Labrador MP wants senator to resign over residential school remarks

Senator Lynn Beyak said people forget the good caused by residential schools

Published on March 10, 2017

Yvonne Jones

©TC Media file photo

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones is calling on Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak to resign her seat on the Senate’s Aboriginal affairs committee over her speech about Indian residential schools.

In her speech on March 9 Beyak said she “was disappointed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report in that it didn’t focus on the good” that Residential Schools did. She said the descendants of these “well-intentioned” people have to bear the cross of that stigma.

Jones said in a release that the government is committed to moving past this sad and terrible chapter in Canadian history and finding a new way forward with Indigenous Peoples in Canada through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship.

“As an Indigenous person and a Member of Parliament for a region with so many Indigenous people that went through this terrible ordeal I condemn the careless and hurtful words of Senator Beyak,” Jones said.

The Canadian government has apologized for its role in the residential school era and the fact this Senator sits on the Indigenous Affairs Committee dealing with vital and sensitive Indigenous issues with this attitude is alarming, Jones said.

“Canada needs to move forward with reconciliation, Senator Beyak wants to take us backward, she needs to apologize and resign from this committee immediately.”

Carolyn Bennett, the federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, also criticized Beyak, calling her views “ill-informed, offensive and simply wrong.”

The NDP’s indigenous affairs critic and residential school survivor Romeo Saganash also called for the senators resignation and Beyak’s own party, the Conservatives, said the senator’s views were “disturbing and hurtful to the many survivors who suffered the devastating effects.”

Jones said the government has committed to work with all partners to fully implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.