‘Trade your status card for a Canadian citizenship,’ Sen. Beyak says to First Nations
OTTAWA — Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak says she wants First Nations people to trade in their status cards for Canadian citizenship.
The senator, who came under fire earlier this year for her remarks about Indigenous people, made the comments in an open letter on her Senate website on Sept. 1.
“None of us are leaving, so let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share. 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,” she wrote.
Indigenous people who were born in Canada are Canadian citizens.
The Ontario senator then goes on to say that all Canadians are free to “preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime.”
Beyak was booted from the Senate Committee on Aboriginal People last spring after saying there were positives that came from residential schools.
In the letter, Beyak also doubles down on her comments about residential schools, and wades into the debate on whether to rename buildings and landmarks named after Canadians associated with residential schools.
“Our ancestors, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, did the best they could with the tools they had. It was a different era with unique challenges. Like us, they were imperfect human beings, working together for the betterment of all. Who are we to judge on today’s standards? Sir John A. Macdonald’s role in the founding of Canada is significant,” she wrote.
The letter was posted in response to the federal government’s decision to split Indigenous Affairs into two new departments.
The senator said Wednesday that her letter stands for itself and she will not comment further.
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