Censured Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has published another political diatribe, this time in the form of an e-newsletter sent to supporters.
The 2,000-word missive includes a letter he sent to Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, asking him to support MP Derek Sloan in the federal Conservative leadership race this summer. The other three candidates are Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Leslyn Lewis.
Neufeld explains why he wants to see Strahl support Sloan, in detail.
Sloan is “unequivocally against abortion,” Neufeld says, as his top reason for supporting him. He is also opposed to Bill C-7, “which promotes euthanasia,” and is “opposed to the Communist Chinese-controlled World Health Organization.”
“The events of the past few weeks and the embarrassingly pathetic response of left-wing governments has made this an ideal time for the resurgence of social conservatism,” Neufeld writes in his appeal to Strahl. “I pray that you vote with your heart, instead of your political ambitions.”
Strahl’s office replied to The Progress to confirm he received the letter from Neufeld.
“Mr. Strahl has informed Mr. Neufeld, and many other constituents, that as a member of the current Conservative caucus leadership team (Chief Opposition Whip) he is required to remain officially neutral during the leadership race,” his constituency office replied. “He is looking forward to the announcement of the new leader and working with the new leader soon.”
But most of the letter focuses on LGBTQ issues, including several topics that have gotten Neufeld into hot water in the past.
“I believe that trying to alter ones’ body to conform to an imagined self-image is no more than idolatry of the self: worship of the created rather than the creator,” he writes. “I had spent 18 years on the Board of Education, trying to implement educational policies that were compatible with people of faith, or at least congruent with the majority of the Chilliwack community.”
Neufeld’s newsletter takes broad swipes at some of the issues he’s already spoken about publicly and which led to his censure on the Chilliwack Board of Trustees. He disparages fellow trustee, Willow Reichelt, calls COVID-19 the ‘Chinese Communist Virus,’ and gives a brief update to the three court cases he is dealing with.
He calls Reichelt “a very radical activist” who organized a “foul mouthed and noisy protest of about 300 protesters” that took place outside the school district office on Jan. 16, 2018.
Neufeld writes that most of the people in the protest were “bussed (sic) in from out of town” and then “broke into the building.”
There were no buses delivering people to that protest, Reichelt confirms, and the meeting and building was open to the public. She says she was one of the coordinators of that and other protests around town. This was prior to her being elected as a trustee.
Neufeld also claims people “began to gather behind me at the board table,” and that 911 was called but didn’t respond. There was security on site that evening, and one woman quietly entered the public meeting with a large placard and slowly circled the board table before being asked to leave.
“He’s referred to the protests as violent,” Reichelt says. “They were large and they were noisy, but they were peaceful.”
Even the board chair of the day, Paul McManus, refused to pause the meeting while the crowd rallied and chanted outside and made it difficult to hear what was being said at the table.
“One of the things that made it so loud was all the honking,” Reichelt says. “That was people who live in Chilliwack driving by and honking their support.”
Neufeld has been in a pattern of speaking out and then apologizing for his behaviour since 2017 when he first spoke against SOGI 123. He is currently censured, and not able to be on committees, or serve as a school liaison, and he cannot attend events where students are going to be present.
He most recently apologized for some of his comments, on June 15, and said he was willing to engage in conversation with education partners.
But the newsletter makes it clear he is not willing to compromise, at least with one group who has brought Neufeld and the rest of the board to the Human Rights Tribunal.
“I have refused any attempts at compromise and I refuse to submit to their ‘degrading Marxist puppy training’,” he writes, regarding the complaint by CUPE. He says they want to have him pay a fine and go through training for making the district an “unsafe work environment.”
There is also a tribunal case solely against Neufeld by the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association, which has not been dealt with yet. Finally, he says he has filed an appeal to the anti-SLAPP decision levied against him earlier this year.
At the end of the newsletter, he appeals to supporters to donate to his “war fund,” and to join the B.C. Liberals in support of Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness.
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