Retired senator ‘stunned’ by reports about Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s heritage
Retired senator Lillian Dyck says she was “stunned” to hear questions about the Indigenous heritage of former judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, whose career she had recognized as barrier-breaking.
Dyck, who is Cree and Chinese Canadian, says she celebrated as Turpel-Lafond became Saskatchewan’s first Indigenous female judge in 1998.
The professor emeritus in psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan says it was “wonderful” to know Turpel-Lafond had overcome the numerous challenges Indigenous women disproportionately face in their personal lives and careers.
But she says a CBC investigation has convinced her that Turpel-Lafond lied about being Indigenous, causing harm because it exploits the identity of vulnerable and underserved people in Canada and deprives Indigenous women of opportunities.
Dyck is among the signatories of a statement released this week calling on 10 universities to revoke the honorary degrees conferred on Turpel-Lafond.
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