“I welcome the news that Senator Lynn Beyak has decided to leave office. It’s about time.
“I have called for the Senator’s removal or resignation several times in recent years due to her hurtful comments, residential school denialism, and use of a Senate website to platform racism. Those actions earned her rebuke from the Senate itself and set back the work of anti-racism and reconciliation initiatives across our region.
“Working in the justice sector, I have an abiding faith in the ability of people to learn from one another and to restore their relationships with the communities they have harmed. But what the Senator’s statement today tells us is that her official apologies were insincere, unmasking her contempt for Canadians.
“Let’s be clear: free from the ethical sanctions of high office, the Senator has doubled down on her misconduct. Her continued erasure of the harms of colonization and disregard for those who continue to live with the impacts of that history demonstrates why she was always unsuited for office.
“As communities in our region grapple with their own local history of colonization, what the Senator’s words today tell us is that opposition to change and acknowledging these past wrongs is deeply entrenched, unyielding, and rooted in ignorance.
“Whether it is opposition to renaming Colonization Road or engaging with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, leaders in our communities need to recognize that opposition for what it is: racism.
“It is my hope that Senator Beyak’s successor will be someone who can make the necessary efforts to heal the wounds she deepened and champion real priorities for Northwestern Ontario on the federal stage.”
Douglas W. Judson