THUNDER BAY – Senator Lynn Beyak is in hot water again. The Senator who was suspended from the Senate has failed in the view of the Senate Standing Committee to have done what was required for her reinstatement.
This will likely lead to her suspension from the Senate for the remainder of the current session of Parliament.
In a report, released on January 31, 2020, the Senate Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators states, “The privilege of serving in the Senate is contingent on an understanding that there is no place for racism within the institution. Senator Beyak’s actions, or inactions, have cast doubt on the integrity of the institution, which is to the detriment of her colleagues, the Senate, and Canadians. All Canadians need to have confidence in their democratic institutions and those who serve in them.”
As a part of her path to reinstatement to the Senate, Ms. Beyak was to issue an apology.
“Your committee was apprised of Senator Beyak’s apology through correspondence received from her lawyer in November 2019.”
TO ALL SENATORS
The Senate Ethics Officer, in his report of March 19, 2019, found me in breach of section [sic] 7.1 and 7.2 of the Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators and for that I sincerely apologize to all Senators.
Hon. Lynn Beyak, Senate of Canada
The Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators also state, “[Your] committee finds that the apology provided by Senator Beyak is not in the spirit and intent of this recommendation. Specifically, it does not acknowledge the letters at the core of the Senate Ethics Officer’s inquiry nor does it acknowledge the adverse effects that her conduct had on Indigenous peoples, on Canadians who hold equality as a Charter value that they cherish, as well as on her colleagues, and on the institution of the Senate.
While your committee is appreciative of Senator Beyak’s acknowledgment of the Senate Ethics Officer’s findings, it cannot accept an apology that fails to show awareness of the wrong, fails to accept responsibility for the wrong, fails to sincerely apologize, fails to atone for past actions and fails to commit to take action in order to rectify the situation. The apology leaves doubt as to whether Senator Beyak recognizes that the conduct at issue was not wrong, merely because the Senate Ethics Officer determined there was a violation of the Code, but because it constituted conduct unbecoming of a senator.
Primarily, your committee is concerned that no apology was made to Indigenous peoples, who were most affected by Senator Beyak’s conduct. Your committee would have expected a fulsome apology that addressed all of the concerns expressed in the Fifth Report and the Inquiry Report, and that reflected a meaningful consideration by Senator Beyak of the matters at issue. Indeed, the fact that the Senate suspended Senator Beyak – only the fifth suspension in the history of the institution – should have given her pause and prompted deep reflection on what occurred and who was adversely affected by her actions.
The Senate Committee states there are five recommendations:
In light of the above, your committee recommends the following:
- That Senator Lynn Beyak be suspended for the duration of the current session or until such time as the Senate adopts either:
- a motion to rescind the suspension moved pursuant to rule 5-5(i); or
- a report from the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators recommending that her suspension be rescinded;
- That, for the purposes of paragraph (a)(ii), the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators be empowered to study and report to the Senate, as it considers appropriate, on Senator Beyak’s compliance with the recommendations of this report;
- That Senator Beyak, while suspended:
- not receive any remuneration or reimbursement of expenses from the Senate, including any sessional or living allowance;
- neither use nor access Senate resources, including funds, goods, services, premises, moving and transportation, travel and telecommunication expenses; and
- not receive any other benefit from the Senate during the duration of her suspension;
- That, notwithstanding paragraph (c):
- Senator Beyak have normal access to Senate resources necessary to continue life, health and dental insurance coverage during the period of her suspension; and
- For the purpose only of complying with recommendation 2, Senator Beyak’s office budget continue to operate as if she were not suspended and, despite any contrary provision of the Senate Administrative Rules or the Senators’ Office Management Policy, may be used to pay for or reimburse the following expenses of Senator Beyak:
- travel to and from the educational program if the travel is to or from Ottawa or Senator Beyak’s place of residence;
- tuition, enrollment, and associated costs – including course development costs and professional fees of the educational program provider – for the educational program; and
- accommodation expenses within the established limits of the Senators’ Office Management Policy for the purpose of attending the educational program;
- For greater certainty, no payment is to be made if insufficient funds are in Senator Beyak’s office budget, and Senator Beyak is personally responsible for any excess expenses; and
- be empowered to take any action as it considers appropriate pertaining to the management of the office and personnel of Senator Beyak during the duration of her suspension; andThat the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration:
- seek to ensure that no member of Senator Beyak’s staff is unduly prejudiced as a result of the senator’s suspension.
