Senator Lillian Eva Dyck, Saskatchewan Senator, issued the following statement:
There have been numerous public calls for Senator Beyak to resign from the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples after her speech made in the chamber on March 7, 2017. Her comments on Indian residential schools in particular were seen as being ill informed and insensitive, especially to the survivors of residential schools and their descendants.
Since I am the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, my office has received phone calls and email messages asking me to remove her from the Committee.
While I respect the right of all Senators to express their own opinions, I am concerned that Senator Beyak’s comments may have tarnished the good reputation of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and that her opinions may negatively impact the future work of the Committee. Aboriginal people must be able to feel that they can trust the members of the Committee and that we respect them.
Chairs of senate committees do not have the authority to appoint or remove members, but as an individual Senator, I would ask Senator Beyak to reflect on whether her continued presence on the committee will do more harm than good as we move forward to study a nation-to-nation relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canada.