Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh says Senator Lynn Beyak’s apology for racist behavior is not accepted.
Beyak announced Tuesday in the upper chamber that she now realizes she was wrong to post racist letters on her senate website and apologized unreservedly for her actions.
However Kavanaugh said in a statement issued Thursday morning that he’s not buying it.
“Senator Beyak missed many opportunities to demonstrate that she was truly sorry for her previous actions,” he said. “Her apology seems driven more by her possible suspension and the consequences of that suspension.”
Just hours after Kavanaugh issued his statement, the Senate voted to suspend Beyak for a second time for the rest of the parliamentary session, this time for failing to complete mandated anti-racism training that flowed from her first suspension.
Beyak was suspended from the Senate in April of 2019 for the rest of the parliamentary session after she refused to remove letters from her senate website that characterized Indigenous people as lazy and used racial slurs.
The letters were written by supporters of the senator after she was criticized for publicly downplaying the horrors of residential school and lamenting that the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not do enough to highlight the so-called good that came out of the schools.
Beyak’s suspension ended when parliament dissolved for the election. However, the Senate Ethics Committee recommended a second suspension after she failed to complete mandated cultural competency training and asserted to her instructors that she was Métis because her family had adopted an Indigenous child.
“As Ogichidaa of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3, I have never received correspondence from Senator Beyak to apologize for her actions; she has never asked to visit any of the Treaty #3 communities and to listen and learn firsthand about residential schools and experiences of survivors,” Kavanaugh said.
“Reconciliation takes a dedicated effort; our Treaty #3 leadership will continue to monitor her words and her actions, but until that time her apology is not accepted.”