Facing the prospect of imminent ejection from the Senate, Lynn Beyak says she has decided to retire.
The former Conservative senator issued a statement on Monday announcing her decision, which comes after years of racist remarks in which Beyak has repeatedly attempted to argue there were “good” parts of residential schools for Indigenous people.
In reality, the schools were documented sites of horrific and persistent abuse, as well as what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission described as “cultural genocide.”
“Some have criticized me for stating that the good, as well as the bad, of residential schools should be recognized. I stand by that statement,” she wrote in her resignation letter.
“Others have criticized me for stating that the Truth and Reconciliation Report was not as balanced as it should be. I stand by that statement as well.”
Former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer kicked Beyak out of caucus in 2018 over her decision to publish and maintain a record of roughly 100 racist letters against Indigenous people on her website.
Scheer said at the time the letters were “offensive and unacceptable.”
“Racism will not be tolerated in the Conservative Caucus or Conservative Party of Canada,” he also said.
With the House of Commons and Senate returning from winter break, Beyak faced an imminent vote on a motion introduced by Sen. Mary Jane McCallum in December that sought to make Beyak the first-ever senator to be ejected from the Red Chamber, citing “individual racism.”
“The Senate is now seized with confronting a blatant example of institutional racism within our own House. The individual racism demonstrated by Senator Beyak in both her words and her actions has been elevated to an institutional level by the Senate operating in a way that enabled her escalating misconduct,” McCallum’s press release read.
“By allowing her to remain in a position with the inherent title of ‘Honourable’ while such misdeeds have been appropriated is irresponsible and sets a poor example that is contrary to how Parliamentarians expect themselves and each other to act.”
Beyak had been suspended in May 2019 for refusing to remove the letters from her website.
She said in her statement on Monday that she always planned to retire after eight years in the Senate.
More to come.