Saskatchewan

Sask. senator says Canadians need to speak out against 'racist, hurtful' comments on Sen. Lynn Beyak's website

Just prior to Sen. Lynn Beyak's dismissal, Saskatchewan Liberal senator and chair of the Aboriginal Peoples committee Lillian Dyck spoke out against Beyak’s comments.

Sen. Lillian Dyck critcizes Beyak, who was removed from Conservative caucus on Thursday

Liberal Sen. Lillian Dyck has criticized Sen. Lynn Beyak, who was removed Thursday from the Conservative caucus, for comments about Indigenous people posted on Beyak's website. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

A Saskatchewan senator says all Canadians need to speak out against racism in light of comments posted on the website of Sen. Lynn Beyak, who was removed Thursday from the Conservative caucus.

"It's really, to me, remarkable that people like Sen. Beyak can still resist and deny the history of what happened in Indian residential schools," said Liberal Sen. Lillian Dyck in an interview with CBC Radio's As it Happens on Thursday, just prior to Beyak's removal from the caucus.

Beyak came under fire last year for saying residential schools were "well-intentioned" and other comments about Indigenous people, which led to calls for her removal from the caucus.

She recently added a tab on her Senate website called "Letters of Support," where she posted comments from people who agreed with her controversial stance.

In a statement released Thursday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he had asked Beyak to remove some of the comments but she refused. 

Sen. Lynn Beyak was removed from the Conservative caucus by party leader Andrew Scheer on Thursday. (CBC News)

Dyck, a Liberal senator from Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan who chairs the Senate's Aboriginal Peoples committee, criticized both the comments posted on Beyak's website and Beyak's decision to allow them on her site.

"Some are frankly racist, offensive, hurtful — and it was quite shocking to me that anyone would publish something like that on their website."

'There were really bad things done'

A massive public outcry from non-Indigenous people "to say that they're disgusted with this" might help silence racist comments, Dyck said.

"It needs to be from all Canadians saying, 'You know what, grow up and accept that there were really bad things done,' " in residential schools, she told As It Happens host Carol Off.

Beyak now holds no party status, but was given the option to remain a member of the Senate.

With files from CBC's As it Happens, Catharine Tunney and Joe Lofaro

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