(February 6, 2020) — Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak, who had previously received widespread condemnation for publishing racist, anti-Indigenous rhetoric on her personal website, was reportedly banned from a three-day “cultural competency training” session taking place at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) last fall.
During that session it was reported that Beyak claimed she was Métis because of an adopted Indigenous sister. While she has since asserted she did not make these comments it is exactly these kinds of outlandish claims that serve to complicate and confuse the respect, recognition and understanding that Métis deserve as a people.
When individuals in positions of leadership and influence appear completely unwilling to seek truth, to engage or to listen, it negatively impacts all of us and serves to effectively block Canada’s journey to truth and reconciliation, and it is clearly not working in the best interests of all Canadians.
“These actions do us harm, and they serve to erase recognition and respect for Métis as a people with a distinct culture, history and way of life,” stated Métis Nation of Ontario President Margaret Froh.
“Métis is not a catch all, and it is not something to be assumed in name only — that is not who we are as Métis. As a Canadian Senator from Ontario this is particularly concerning to our Métis families and communities who are all too familiar with the harm inflicted by allowing myths and misconceptions to cloud truth and undermine us as a rights-bearing people recognized under Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution.”
The MNO applauds the Senate ethics committee for recommending suspension of Senator Beyak for a second time and demands that she make restitution through an apology and acknowledgement of the harm she has caused. We call upon the Senate of Canada, and all Canadians to demand better of our respective Governments and leaders in our collective path toward reconciliation. We must be willing to ask the right questions with respect and humility, be willing to engage and to listen in the interest of justice and truth. This is a burden we all share, and all Canadians deserve better.
Posted on February 6, 2020