Barry Neufeld will be back on the ballot when voters head to the polls this fall.
The controversial member of the Chilliwack School Board is the first of the seven trustees to declare, with the 2022 municipal election a little less than six months away (Oct. 15).
In a newsletter penned April 18 for the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Neufeld said his opposition to SOGI remains his main motivation for running.
“I care so much about children who are uncomfortable in their bodies, and I want them to grow up as well-adjusted, contented adults,” he wrote. “I don’t hate them; I want to protect them. And I care enough about them that I don’t want them to permanently damage their bodies and destroy forever their ability to experience the joy of bringing new life into the world. There is no evidence transitioning brings anyone lasting peace.”
SOGI stands for sexual orientation and gender identity, and according to the provincial government’s SOGI webpage, the government believes “it’s important for schools to be inclusive and safe spaces for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
Neufeld’s opposition to SOGI policy/curriculum dates back years and has brought him into conflict with fellow trustees, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Ministry of Education.
In his newsletter he wrote that he has “stood – almost alone – against the new gender ideology, pushed by the gender radicals, our government, medical professionals, our schools and by pharmaceutical companies who are making exorbitant profits as they cultivate customers for a lifetime of hormone therapy.”
Neufeld said he was feeling discouraged because little has changed, “because I am fighting not only the most powerful union in North America, but also Ministers of Education, the Prime Minister of Canada and even the President of the United States!”
But he made up his mind when school board colleagues Darrell Furgason and Heather Maahs asked him what he wanted to be remembered for.
“Well, I certainly don’t want to be remembered as a quitter!” he wrote. “So, I hereby announce that I will run again for trustee on the Chilliwack Board of Education this fall and risk facing another four years of abusive ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Equity!’”
The Progress reached out to other trustees to ask if they intended to run again.
Willow Reichelt, David Swankey and Jared Mumford responded with similar answers.
“Right now, I am focusing on doing the important work that needs to be completed, including passing next year’s budget,” said Reichelt, the board’s vice chair. “I do not want to be distracted by thoughts of a campaign, so I will be making my decision about whether or not to run again at the end of the school year.”
“Right now, my attention is on the work of the board that remains this term and I don’t want to distract from that,” Swankey said. “The 2022-2023 draft budget was presented earlier this week. The 2022-23 5 Year Capital Plan will be presented later this spring, and the board’s policy manual review continues. This work is important and warrants my full attention as a trustee.”
Furgason, Maahs and Carin Bondar have not yet responded.