The following is in response to a letter from Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus in which he expressed his “deep concern about Senator Lynn Beyak’s ongoing efforts to use her role as a member of the Senate of Canada to denigrate the Indigenous peoples living in Canada.”
To the editor:
Mr. Angus is obviously committed to the welfare of our Aboriginal peoples. This is commendable and honourable.
Having perused the letters on Senator Beyak’s site, my impression was that most people were sympathetic to the plight of the children attending residential schools, while acknowledging that every priest, minister, nun, teacher or any other school employee at the time was not a predatory sexual deviant and that some were actually devoted to their charges.
However, racist letters are evident on the site and that is unfortunate. If Senator Beyak knowingly had these racist letters published on her site, then shame on her. I would urge my fellow citizens to peruse these letters. You will be able to discern the sincere and thoughtful letters from those obviously racial in tone.
I believe, as do many Canadians, that some Aboriginal students had overall positive experiences attending the schools – that’s all Senator Beyak was trying to say. She was not “denying the holocaust” and the immediate and severe backlash by Mr. Angus and the “politically correct” is simply an attempt to not only silence Senator Beyak but to silence any Canadian citizen who may have any thought or feeling on the matter.
Senator Beyak also proposed that Indigenous people give up their status cards. The Pierre Trudeau government’s 1969 white paper called for an end to the Indian Act and for all Indigenous peoples to take their equal and unique place in Canadian society. Trudeau and his government felt that the act was discriminatory and that Indigenous peoples would thrive within the cultural mosaic of Canadian society.
Senator Beyak may not be the most astute or eloquent politician serving in the Senate, but she has brought forward an issue on which many Canadians have felt the need to comment.
To Mr. Angus, “methinks thou doth protest too much.”
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