LETTER: A brief summary of the backwards opinions Barry Neufeld has shared

LETTER: A brief summary of the backwards opinions Barry Neufeld has shared

Expressing views on sexual orientation in a personal capacity is OK but not as a school trustee

I am proud to be from Chilliwack. I initially moved here in 2002 from North Vancouver. The decision was made due to the laid back lifestyle, opportunities for recreation, and affordable living that Chilliwack offers.

What is the first thing a friend or acquaintance says from another community when I say I’m from Chilliwack? It used to be “I’ve only driven past Chilliwack on Highway 1. It definitely smells like a booming agricultural industry.”

It is now more common to hear some sort of variation of “isn’t your community a bit behind the times?” This comment generally is presented in the context of anti-progressive rhetoric. Recently, this anti-progressive rhetoric has surrounded issues such as changing select crosswalks from white to rainbow in support of LGBTQ+, and certain comments made by school trustee Barry Neufeld that clearly establish his stance when it comes to inclusivity and respect for individuals on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The following is a brief summary of the opinions that have been expressed by Barry Neufeld:

1. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) program is a weapon of propaganda;

2. Educating children on sexual orientation and gender, and allowing children to change gender is child abuse;

3. In the future, the government will start apprehending children and place them in homes to explore homosexuality;

4. The World Health Organization is a corrupt entity;

5. Gender is binary;

6. Abortion should not be legal; and

7. LGBTQ+ individuals deceive people and cannot hold meaningful positions in society.

This is only a brief, incomplete summary of the statements made by Barry Neufeld throughout his tenure as a school trustee.

• READ MORE: Widespread criticism for Chilliwack school trustee’s COVID-19 conspiracy theory rant

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

Following a brief overview of the School Act, RSBC 1996, it is clear that the actions of Neufeld conflict with the purpose of the Act.

The act states that “the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable all learners to become literate, to develop their potential to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy.”

Do Barry Neufeld’s draconian views on sexual orientation and gender contribute to furthering the purpose of the School Act? Definitely not. Do his comments that he has made in his capacity as a school trustee contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society? Definitely not. Are his comments conducive to all students becoming literate, personally fulfilled and publicly useful, increasing the strength and contributions to the health and stability of society? Definitely not.

While I recognize that in a personal capacity Barry Neufeld and others are free to express views on sexual orientation and gender, it is not OK as a school trustee.

I’m hopeful that as we progress as a society, draconian views on sexual orientation and gender begin to dissipate, and we can all respect each other. If we allow individuals such as Barry Neufeld to continue to discriminate against individuals on the LGBTQ+ spectrum we will not move forward and grow. If we allow this to continue we are letting down the individuals in our community that are most affected by the hateful comments that have been made. This cannot continue.

Leonard Foster

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

Just Posted

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Items seized by Chilliwack RCMP and Abbotsford Police during a Feb. 23 traffic stop. (RCMP photo)
Police from Chilliwack and Abbotsford seize drugs in traffic stop

Chilliwack RCMP worked with the Abbotsford PD to seize four kilograms of suspected fentanyl

(Black Press file photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for man who tried to grab boy near Robertson elementary school

A man in a parked minivan reached out the driver side window as a young boy passed by

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Dean Werk, president of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, at the Fraser River boat launch at Island 22 Regional Park in Chilliwack on Dec. 1, 2019. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Salmon society calls for moratorium on vehicle access to gravel bars near Chilliwack

Gill Road and Jesperson Road gravel bars have seen increased use and environmental abuse

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

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

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

Most Read