The back and forth continues.
Senator Lynn Beyak of Dryden recently came out and opposed the recent changes to Indigenous Affairs and Northern Affairs. In last month's cabinet shuffle, the ministry was split into two parts. One is Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and the other being the Department of Indigenous Services.
Beyak says that splitting Indigenous Affairs into two ministries will only add to the red tape. In Beyak's open letter, the senator encouraged Indigenous people to trade in their status cards. Instead, Beyak says that she would like us all to talk and find a way to live together.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, has a different take on the matter. In Bennett's open letter, the minister called Beyak's comments “uninformed” and “simply offensive.”
The open letter:
I am deeply disappointed that Senator Lynn Beyak continues to provide these uninformed and simply offensive comments for issues which she clearly doesn't understand. What is also worrying is that she still won't admit she has a lot to learn. Once again we suggest she sit down and listen to some of the survivors of residential schools. They have a great deal to teach her.
Indigenous peoples have walked these lands since time immemorial and, therefore, carry inherent rights. Our government is committed to recognizing these rights.
That means reconciliation must go far beyond simply paying restitution for past wrongs. It must involve a new way of doing things based on a commitment to move beyond the Indian Act to proper self-determination.
We have taken the first, historic step in dissolving the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. We are moving forward. We're replacing the paternalistic, top-down approaches that have failed in the past with a renewed relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples based upon the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
For more information:
Beyak opposes split