On Thrusday, Ontario Senator Lynn Beyak was removed from the Conservative caucus by Chief Andrew Scheer.
Ms. Beyak recently shared on her website dozens of “letters of support” from people who write that residential schools have had good results.
The Conservative leader asked her to remove from her site a message he considered racist.
According to Mr. Scheer, the senator refused and was therefore excluded from the caucus. “Racism will not be tolerated in the caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada,” he wrote in a statement released in the evening.
As an introduction to her webpage, the senator wrote that “many people” told her “how having attended a residential school was a positive experience for them”.
She says, “These people believe they have learned valuable skills and have benefited from recreational activities and sports.”
In some of the missives published on the senatorial page of Lynn Beyak, we read about this.
A man named Eardley notes that “a lot of good has been done” in these institutions created “to give Aboriginal youth a chance to learn and be part of modern society”.
Another, Roy, believes that, thanks to residential schools, Aboriginal people “can function in our modern world to a certain extent”.
“When I see an Aboriginal person, I can talk to him,” the man said in a letter titled “Truth and Reconciliation.”
The Ontario senator’s new release was vigorously denounced by NDP MP Charlie Angus, who is the party’s critic for aboriginal affairs.
He had criticized him for using “the enormous resources of the Senate to make racist remarks for his base […]”, in a message on Twitter.
“Will the Senate endorse this troll campaign or show it the door?” The elected official concluded in the same tweet.
A recurring controversy
The senator was in the hot seat last spring, stating in a speech in the upper house that there were good intentions behind the residential schools.
These remarks provoked outrage, and many in Ottawa urged the Conservative leadership to oust him from the political party caucus.
At the time, the party’s interim leader, Rona Ambrose, reacted by depriving her of the seat she held on the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
A few months later, the senator reoffended by suggesting, in a letter posted on her website in September, that Aboriginal people were not Canadian citizens.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Carolyn Bennett then challenged Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to exclude Lynn Beyak from the party caucus.
The leader of the official opposition refused to do so, but insisted through a spokesman that the senator’s statements did not reflect “the thought of the leader or the party.”