In my defence, although I arrive back for a second week in a row at the subject of Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak, I do so, essentially, at her behest. Last week, I wrote about Senator (You maniacs! You appointed her! Ah damn you!) Beyak, who had just spent some of the Senate's time bemoaning the fact that, as she told it, all the good deeds, inspired by noble intentions, that had been carried out in Canada's residential-school system had been "overshadowed" by all the pesky accounts of hunger, loneliness, rampant physical and sexual abuse and deaths documented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation report.
I'm not at all sure Senator (as in, having had the honour of being appointed to the Senate) Beyak grasps the point of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The idea is that, through confronting our past honestly, we can begin to move forward. This particular commission and the subsequent report were partly funded with a portion of the payout from the out-of-court settlement reached between, on the one hand, the federal government and four national churches named in the case, and on the other, the former students of residential schools who had brought the largest class action in Canadian history forward.
The victims of the school wanted to make sure that, despite the settlement, their stories were heard. Telling those stories can't have been at all easy for them, and there can be no take-backsies on a truth-and-reconciliation report if there's any hope of its leading to better things.
Yet, what we saw last week was a woman who claims her purpose in life, or at least in the Senate, is to save people money, essentially trying to run a $60-million report through some kind or lollipop-and-moonbeam-powered paper shredder.
Yes, of course there were individual acts of kindness and even some happy outcomes in the many years that residential schools operated, but those rare and exceptional stories don't erase the vast suffering caused by what was basically a mass internment.
Those not-tragic stories should be overshadowed by the overall intention of the schools and the assumptions of cultural superiority that led to the plan of taking these children from their families and forbidding them to speak their own languages in the first place.
I don't usually revisit a topic two weeks in a row, but in several senses Senator (not like the hockey-team kind of Senator, mind you, but as in up-in-your-government-forming-your-laws Senator) Beyak has compelled me to to it.
First of all, a brief note to those who e-mailed me last week to say some version of "The Indians need to accept it, we won!"
No, we didn't, actually. We entered into treaties, as nations do, and it's not like we ever said, "Nice working with you on NAFTA, Americans! We'll be over later to pick up your kids!"
Second, no, I don't want to see the Senate abolished. Sorry, anti-Senate e-mailers – and you are legion – I truly believe that there are a lot of good people in the Senate and that good things come from their work; and besides, abolishing the Senate would be a constitutional nightmare and we might not recognize ourselves when we wake up from it.
However, none of these things is what returns me to the subject of Senator (one second while I pour myself a wee Scotch) Beyak. I'm back here because last week, in researching that column, I read the full transcript of the Senate's second reading of Bill C-16, which would extend hate-crime and anti-discrimination protections to transgender Canadians.
A number of similar bills attempting to protect transgender Canadians at the federal level (most provinces have already passed some kind of protective legislation) have already died, two of them in the Senate. And Senator (swirls and sips) Beyak certainly seems to have the knives out for this one.
Or at least a knife.
Senator (how much Scotch is it safe to consume in writing one column?) Beyak seems to believe she has a secret weapon in this fight.
"A young gay man named John McKellar founded and was president of a group called HOPE: Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism," she explained in the Senate, to other senators who had just made a very strong fact-based and compassionate case for supporting C-16. "I won't go into all of his doctrine today, but I would urge each of you to go to google and read about his life and his work. It's quite incredible."
And so that is what I did. Ever obedient, I googled this fellow. I googled and I googled. I am a good googler. It's one of my skills, and I'm here to report back.
First off, I will tell you that, should you decide to follow me down this google road, do not start with the Wikipedia page for John McKellar. My keen investigative talents tell me that the "John McKellar" to whom Senator (swigs) Beyak refers is not the same McKellar who served as mayor of Fort William, Ont., from 1892 to 1898.
Two pages into a "John McKellar" Google odyssey, one will come upon a post called "Homofascists Silenced Gay Dissident John McKellar" at henrymakow.com. The front page of this website boldly proclaims that "Hitler was an Illuminati agent mandated to lead Germany into a catastrophic war where German nationalism would be blunted once and for all."
Let us hope this is not the source of Senator (glugs) Beyak's information on Mr. McKellar, or anything else, but she did say to google, not to surf the microfiche at your local library.
As a side note: I am curious to learn the answer to a question on Henry Makow's Twitter account – the bio of which reads "Exposing Feminism and The New World Order" – this week regarding whether "Justine" (that would be a joke about our Prime Minister being so terrible as to be a woman) was "making the occult 'Bent Elbow' sign at Broadway Play, Come From Away."
I'm glad we have people like the Senator to give questions like these some sober second thought.
To be fair, a search of "John McKellar HOPE" brings up as its first result the much more reputable-looking ROAD to EMMAUS==>> (the "==>>" is apparently very important, as they employ it often) which doesn't seem to have an official stance on the possible Illuminati connections of Hitler, but does inform the reader that "the UN, run (largely) by thugs, is trying to rebuild the Tower of Babel – & will get it."
A letter from Mr. McKellar on henrymakow.com bemoans the fact that post-Stonewall gay men (and he claims that there is no evidence that homosexuality is anything but a choice) "descended into a bacchanalia of narcissism and promiscuity" that culminated in a "gay cancer" – AIDS.
The website's introduction to this letter asserts that while Mr. McKellar maintains that homosexuality can be cured, he himself still "struggles."
This same letter reprinted over and over again on various fringe sites appears to be pretty much the extent of Mr. McKellar's online footprint, and anywhere it appears, one is but two clicks away from a lecture about how "Only in Russia did the aristocracy have the interests of the people at heart – that's why the Jewish bankers had to destroy the Romanovs" or how the Holocaust never happened or what-not.
Now, not every relevant result will win you a game of Six Degrees of Holocaust Denial. Some, like catholiceducation.org, are mercifully free of opinions on "The Feckless Gentile Leadership" or the United Nations' secret plan to rebrand itself as the UN One World Government and Ziggurat Construction Company; they simply want to educate you on "Freemasons and Their Craft."
All in all, it's a highly questionable Google recommendation, and even more questionable citation on so many levels, Senator, but I did google it.
I'm not sure why, exactly, Senator (==>>) Beyak was railing about homosexuality in regard to a law to defend Canada's vulnerable transgender minority in the first place. Being trans and being gay are two distinct states of being. They may overlap; some trans people are also gay but most are not. Certainly being transgender is not, as some people seem to think, some kind of next-level gay. You don't work your way up to trans if you're just that gay. It's not like if you collect a certain number of Fabulous Miles you get a free upgrade to Trans Class.
Transgender Canadians are just Canadians whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth, but who would still like to live their lives in peace and safety, and sometimes face a very uphill battle doing that. And so – it should go without saying, without any more debating – they deserve the protections we extend to other vulnerable minorities.
May I suggest, Senator Beyak, you google it.