Racist Resigns From Senate, Gets To Keep Pension
How you feeling? Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) here, coming down with a bit of a cold. But have I got news for you: Senator Lynne Beyak finally resigns, but doubles down on her anti-Indigenous bigotry; Canadian parliament unanimously declares the Proud Boys a terrorist organization; Alberta’s water is being contaminated with coal; new polling data has been released on online hate.
Racist Harper-Appointed Senator Finally Resigns
Senator Lynn Beyak, who infamously said we need to recognize the “good, as well as the bad” of residential schools, has resigned from the Red Chamber. But those expecting any admission of wrongdoing, or expression of contrition, will be sorely disappointed.
Senators just so happened to be considering a motion to have Beyak, who was appointed to the Senate by then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2013, expelled permanently. Resigning allows the disgraced senator to hold onto her pension, which could have been curtailed had she been expelled.
Beyak was twice suspended from the Senate in recent years, both times for platforming anti-Indigenous views. In 2019, she was suspended from the Senate and booted from the Conservative Party for refusing to remove anti-Indigenous letters she posted to her website. She was then sent to anti-racism training.
That did not go so well.
Per the Canadian Press: The Senate administration removed the letters from Beyak’s website after she refused to do so herself. The ethics committee deemed her apology to be perfunctory and her cultural sensitivity training a fiasco. The training was provided by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, which cut it short after concluding Beyak had no interest in confronting her ill-informed opinions about Indigenous Peoples.
This included saying that her Indigenous trainer looked “white privileged” and repeatedly claiming Indigenous ancestry, since her family had adopted a First Nations child.
Unsurprisingly, Beyak stood by her initial remarks about residential schools in her resignation letter and — you guessed it — portrayed herself as a martyr for “free expression.”
It should go without saying that residential schools were a genocidal institution, in which children were kidnapped from their families and subject to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, the effects of which are still felt today.
But Beyak’s views aren’t that far from those of Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who was caught in December saying that residential schools were intended to “provide education” to Indigenous children, but somehow got out of hand when the Liberals were in power.
- MPs have unanimously voted in favour of a non-binding motion put forward by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to officially declare the self-proclaimed “western chauvinist” Proud Boys a terrorist entity.
- Proud Boys was founded by Canadian Gavin McInnes, who was also a co-founder of Vice Media. He distanced himself from Proud Boys in 2018 after seven members were charged with assault, a move which he said “could help alleviate their sentencing.”
- Proud Boys, whose members participated in the deadly January 6 Capitol riot, aren’t officially a terrorist entity yet. The motion calls on the federal government to declare them as such, which given the motion’s unanimity is almost certain to occur.
- The Canadian Press has obtained previously-unreported data that shows selenium pollution in bodies of water downstream from three coal mining projects in Alberta.
- The data has come to light thanks to whistleblower Bill Donahue — Alberta Environment’s former executive director of science — who compared upstream and downstream water samples from the Luscar Creek, Gregg River and Cheviot mines between 1998 to 2016.
- In large amounts, selenium can cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss and fatigue for people, as well as damaged organs and deformities in fish.
- Context: This comes as the province is engaged in debate over the provincial government’s decision to allow open-pit coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, which is being challenged in court by Indigenous groups, ranchers, environmentalists and small town governments who fear the impact on their water supply.
- DIG DEEPER: Kenney’s Coal Backtrack Changes Little
ICYMI: Vast Majority Of Canadians Want Tougher Action Against Online Hate
A new poll from Abacus Data shows about half of Canadians see online hate speech as a major issue facing the nation.
Eighty per cent of those surveyed support mandating social media companies to remove hateful and abusive content within 24 hours of it being identified or face sanctions, while 79 per cent support forcing the companies to remove the accounts who posted the harmful material.
While nearly 20 per cent of all respondents reported being on the receiving end of online hate and abuse, the figure doubles to 40 per cent for those between the ages of 18 and 29.
The data also shows 69 per cent of Canadians say we should prioritize combating hatred over concerns about free expression and privacy, but this is a false binary.
From the Canada Anti-Hate Network (CAHN): “Online hate and racism are barriers to many Canadians entering journalism, politics, or expressing themselves. Instead of prioritizing the free expression of racists and online trolls, we can prioritize voices that have been marginalized and attacked – voices that may actually add something to our society.”
CAHN also expressed concern about the majority of respondents wanting to provide police with more resources to combat online hate speech, which research has found cops aren’t particularly interested in doing. “This is a police culture issue, not a funding issue,” the organization wrote.
That’s a wrap on your January 26 Passage Daily. I’ll be back tomorrow with more news from an unabashedly progressive perspective.
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