DRYDEN – Dryden City Council voted down a motion to call for the resignation of Senator Lynn Beyak at their regular council meeting this week.
The Senator has been removed from the Senate over her repeated incidents of racism. Earlier this year the Senate moved to expel the Senator once again over her failure to honour the promises she had made to make amends for her actions.
Back on February 29, 2020, NetNewsLedger reported, when the Senate made their decision following an apology by Senator Beyak, “The Senator’s apology was not accepted by her fellow Senators and was not accepted by Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, or by Grand Council Treaty #3 Chief Kavenaugh. On Thursday, in Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins also rejected her apology.
“Additionally, a group of councillors representing communities across Northern Ontario drafted a letter calling on the Senator to resign.”
There was a motion coming forward to the Dryden Council on the issue of Senator Beyak as well at that time. Now in a 5-2 decision, the Dryden Council has stepped back from calling for the Senator’s resignation.
Economic Impact of Decision?
The move, supporting Senator Beyak, by Dryden Council, has the potential to put a heavy economic cost on Dryden and on the community’s business community.
Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler took to Facebook, and stated, “It is becoming clear that the Dryden city council does not take Senator Beyak’s racist conduct seriously. I would encourage event organizers like tournaments to avoid Dryden as a host city in the future because if they condone racism, it’s not a safe place for our children”.
“Why would we keep supporting a town like this?”
The hotel and restaurant sector, as well as the transportation sector in Northwestern Ontario, have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
Heading into the recovery stage, hockey tournaments, like the Little Bands which moved to Dryden from Sioux Lookout a few years ago, bring in a full week of prosperity to the community where they are hosting the event.
In 2019, the Little Bands Hockey Tournament moved to Dryden.
Tournament organizer Ziggy Beardy said at the time, “We also felt Dryden can accommodate our needs and the players and fan’s needs, in terms of accommodations, restaurants, shopping and other necessities. The last few years have seen 50-60 teams with over 1,000 players in 6 divisions play in this tournament”.
“This announcement also offers Dryden businesses and the entire community a great opportunity to be warm and inviting hosts for hundreds of young hockey players and their families,” Beardy added. “Besides the great investment into the local economy, Dryden arena will be fully booked for the week-long tournament using both surfaces and we look forward to seeing the local residents and businesses enjoy the games and develop friendships with the First Nation peoples and neighbours that will be coming into your community”.
Each of the players comes to the tournament with chaperones and family. Many of the families take advantage of the Winter Ice Roads to travel to Dryden and stock up on vital groceries and supplies during their visit.
There has been no official word from Little Bands Hockey Tournament organizers on the 2021 tournament.
Coming off the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is going to be very important for communities across Northwestern Ontario to be in the position to benefit from every economic opportunity possible.