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Senator Beyak is the Liberals’ bogeyman - Lorrie Goldstein

 

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/09/27/senator-beyak-is-the-liberals-bogeyman

A question for Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

Not to be confused with Justin Trudeau’s newly-minted Minister of Indigenous Services, Responsible for Providing Services for Non-Self-Governing Communities, Jane Philpott.

Suppose Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer heeds Bennett’s call and kicks Sen. Lynn Beyak out of the Tory caucus, instead of booting her 90% of the way out, as he has?

This for Beyak’s heretical beliefs that residential schools did a great deal of good, as well as harm, and that Indigenous people should: “Trade your status card for a Canadian citizenship, with a fair and negotiated payout to each Indigenous man, woman and child ... to settle all the outstanding land claims and treaties, and move forward together ...”

Beyak’s view of residential schools may be unpopular. It may be wrong. But when, exactly, did we start political prosecutions in Canada for thought crime?

As for Beyak proposing a new way forward, not only do many Canadians agree with her, including me, two Liberal prime ministers expressed similar views in their day and tried to act on them.

The first was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the second, Jean Chretien, when he was Trudeau’s Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.

But let’s ignore history and suppose Scheer excommunicates Beyak.

Does that mean, Minister Bennett, that your government will then be able to deliver clean water to reserves across Canada, and improve the appalling living conditions of Indigenous people on and off reserves?

Because under Liberal and Conservative governments, that hasn’t happened, despite billions of tax dollars spent for that purpose every year.

As Auditor General Michael Ferguson observed in his November, 2016 annual report: “I can only describe the situation as it exists now as beyond unacceptable.

“This is now more than a decade’s worth of audits showing that programs have failed to effectively serve Canada’s indigenous peoples. Until a problem-solving mindset is brought to these issues to develop solutions built around people instead of defaulting to litigation, arguments about money, and process roadblocks, this country will continue to squander the potential and lives of much of its indigenous population.”

Clearly, along with a lack of political leadership, the government bureaucracy in charge of spending money to improve the lives of Indigenous people is incompetent, regardless of who’s in power.

How will splitting it into two solve anything?

Especially when the first words out of the Trudeau government’s mouth when it announced this split were, “nobody’s losing their job”.

Beg pardon? If the auditor general is to be believed, the government bureaucracy for dealing with Indigenous affairs is part of the problem.

So how will reshuffling the same people like deck chairs on the Titanic fix anything?

Not only have the Liberals gutted Stephen Harper’s sensible legislation requiring financial accountability from Indigenous leaders, they’ve repeated the mistake of not demanding the same from government bureaucrats.

Calling for Sen. Beyak’s head is just the old Liberal trick of creating a bogeyman to divert attention from the real issue.

Like the Liberals’ Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, already a train wreck, which was preceded by at least 29 other inquiries and reports on this issue since 1996, which made over 500 recommendations, to no avail.

What do Sen. Beyak’s views have to do with that?