A Chilliwack school trustee has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside.
Barry Neufeld was one of about eight speakers at a rally in Vancouver Saturday, planned in support of a father who had been held in jail after breaking a publication ban relating to his child’s medical information. The child is transgender, and the father has been protesting their transition in various media and public and private events. There is also publication ban on the father’s name.
During Neufeld’s time with the microphone, he recalled some of the controversy he’s endured since speaking against SOGI 123, and suggesting children and teens who are transitioning should instead be encouraged to not transition.
Those comments, and others, have led to numerous court battles and calls for Neufeld’s resignation.
On Saturday, he called for Whiteside to resign, as well as Stephanie Higginson, the president of the B.C. School Trustee Association, and his own colleague, board chair Willow Reichelt.
All three have publicly condemned Neufeld for his statements in the past.
“One of us has to resign, Ms. Reichelt, and it ain’t gonna be me,” Neufeld said as he ended his speech.
Board meetings have shown that relations around the board table are not in a healthy state, with accusations and heated language being used at times between some trustees. The controversy drew the attention of the ministry of education, and in December Whiteside ordered two special advisors to investigate the board and report back to her.
Her recommendations were released last week, requiring the board to come together on six separate tasks, including becoming more inclusive.
On Saturday, Neufeld said her report was only worthy of “the bottom of a parrot cage,” and that it was impossible for the board to complete the tasks by the October 31 deadline.
He also stated that Reichelt has filed a civil lawsuit against him, a claim that is untrue.
A civil lawsuit was filed against him by Chilliwack resident Peter Lang. Reichelt provided a sworn affidavit to Lang’s lawyers.
Neufeld announced to the crowd that he has filed an anti-SLAPP claim against that lawsuit.
“I have thrown a monkey wrench into Ms Reichelt’s gears of destruction,” he said. “I plan to prove Ms. Reichelt that your plans are vicious and vexatious.”
Neufeld also stated that if the ministry of education doesn’t examine SOGI 123 he will advise parents to take their children out of the public education system. He calls the resource material a “dangerous experiment.”
“These last three years have shaken my faith in public education,” he added.
Other speakers at the event included MP Derek Sloan, transgender activist Jenn Smith, Laura Lynn Tyler, and Paul Dirks. It took place on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery and was attended by several hundred people. Videos of the event show that most were not wearing masks or distancing. A counter protest was held by a caravan of people who circled the block honking their horns to drown out speakers.
The Progress has reached out to Neufeld for comment.
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