Senator Calls for Indigenous People to Trade Status Cards for Canadian Citizenship
In an open letter, Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak is calling for Indigenous Canadians to trade in their status cards for Canadian citizenship.
The letter, posted to her website on Sept. 1, also once again states her opinion that Canada’s residential school system was not all bad – a position that Indigenous groups and other politicians severely criticized when she expressed it in a speech in the Senate in March.
In that speech, she said that she was speaking for the “well-intentioned men and women and their descendants” whose “remarkable works, good deeds and historical tales in the residential schools go unacknowledged” and get overshadowed by negative reports.
These remarks ultimately cost her her seat on the Senate’s committee on aboriginal peoples, but judging by the letter, she has not changed her position.
“A small number of aboriginals found the schools bad and a slightly smaller number found them good. Only 1 in 3 Indigenous children ever attended them. Very few were torn from their parents’ arms, but rather were enrolled by loving parents who were away trapping and trading for months on end, and who wanted to prepare their children for the future,” she wrote.
Beyak goes on to write that the Indian Act is unnecessary. “We have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms for all Canadians.”
“None of us are leaving, so let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share,” she wrote. “Trade your status card for a Canadian citizenship, with a fair and negotiated payout to each Indigenous man, woman and child in Canada, to settle all the outstanding land claims and treaties, and move forward together just like the leaders already do in Ottawa. All Canadians are then free to preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime.”