Chilliwack School Board trustee Barry Neufeld’s most recent inflammatory comments targeting Black Press journalists have now drawn condemnation from Chilliwack-Kent MLA-elect Kelli Paddon and B.C.’s education minister Rob Fleming.
Neufeld’s now-deleted Facebook comment attacked three named staff at the Chilliwack Progress, containing an offensive ableist slur and factual inaccuracies. Neufeld later changed the post, referring to “three radical lefties,” before deleting the post altogether.
“These insulting and harmful remarks have no place in our politics,” said Paddon in a statement released on Friday afternoon.
“All parties should denounce Barry Neufeld’s extreme and offensive beliefs. I hope the BC Liberals will be clear with British Columbians about whether they accepted his membership application. They should show that Barry Neufeld and his beliefs have no place in their party.”
Fleming echoed Paddon’s sentiments, slamming Neufeld and the B.C. Liberals.
I am once again appalled by the comments of Mr. Neufeld on social media and I am renewing my public calls for him to resign as a school trustee.
It’s reprehensible that his offensive behaviour continues.
— Rob Fleming (@Rob_Fleming) November 20, 2020
“In addition to targeting the LGBTQ community and peddling conspiracy theories about [Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam] and COVID-19, he is now targeting ableist slurs at individuals,” Fleming said in a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon.
“It’s time for him to step down.”
Fleming applauded SD33’s decision to remove Neufeld from all committees and blocking him from interacting with any of the schools, adding he is exploring options that the provincial government has available to address the latest debacle.
“Under the School Act, Cabinet has the power to remove an entire board but not an individual trustee,” Fleming said. “I’m also calling on the B.C. Liberals to denounce Barry Neufeld and his harmful comments to people with disabilities.”
A Change.org petition has been making its rounds online, calling for Neufeld’s resignation or removal. Nearly 24 hours after the petition’s creation, it had gathered more than 1,600 signatures.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.