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Lynn Beyak given additional Senate duties - John Paul Tasker CBC


By John Paul Tasker, CBC News

Posted: Sep 20, 2017 3:52 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 20, 2017 3:52 PM ET

 A week after the Senate Conservative leader said Sen. Lynn Beyak would

 face consequences for her controversial comments about First Nations

 people, the northwestern Ontario senator has been given a new role on

 a Senate committee.


 According to the Senate, Beyak became a member on the energy,

 environment and natural resources committee on Tuesday evening, a week

 after her latest remarks surfaced.


 The move comes after Sen. Larry Smith said last week he would take

 "additional steps to address Sen. Beyak's ongoing role within our caucus."

 Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also said Beyak does not speak

 for his caucus, and she has "no role" in its affairs.


 A spokesperson for Smith said Beyak will serve on the committee as a

 substitute in the absence of another Conservative member, Nova Scotia Sen.

 Michael MacDonald, who has taken an indefinite leave.


 Beyak's latest appointment suggests her position in the party is secure.

 Beyak is still a member of the Senate's defence, transport and

 agriculture committees, in addition to her new, temporary, senatorial duty.


 Beyak recently said, in an open letter on her website, that First

 Nations should trade in their status


 izens- 1.4284671 and become Canadian citizens, while calling on them

 to promote their culture "on their own dime, on their own time."


 The northwestern Ontario senator has also questioned the findings of

 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which studied the residential

 school system, and defended "well-intentioned" teachers at the

 institutions. She has said she wants compensation for survivors,

 something the former Harper government instituted in 2007.

 On Tuesday, Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett called

 for Scheer to remove Beyak from his caucus. Big city mayors,

 Indigenous leaders, senators, and other federal cabinet ministers

 (Melanie Joly and Patty Hajdu), have also called on Beyak to either

 resign from the Red Chamber or be removed from committee




 Former interim Conservative leader Roan Ambrose previously booted

 Beyak from Aboriginal Peoples committee, where she served for some

 three years studying Indigenous issues.


 "The senator's ongoing, offensive comments regarding Indigenous people

 are ill-informed, hurtful, and simply wrong," Bennett said. "These

 disturbing views expressed by a sitting parliamentarian undermine

 progress toward reconciliation."


 Despite calls for her resignation, some of her Conservative caucus

 colleagues were rallying around Beyak Wednesday.


 Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenue said Beyak should not be kicked out of

 caucus for "giving an opinion" and she "did not commit a crime."

 Saskatchewan Conservative MP Brad Trost said Beyak is a "nice lady,"

 but conceded he hasn't been closely following the controversy.


 "Her heart's usually in the right place, so I give benefit of the

 doubt," he said.


 Ontario Conservative MP Tony Clement said he didn't want to talk about

 Beyak, but rather focus on the Liberal government's changes to the

 small business tax regime.