Kari Simpson, founder of Culture Guard, asks protester Kim Forster to leave a rally to support Barry Neufeld. Forster was spoken to by an RCMP member at Simpson’s request, but not made to leave. Jessica Peters/ The Progress

Chilliwack trustee a no-show at fundraiser in his honour

Barry Neufeld says his legal fund is depleting for defamation suit

A fundraising rally was held for Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld Thursday night, but he was a no-show.

The event, held at Evergreen Hall, was hosted by the Langley group Culture Guard and its founder Kari Simpson. A projector stated it was a “Thank You Rally for Barry Neufeld and the State of our Nation,” and envelopes left on the chairs had an option to donate to “Barry Neufeld’s legal fund.” However, as the night carried on it became clear the man of the hour would not make an appearance.

Two slightly different reasons were given for his absence.

Jenn Smith, a friend of Neufeld’s and a transgender writer and public speaker, said Neufeld’s absence was on the advice of his lawyer.

“Barry actually couldn’t be here tonight on the advice of his lawyers because he is involved in two legal cases and because he’s been defamed too much,” Smith stated. He also stated “Barry is a hero.”

Neufeld is involved in two Human Rights Tribunal complaints, and has announced he is taking legal action against Glen Hansman, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation for defamation. He also recently announced in a board meeting that he is taking legal action against his own school board. All four cases stem from his statements made in 2017 regarding SOGI 123, and the board’s and Hansman’s ensuing response to his statements.

After Smith spoke, the emcee of the event read a letter from Neufeld apologizing for his absence. That letter stated that Neufeld was actually afraid for his safety and unable to find a chaperone to go with him, despite needing the support for his legal fund.

“My fundraising for my defamation case is floundering and I could really use some positive media coverage at this time,” the letter said in part.

“But I do not feel I should be attending this evening… I feel very concerned about my physical safety as there is an ex-military man who has threatened myself and Mrs. (Heather) Maahs. I am subject to death threats… This man in particular has been the nastiest of my critics, a personal buddy of Justin Trudeau, as well.”

He said the man has been attending meetings and giving both him and Trustee Maahs “intimidating” looks.

“The RCMP are aware of this and have done nothing.”

The event did have security guards, and two RCMP officers were stationed there throughout the event. The only interaction the officers had with protesters was when Simpson tried to have a woman removed for holding a sign in her seat. The sign was made of pink and blue stripes and said: “Hate is a choice, being trans is not.” One officer spoke to the woman, and she and her sign were permitted to stay.

This is the second time Culture Guard has come to Chilliwack to honour Neufeld. One speaker mentioned Neufeld’s “scrappy leadership.” Like the last rally, this one drew a crowd of peaceful, colourful protesters, donned in rainbow colours and holding signs. The group included teachers, parents, and several candidates from the 2018 school board election.

Thursday evening was also a night for the Chilliwack trustees to spend with local CUPE members for a formal meeting and dinner, but Neufeld was absent. Trustee Darrell Furgason also missed the dinner, as he is out of the country.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Donation envelopes for Barry Neufeld’s legal fund were left on chairs, with cheques to be written to Culture Guard. Jessica Peters/ The Progress

A protest the Culture Guard rally was held outside and inside the building, by local parents, teachers, youth and some candidates from the 2018 school board election. Chris Braun, centre, was one of those candidates. Jessica Peters/ The Progress

An RCMP member speaks to protester Kim Forster, in the only encounter throughout the evening at Evergreen Hall. Jessica Peters/ The Progress

Culture Guard and Parents United Canada volunteers distributed literature on their views of homosexuality, transgender politics, and anti-immigration flyers. Jessica Peters/ The Progress

Just Posted

Fraser Health reminds parents to get their kids fully vaccinated against measles

Health authority will send letters home to parents with catch-up program information

FVRL launches Cubetto’s Grand Tour across 14 libraries

Friendly wooden robot travels Fraser Valley teaching programming basics to those as young as three

Chilliwack Hospice Society gearing up for annual Hike

Funds raised at Chilliwack walk remain local to help support programs for community members

Gas prices in Metro Vancouver hit $1.72 a litre

And one analyst expects it to only go higher this week

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Spectre of Lac-Megantic raised as White Rock council calls for report on rail emergency protocol

‘I just really think we’re asleep at the switch here,’ says councillor

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Most Read