Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Calls for Senator Beyak to Resign

Tee Pee going up on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature - Photo AMC
Tee Pee going up on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature - Photo AMC

WINNIPEG – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas supports the calls for Senator Lynn Beyak to resign and to apologize for her most recent comments.

Earlier this month, Senator Beyak posted a letter on her Senate website writing “let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share” suggesting Indigenous people trade their status cards for Canadian citizenship, with negotiated payout to every Indigenous person. This is in addition to her March 2017 comments defending the “well intentioned Residential School System.”

Grand Chief Dumas stated: “Senator Bayek’s most recent remark that First Nations should give up their Status Cards for Canadian citizenship is blatantly ignorant and outright offensive, particularly coming from an individual who is member of the Canadian Senate. Such individuals should be required to understand the difference between a Treaty Status Card and Canadian citizenship. To suggest that First Nations should trade their Status Cards for Canadian Citizenship is a historically colonial way of thinking that dates back to the 1857 Gradual Civilization Act  which was passed to support the aggressive assimilation of Indigenous peoples in what would become Canada. For the Conservatives of the day to allow room for Senator Bayek and her repeatedly uninformed comments in the Senate, personal opinion or not, is a reflection of the Conservatives government’s lack of commitment to reconciliation. ”

To date, there have been numerous calls for Senator Bayek’s resignation which includes from Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, as well as several MP’s and First Nations leaders.

Grand Chief Dumas concluded: “I support the calls for Senator Lynn Beyak’s resignation, she must take responsibility for the thoughtless nature of her comments and step away from the Caucus. She also owes First Nations an apology and all Canadians an explanation on why she continues to make uninformed comments about Indigenous peoples.”