For immediate release
Independent senators express frustration at delayed vote on Beyak matter
OTTAWA, February 26, 2020 – Members of the Independent Senators Group are expressing frustration at procedural gamesmanship that is preventing the Upper Chamber from voting on the matter of previously-suspended Senator Lynn Beyak.
“Senator Beyak has unequivocally accepted the recommendations of the report by the Senate’s Ethics and Conflict of Interest Committee, so there should be no further delay in voting on it” said Senator Yuen Pau Woo, facilitator of the Independent Senators Group. “Senator Beyak has not asked for an extension of time before a vote takes place. On the contrary, her speech in the Chamber on Tuesday indicates that she is keen to get started on sensitivity training as soon as possible.”
The Senate is currently considering the re-imposition of a suspension on Senator Beyak for not fulfilling all the conditions laid out in the Ethics Committee report. It is normal practice in professional bodies for a suspension to take effect during a period of remedial training, even after an apology has been offered.
“By adopting the Ethics Committee’s report, the Senate would be following best practices in disciplinary and remedial action,” added Woo. “There is no reason for a delay in voting on the report. It is incumbent on those who want a delay to explain why it is necessary.”
Once the report is adopted, the Senate Ethics Officer will be in a position to design a training program that is fair and appropriate to the circumstances and which can satisfy the requirements of the Ethics Committee report.
Woo added that attempts to delay a vote, through procedural stunts such as adjourning the Senate, prevent the Upper Chamber from dealing with important work that is before them. Independent senators have recently proposed changes to the rules of the Senate to minimize these types of distractions and delays.
For more information, please contact:
Independent Senators Group Secretariat
Established in 2016, The Independent Senators Group (ISG) is committed to a non-partisan Senate and the modernization of the Upper House of Canada’s Parliament. With 50 members, the ISG is the largest parliamentary group in the Senate.
Composed of independents not affiliated with any political caucus, ISG Senators work cooperatively but act independently.
The ISG’s Facilitator is Senator Yuen Pau Woo (BC) and the Deputy Facilitator is Raymonde Saint-Germain (QC), each elected by members on a two-year term.