01/08/2018 14:15 EST | Updated 01/08/2018 16:37 EST

Sen. Lynn Beyak Disputes Andrew Scheer’s Story On Why She Was Turfed From Tory Caucus

"A good leader would never have fallen for such a ploy."

The Canadian Press Images
A picture of Sen. Lynn Beyak hangs in a hallway on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 21, 2017.

Days after her removal from the Conservative caucus, Sen. Lynn Beyak has blasted Tory Leader Andrew Scheer as "inexperienced" and disputed his version of events that led to her exile.

Last Thursday, Scheer announced that Beyak was no longer welcome to sit as a Conservative because she had refused his demand to remove a "racist" comment from her Parliamentary website that suggested Indigenous people in Canada are lazy.

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Last year, the Ontario senator posted some 100 letters she received from Canadians between March and October supporting her position that not enough attention had been paid to the "abundance of good" that came from residential schools. Thousands of Indigenous children died in the government-run, church-operated schools where physical and sexual abuse was widespread.

Recent media reports highlighted that some of the letters posted to Beyak's site were not just endorsements of her position but gave voice to racist stereotypes about Indigenous people.

'A good leader would never have fallen for such a ploy'

In a statement Monday, Beyak said it wasn't true that she was asked to take down the letters and that she only learned she was turfed from the Tory caucus through Scheer's statement to the media.

"Contrary to his statement, that he asked me to remove content and I refused, neither I nor my staff ever spoke with Andrew Scheer or anyone from his office, at any time," Beyak said.

Beyak accused Scheer of falling for media "bait" at a time when she said reporters should be focused on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's ethics violations and digging into the ties of former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle, who now faces 15 criminal charges, "to the taxpayer compensated Khadr family."

"A good leader would never have fallen for such a ploy, but when an inexperienced leader wins by a small margin, and does not adequately consider other viewpoints, some wisdom and common sense are lost," she said in the release.

"We deserve better leadership other than the current choices, who are mired in, or hampered by, political correctness."


Beyak suggested that, as an independent senator, she will continue to post the views of Canadians who "recognize that enough is enough" and share her position that money won't fix the problems plaguing Indigenous communities.

"Governments have spent billions of taxpayer dollars over decades and what we have been doing is simply not working," she said.

Beyak's comments about residential schools spurred interim Tory leader Rona Ambrose to remove her from the Senate Aboriginal affairs committee last spring.

She also faced calls to resign from the upper chamber for urging Indigenous people born in Canada to trade their status cards for the Canadian citizenship they already possess.

Scheer: "Racism will not be tolerated'

Scheer said in his statement Thursday that "racism will not be tolerated in the Conservative Caucus or Conservative Party of Canada." He also said he had only learned of the letters of support on Jan. 2.

However, residential school survivor Garnet Angeconeb told HuffPost Canada he flagged the letters to Scheer and Larry Smith, the Conservative leader in the Senate, in September. Angeconeb says he did not receive a response to his emails.

Beyak was appointed to the Senate in 2013 by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

HuffPost has reached out to Scheer's office for his response to Beyak's statement.

With a file from Zi-Ann Lum, The Canadian Press

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