With the way that things have been moving in Canadian politics in the past week, it feels like it’s been ages since I last wrote about the disgraceful Senator Lynn Beyak. But in truth, it’s only been a few weeks since I last used space here to call out her refusal to accept responsibility for her actions and words. At that time, she was also called out for trying to claim she was Métis while at the same time say there is no racism in her community. Of course, the truth is far from her words, which is one thing that’s been consistent through all of this.
But since the Senate has been forced to deal with Beyak again, voices have been calling for the Senate to take a stronger stand against her, arguing that suspension is simply not enough this time. Well this morning we have a development on that front from Beyak’s own back yard, the region that she claims to represent and speak for. This development comes in the form of a statement, one that this observer is very happy to see:
This morning we saw seven young municipal councilors from all over Northwestern Ontario speak out in a brave and principled way. Douglas Judson of Fort Frances, Kirsi Ralko of Kenora, Cody Fraser & Shelby Ch’ng of Thunder Bay, Andrew Nisly of Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Joe Cassidy of Sioux Lookout and Daniel Sutton of Ear Falls came together to make a simple but strong statement; Mrs. Beyak is setting back the representation of Northwestern Ontario by her very presence in the Red Chamber and that the Senate needs to step up now.
What’s striking about this statement is not only the clear thought in it but the way it comes from across the political spectrum and different community realities. You have reps from the biggest city in the region, to the smallest, most spread out municipalities. You have various political backgrounds represented here. You also see a clear call, focused call for tackling the issues that Northwestern Ontario faces every day.
They directly attack Beyak’s claims; they point to the fact that yes, there is racism in their communities and yes, reconciliation is needed for all people who live in the region to be able to move forward together. They also point out that in this day and age when rural and northern communities are in need of leadership to deal with the issues they face, Beyak is spending her time trying to sow more division and, as they put it “it’s no longer acceptable for Senator Beyak to squander her office and its resources to cast aspersions on Indigenous people, obscure the reality of racism and those who face it, and bring disrepute to our region.”
For this group of municipal councilors, the ask is very simple: remove Beyak for good “so that the privilege of serving in the Red Chamber may be extended to an individual who is capable of standing with the people of our region, advancing their priorities and honourably representing Northwestern Ontario in Parliament.” The fact that we find ourselves in a spot where such a reasoned, obvious thing must be stated says a lot about the current situation.
Now as you can see above here, it’s still a long way from when Mrs. Beyak must leave the Senate due to age, but as I’ve said here before, that’s simply not acceptable. I hope that by taking this brave step and speaking out like this, more political leaders will get behind these young municipal leaders who are speaking for the future of their communities and homes. They are putting forward a vision of a region that comes together, works to make a better future and doesn’t want to repeat the ignorance of the past and present. They are putting their names on it, standing behind it and doing what is right, despite the fact that someday there could be an electoral price to pay for doing so. Given that, I’d hope that those who occupy the Red Chamber, those who never have to face the electorate or face that peril, will show as much bravery and principle as these seven leaders are. Canadians are watching and hopefully those in the Senate will heed this call, much sooner than later.