In the past two weeks we’ve seen some interesting developments in the case of Senator Lynn Beyak and the calls for her to be removed from her seat in the Red Chamber. Last week we saw a group of seven young municipal leaders from Northwestern Ontario come together to put out a statement, calling for her to be removed from the Senate because of how she’s shamed her home region. Then yesterday we learned that the City Council in her hometown of Dryden had accepted a motion shunning Beyak and calling for her to be removed from the Senate, to save the reputation of her hometown and region.
Those were extraordinary things to see happen, and have left some to wonder if Beyak feels any remorse for what she’s done all the time. Given her continued actions and words, her unrepentant attacks on those who have called her out on her crap, it’s seemed like she hasn’t in the least. Well suddenly out of the blue today we saw something happen in the Senate, words that raised a few eyebrows and raised questions of their own:
Honestly everyone, I’m not sure how to feel about that short, strongly wordsmithed apology. My instinct is to say that this is the attempt of a desperate Senator to try to cling onto her cushy job and the benefits that come with it. She said that her actions regarding the refusal to remove those ignorant letters from her website were “due to her belief in Free Speech”. She also says that she was trying to promote “open and constructive dialogue”, stating the obvious that it did nothing to help discussions on these matters.
She said in her brief statement that “we’re never too old to learn or grow”, and while I would like to take those words at face value, I just can’t. I can’t ignore all of these past years of ignorance and divisiveness that she’s brought to the public square. I’m sorry, but one three-minute statement doesn’t undo any of that. That short statement doesn’t equate to any action to undo the damage that she has done, and it needs to rightfully be seen with a high degree of suspicion.
We can’t ignore the context in which this is happening, where she has had multiple Indigenous organizations calling for her removal, along with municipal leaders in her region and everyday citizens doing he same. Given her history and her ignorant refusal to accept any responsibility for anything linked to this before, we need boulders of salt to take with this, not a few grains. If this is all we are being offered to help her save her cushy seat, then I say it’s not enough.
I cannot ask others to show forgiveness based on this alone and for my own conscious, I need to see actual action put behind these thoughts she expressed in the Red Chamber. In my view, any of those actions should come after her removal from the Senate because her constant actions and ignorance demand it. If Mrs. Beyak truly turns over a new leaf in the years to come and goes back home to truly try to undo the damage that she has done for years with her words and actions, then maybe we can talk about accepting apologies. But sorry, there is no way this can happen while she still remains in that chamber.
I hope that her fellow Senators look at todays statement in that context and with a sufficient level of skepticism; the fact that very few of them applauded her words after gives me hope that will happen. Mrs. Beyak has created the situation she finds herself in and it’s her past words and actions that make it impossible to take this statement today at face value. That’s her doing, not ours, and she needs to bear the responsibility for that. The question remains if she will and if the Senate will do what is right by removing her from her seat. Northwestern Ontario deserves a Senator who will truly work for the betterment of our region and despite her apology today, that cannot be Lynn Beyak today or anytime in the near future.