Boycott of Beyak’s family businesses called for
OTTAWA- The saga of Sen. Lynn Beyak’s letters continues, with some of her Senate colleagues now seeking to determine if she has violated ethics and spending rules.
Five members of the independent senators group have written to Senate ethics officer Pierre Legault asking him to investigate whether letters they say are commonly believed to be racist violate the upper chamber’s rules against promoting hatred.
They also want the Senate’s administrative arm to decide if hosting the letters on a Senate website is a misuse of parliamentary resources.
The letters are from people who support Beyak’s comments that not enough has been made of the positives that came out of residential schools and that Indigenous people should give up their status cards and practise their culture on their own dime.
Now it has spread to her pocket book.
First Nations have called for a boycott of two dealerships in Dryden and Fort Frances, Ont., her family owns. The dealerships are right in Grand Council Treaty 3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory. Tania Cameron, a First Nation activist who lives in Kenora is calling for a boycott of their business. She said she will be sending out letters to First Nation leadership and has already started a conversation on social media.
She said First Nations people buy vehicles in Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora and Winnipeg . She says she Beyak’s businesses should not benefit from First Nations dollars.
At the same a national campaign in the form of an online petition pressuring the former Conservative senator to resign has been launched at www.beyakresign.ca .
Beyak was kicked out of the Conservative party caucus last week after she refused to remove several of letters, which party leader Andrew Scheer said included racist content.
Beyak has challenged Scheer’s version of events, calling him an inexperienced leader who fell prey to political correctness.
She now sits as an independent senator.
She says her statements and the letters reflect a valid viewpoint that some are trying to stifle.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott wrote Monday to Scheer and Conservative Senate leader Larry Smith asking for their help in getting the letters removed from the website.
The five senators who signed the letter to the ethics officer, Raymonde Gagne, Francis Lankin, Ratna Omidvar, Chantal Peticlerc and Andre Pratte, were all appointed in 2016.
In their complaint, they say content in some of the letters is “commonly judged to be racist” and while they support Beyak’s right to free speech, that does not include the right to promote hatred.
They want Legault to determine if the letters promote hatred or racism, noting if they do that would be a violation of the Senate ethics code.
The investigation will be one of the first things Legault undertakes. He was only appointed to the role by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a month ago.