‘Unjust ruling’: Neufeld files appeal against Supreme Court judge decision

‘Unjust ruling’: Neufeld files appeal against Supreme Court judge decision

Chilliwack school trustee believes judge applied new anti-SLAPP law incorrectly

The legal battle between a Chilliwack school trustee and the former president of the B.C. Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) is not yet over.

Trustee Barry Neufeld has filed an appeal to what he characterizes as an “unjust ruling” by the BC Supreme Court. A judge sided with former president of the BCTF, Glen Hansman, in the application of a new bill known colloquially as the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law.

Neufeld announced the appeal in a Facebook post, in response to a story by The Progress that summarized all of the legal proceedings from 2019 for the trustee. As it turns out, there has been a recent update to those proceedings.

READ MORE: TOP STORIES 2019: Barry Neufeld made the news more than most in 2019

“You missed the most important event of my year: With the encouragement of some friends, on Dec 17, I filed an appeal against the unjust ruling of the BC Supreme Court,” he wrote, addressing this reporter.

In the post, Neufeld further explains the history of the case.

“Over a year ago, I had laid a defamation suit against Glen Hansman, president of the BC Teachers Federation (union) due to all the nasty, insulting remarks he made on various media outlets,” Neufeld wrote. “The plan was to have a jury trial in Chilliwack Supreme Court on Dec. 2 of this year. Then in the spring of this year, using a brand-new B.C. law for the first time, Mr. Hansman applied to quash my defamation suit under the new Bill 32: Protection of Public Participation Act. Popularly known as anti-SLAPP law.”

Neufeld rightfully explains that this law was put into effect in March 2019. As such, it has been tested in the B.C. court system very few times.

Neufeld believes the judge applied the law incorrectly in this case, hence the appeal.

“It was intended to protect ‘little guys’ from legal harassment by large corporations and organizations that had lots of money for legal battles. The only precedents were from Ontario, where this kind of law has been in effect for four years.

He wrote that Hansman “turned the Act on its head, and argued that while what he said was defamatory, he had a right and privilege to call me names, because it was in ‘the public interest.’”

Neufeld contends that all he had asked for was more discussion regarding the Ministry of Education approved program known as SOGI 123.

“But instead of an enlightening public debate, all he would do was hurl insults. I do not see how that is in the public interest!” Neufeld wrote.

The debate Neufeld started was back in the fall of 2017. His comments, again on his Facebook page but set to ‘public’ privacy settings, spoke harshly against the program.

He wrote at that time: “At the risk of being labelled a bigoted homophobe, I have to say that I support traditional family values and I agree with the [American College of Pediatricians] that allowing little children choose to change gender is nothing short of child abuse.”

The judge in the anti-SLAPP lawsuit referred directly that very quote, saying that when Neufeld decided to make his statement, he acknowledged the risk of name-calling he would endure.

Neufeld stated on Dec. 30, 2019 that he believes the judge “has made several errors at law.”

He then quotes his lawyer, Paul Jaffe.

“There’s a big access to justice issue here, plus of course freedom of speech which doesn’t really exist if the consequences of public comment can include open season of malicious vilification by left wing activists,” Neufeld quotes Jaffe as saying. “The ‘balance of interests’ test towards the end of the judgment is deeply disturbing as, aside from the false dichotomy raised by the judge (this is NOT a contest between the right to debate SOGI and Neufeld’s damages), this test empowers a judge to stop an action because, for example, he believes that Hansman’s right to defame Neufeld trumps Neufeld’s right to a trial.”

His most recent post also reiterates his disagreement with what he calls “gender fluid ideology,” while standing up for his commitment to education.

“I have worked hard to build up a reputation as a compassionate and caring person concerned about access to education for all students and protecting parental rights,” he wrote.

“But I could not in good conscience go along with this new gender fluid ideology which defies common sense, biological science and even TRUTH! My choice was to speak up or resign. I could not live with myself if I resigned. And if I back down now, the radicals have won, my reputation has been terribly damaged and my life’s work would be for naught!”

Watch this website for updates on this appeal.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two vehicle incidents eastbound on the Trans Canada Highway have been reported in Langley. (Google photo)
TRAFFIC: Two separate vehicle crashes on Highway 1 in Langley, one person taken to hospital

University Drive is closed between 216th Street and Glover Road

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road. (RCMP photo)
RCMP asking for help to find missing Chilliwack woman

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire forward Ben Woodhouse from Wellington Dukes

The BCHL club swapped future considerations to the Dukes for the 20-year-old forward

Chilliwack is still one of B.C.’s COVID hot-spots, according to the latest weekly numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Chilliwack records 140 COVID cases over seven-day period

Chilliwack’s case count per 100,000 people is among the highest in the province

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rent dropped to 2019 rates across parts of Metro Vancouver in December: Rentals.ca report

Rent costs have declined since May, a trend expected to continue due in part to the COVID pandemic

Most Read