CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) – Controversial Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld is being taken to court in an effort to remove him from office and disqualify him from ever becoming a candidate in the future.
Two Vancouver lawyers have filed a petition in BC Supreme Court on behalf of a Chilliwack resident.
Vancouver lawyer Adrienne Smith claims Neufeld violated rules by knowingly participating in a meeting which put him in a conflict of interest.
“The school board discussed an issue that he had a financial interest in,” Smith claims. “The Chilliwack School Board conflict of interest rules require that he recused himself that he not participate in the meeting and he did.”
“The client is seeking a remedy from the BC Supreme Court, which would declare Trustee Neufeld’s seat vacant, and disqualify him from being able to stand as a candidate in a future election,” they added.
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Smith says Neufeld also shared private information to the public from a closed meeting.
“He did this by talking about it in a public school board meeting, and also by posting on social media,” Smith said. “The solution for that comes from a policy of the school district — of the school board, and the school board has decided that as a result of that, Trustee Neufeld can’t come to close meetings anymore.
In the past year, Neufeld has been met with calls for resignation for several comments.
In April, Neufeld came under fire for social media posts about gender identity and sexual orientation, which the BC Teachers’ Federation and Chilliwack Teachers’ Association said were discriminatory and likely to expose transgender people to hatred.
In May, he posted to social media, implying the World Health Organization (WHO) cannot be trusted to relay accurate information about the coronavirus because it supports gender affirmative health care and access to abortion. He also suggested, –citing Wikipedia as a source– that Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam is transgender and that if so, her gender identity makes her less credible.
Neufeld later apologized for the comments about the WHO and Tam.
In November, Neufeld used an ablest slur in a Facebook post. He referred to journalists at the Chilliwack Progress by name, using a derogatory word that refers to people with developmental disabilities to denigrate them. The post was first changed to read “three radical lefties,” and later deleted entirely.
NEWS 1130 has reached out to Neufeld for comment.