- That the Senate Ethics Officer identify and approve – with the assistance of outside expertise as required – an educational program provider with demonstrated experience in race relations, particularly in Indigenous matters, to
- develop and deliver an educational program that is approved by the Senate Ethics Officer and designed specifically for Senator Beyak related to racism, with a focus on racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada and the particular responsibility of legislators in this regard, as well as how this relates to her past actions, and;
- provide a written and objective evaluation of Senator Beyak’s performance and attendance in the educational program to the Senate Ethics Officer within 10 calendar days of the program’s completion, including an assessment of whether Senator Beyak:
- successfully completed the course;
- learned and was willing to learn; and
- understands every senator’s responsibilities in relation to racism, how this aligns with her past conduct, the need to refrain from acting in a way that could reflect adversely on the position of senator or on the institution of the Senate in respect of racism, and the need to uphold the highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator;
- That the Senate Ethics Officer provide Senator Beyak the evaluation received from the educational program provider as promptly as circumstances permit and afford her 10 calendar days to submit any comments or reflections as she considers appropriate;
- That the Senate Ethics Officer provide a report to the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators that includes the evaluation of the educational program provider, any submission provided by Senator Beyak under paragraph (b), and any observations and recommendations as the Senate Ethics Officer considers appropriate no later than:
- 10 calendar days after receiving a submission from Senator Beyak under paragraph (b), if one is received; or
- 15 calendar days after providing Senator Beyak with the report from the educational institution, if no submission is received from her under paragraph (b);
- That the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators:
- be authorized to establish, as promptly as circumstances permit, a time period in which Senator Beyak must complete the educational program identified and approved by the Senate Ethics Officer;
- be authorized to deposit a report with the Clerk, to inform the Senate of the time period, at any time the Senate stands adjourned and the report shall be deemed to have been tabled in the Senate; and
- communicate the time period established under subparagraph (d)(i) to Senator Beyak as promptly as circumstances permit; and
- That the Senate Ethics Officer inform the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators of any difficulties encountered in the implementation of this recommendation and that the committee be authorized to report to the Senate with consequential recommendations as it considers appropriate.
That, within 15 calendar days of completing the educational program described in recommendation 2 of this interim report, Senator Beyak:
- write a letter of apology that includes:
- an apology for the impact of her conduct on Indigenous Canadians as well as the institution and reputation of the Senate;
- Senator Beyak’s reflections on the education received and indicating what she has learned from this experience; and
- Senator Beyak’s understanding of the role and responsibility of a senator with respect to minority rights; and
- provide the apology to the Clerk of the Senate, who will cause the letter to be published in the Journals of the Senate either:
- on the next sitting day after the apology is received, or
- for the last sitting day if received between the adjournment of the Senate and the prorogation or dissolution of parliament.
As ordered by the Senate on December 10th, 2019, the Senate committee will continue to examine and report on any further developments and actions in relation to the committee’s fifth report from the first session of the Forty-second Parliament and report back to the Senate with a final report no later than June 30, 2020.
Over the past several years support for the Ontario Senator who is from Dryden has been under attack from Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Chiefs of Ontario.
Ontario Regional Chief Archibald states, “Lynn Beyak needs to be permanently removed from the #Senate. She brings great disgrace to the Senate & to the full parliamentary system. Allies and First Nations people, please call you local MP & Senators from your province to ask for her removal”.