Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has removed Sen. Lynn Beyak from the Conservative National Caucus, in the wake of a Global News report which found Beyak’s website to have published several letters containing language that First Nations advocates call racist or offensive.
Beyak, who prompted a string of controversy in 2017 for her remarks defending residential schools, published over 100 “letters of support” on her Senate website, many of which were found to contain what could be described as racist or anti-Indigenous sentiments.
“Do not back down, the Indians, First Nations or whatever they want to be called have milked this issue to their decided advantage,” reads one letter dated Mar. 30, 2017.
“The handouts have taken their people nowhere, and their constant backward-looking mentality serves no useful purpose,” states another, dated Mar. 10, 2017. “Aboriginals seem to be well schooled in getting media pity and they have become very good at getting media coverage.”
On Thursday, Scheer’s office released a statement in response to the Global News report.
“On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, I learned that Senator Lynn Beyak posted to her Parliamentary website approximately 100 letters from Canadians in support of her position on residential schools,” Scheer said.
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The statement highlighted one specific comment as being “offensive and unacceptable.” The comment in question read:
“I’m no anthropologist but it seems every opportunistic culture, subsistence hunter/gatherers seeks to get what they can for no effort. There is always a clash between industrial/organized farming culture that values effort as opposed to a culture that will sit and wait until the government gives them stuff.”
Scheer’s statement continued, “To suggest that indigenous Canadians are lazy compared to other Canadians is simply racist.”
Scheer said he demanded that Beyak remove the content from her website, but she refused.
“As a result of her actions, the Conservative Senate Leader Larry Smith and I have removed Senator Lynn Beyak from the Conservative National Caucus,” Scheer said. “Racism will not be tolerated in the Conservative Caucus or Conservative Party of Canada.”
Sen. Smith added in a separate statement that the matter was now considered closed, and that he would not be making further comment.
— With files from Global News reporter Andrew Russell