculously defensive; his goal is clearly to deflect attention from the fact that Senator Beyak (Mr. Beyak’s mother) has failed to abide by a ruling by the Ethics Commission that orders Ms. Beyak to remove letters deemed racist (by the commission) from her Senate website.
As Indigenous person and a teacher I take offence from her actions; this is an affront to anyone who has been affected by the trauma caused by residential schools and other acts of colonialism.
These are the facts: In March 2019 Canada’s Ethics Commission ruled that Senator Lynn Beyak was “inconsistent” in her claims about letters received from constituents; contrary to her claims about “public support” for her speech about the “good things” that came from residential school, of the 6,766 letters received about her speech 4,282 were “critical.” Fewer than 100 were “neutral” and the balance were supportive (2,389).
The report can be seen at http://sen.parl.gc.ca/seo-cse/PDF/Inquiry-Beyak2019-e.pdf
When considering Senator Beyak’s conduct, the Ethics Commissioners concluded that by posting the letters that they have determined contain racist content, Senator Beyak has failed to uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of Senator.” (P. 43).
Doug Judson has simply demanded that the Senator take responsibility for her actions and comply with an order to comply with the standards set for the conduct required by the Senate of Canada.
I fail to understand why Nick Beyak should be criticizing him; to the contrary, I think we should be criticizing a Senator who refuses to show uphold the dignity of the office.
If in fact Senator Beyak is purporting to uphold the type of behaviour a senator is expected to demonstrate, why did she not post two critical letters for every supportive letter?
Is she afraid to admit that she doesn’t represent the majority of her constituents? And why did she not remove these letters from her website when the ethics commissioner instructed that she should do so?
Why is Doug Judson being criticized for demanding that Lynn Beyak comply with the Ethics Commissioner’s ruling?
In my work as an educator I believe that open discussion is vital. However, silencing the voice of the oppressed is not conducive to healing.
It doesn’t empower people, nor allow them to feel supported. I disagree with Senator Beyak and demand that she comply with the Ethics Commission ruling.
This is no longer an issue under question; the Commission has made a decision and Ms. Beyak needs to respect this.