REALity July 2019
Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak was suspended from the Senate for approximately three months, without pay, because she posted five controversial letters, received from the public, on her website, relating to indigenous matters. This suspension of Senator Beyak indicates that the walls are closing in on freedom of speech in Canada.
That is, Canadians are no longer able to freely speak on such topics as abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, indigenous affairs, feminism, immigration or climate change. Should Canadians deviate from the politically correct narrative of these issues, they are silenced and labeled as anti-women, homophobic, transphobic, hateful, racist, deniers, and are then, in some cases, subject to punishment by the state.
There is a vital difference between legitimate dissent, by speaking out according to one’s beliefs, and the incitement of hatred. This fine line appears to have been crossed in Canada by the labelling of some politically incorrect comments as “hatred”.
The suspension of Senator Beyak was based on complaints made by four senators, who are all so-called “independent” senators. They were all appointed to the Senate by Justin Trudeau on the same day, March 18, 2016. It appears that their complaints were not spontaneous, but were well co-ordinated: the complaints were all made in a matter of a few weeks in January, 2019. These senators may be called “independent”, but they are operating under identical marching orders. The complaints against Senator Beyak were made by Senators Frances Lankin, Andre Pratte, Raymonde Gagne and Ratna Omidvar.
Significantly, the first aboriginal person appointed in 2005, to the Senate, Lillian Dyck, by then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin – she is the current Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples – does not support the expulsion of Senator Beyak from the Senate. Senator Dyck only believes that Senator Beyak should feel some sort of remorse, and apologize for posting the controversial letters, but should not be suspended.
The Senate’s Ethics Officer, who investigated these orchestrated complaints, concluded that the controversial letters posted by Senator Beyak on her website were “racist”. However, he has included, in Appendix A of his report, these same controversial letters, in their entirety, on his website. Should he not also apologize and express remorse for doing so? Can one conclude from all this that the letters were not the real issue?
Perhaps the real issue is that Senator Beyak raised serious questions about Canada’s indigenous policies, for which there is abundant evidence that they are not helpful to indigenous communities.
Moreover, it is part of the legal responsibility of senators to raise issues brought to their attention by the Canadian public. For this, Senator Beyak was inexplicably expelled from the Senate.
The shutting down of debate on controversial issues, such as indigenous matters, does not solve problems. Free speech, which should include input from the public, is necessary in a democracy in order to formulate successful policies.
REAL Women has sent a letter to every senator objecting to the unreasonable suspension of Senator Beyak. Please also write to the senators, objecting to the expulsion of Senator Beyak, who has been denied her freedom of speech, a legal right, set out in Section 2 of the Charter. The senators’ names and addresses can be obtained here.
If you do not have access to a computer, please let us know and we will forward to you the names and addresses of the senators. No postage is required on your letters to them.