Manitoba

Remove Sen. Beyak from Conservative caucus over Indigenous comments: AMC grand chief

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has added its voice to the chorus calling for the removal of a Conservative senator under fire for comments about Indigenous Canadians.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs adds its voice to calls for removal of Sen. Lynn Beyak from caucus

AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas called for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to remove Sen. Lynn Beyak from caucus after she posted a letter calling on First Nations people to give up status in exchange for Canadian citizenship, something they already have. (CBC)

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has added its voice to the chorus calling for the removal of a Conservative senator under fire for comments about Indigenous Canadians.

The AMC released a statement from Grand Chief Arlen Dumas on Tuesday calling on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to remove Lynn Beyak from caucus.

Beyak has faced widespread condemnation from politicians and Indigenous leaders across Canada after she posted a letter on her website saying Indigenous Canadians should give up their First Nations status in exchange for Canadian citizenship, with a payout to settle outstanding land claims and other issues.

Indigenous people born in Canada are already citizens.

"None of us are leaving, so let's stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share," she wrote in an open letter posted to her website on Sept. 1. The letter has since been removed from her site.

"All Canadians are then free to preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime."

On Monday, Scheer said he disagrees with Beyak and condemned her "choice of words," but did not remove her from caucus.

In a statement released Tuesday, Dumas called Beyak's comments "blatantly ignorant and outright offensive, particularly coming from an individual who is member of the Canadian Senate."

These latest comments come after Beyak stirred up controversy in March by defending the residential school system. Those comments led to her removal from the Senate's Aboriginal peoples committee.

Her comments represent "a colonial way of thinking," Dumas said.

"For the government of this day to allow room for Senator Beyak and her repeatedly uninformed comments in their Senate, personal opinion or not, is a reflection of their government's lack of commitment to reconciliation."

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson have called for Beyak to resign, and she has faced criticism from MPs and other senators, including some in her own party.

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