06/15/2018 14:44 EDT | Updated 06/15/2018 15:15 EDT

Lynn Beyak Lauds 'Refreshing' Survey Showing Canadians Divided On Indigenous Issues

She was ousted from the Conservative caucus in January.

Sen. Lynn Beyak is shown at committee.

OTTAWA — Sen. Lynn Beyak is applauding an online survey that suggests a majority of Canadians believes the government apologizes too much for residential schools and that Indigenous people should integrate more even if it means losing their culture.

The controversial senator was ousted from the Conservative caucus in January after she posted letters on her website supporting her defence of residential schools — but that hasn't silenced her on the subject.

She has issued a press release today welcoming the results of an online survey from the Angus Reid Institute.

Fifty-three per cent of respondents said Canada spends too much time apologizing for residential schools.

And more than half said Indigenous people should have no special status and would be better off integrating into Canadian society, even at the cost of losing their traditions and culture.

Beyak says it's "refreshing" to read what she calls an "unbiased article and poll" that "reflects what Canadians believe."

Her full statement:

The Angus Reid Institute recently conducted a public opinion survey on issues facing First Nations and the rest of Canada. The findings of the nationwide survey point to a large gap between the current government's policies and what Canadians actually think.

This survey suggests Canadians and the current government are on completely different pages when it comes to the future of Indigenous peoples. When asked about the survey in an interview with Maclean's Magazine, pollster Angus Reid said: "It tells me the perspective of Justin Trudeau and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett on some of these issues is certainly not shared by a lot of Canadians".

Fifty three per cent of those surveyed said the country spends far too much time apologizing for residential schools. More than half of the respondents said Indigenous people should have no special status and they would be better off to integrate more into Canadian society, even at the cost of losing more of their traditions and culture.

The survey also showed that respondents feel that tax dollars meant to help First Nations people are generally failing to do so. Two out of three said government funds going toward Indigenous issues are mostly ineffective. As I said in my open letter of September 1, 2017 - Governments have spent billions of taxpayer dollars over decades and the dollars are obviously not getting to the people.

Lastly, the survey also shows that two thirds of Canadians feel First Nation communities should be governed by the same rules and systems as are all Canadians. Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau said "whose mountains, whose rivers, whose valleys?" He wanted us to enjoy them together as Canadians, with the freedom that the ability to make our own decisions and use our own money provides. Private property, home ownership, the choice of where to live and how to practice and enjoy our unique cultures are cherished values we all share.

It's refreshing to read an unbiased article and poll that truly reflects what Canadians believe will help our whole country move forward and prosper. The vast majority of Canadians are kind and compassionate and want a genuine solution to this situation that has existed for far too long.

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