Controversial B.C. school trustee under fire again over Facebook post with offensive slur
Note: This story repeats the slur used by Barry Neufeld for clarity and context.
VANCOUVER – A controversial school trustee in B.C.'s Fraser Valley is under fire once again, this time over a social media post using an offensive slur to insult journalists in his community.
The remark appeared on Chilliwack School District trustee Barry Neufeld's publicly viewable Facebook page on Thursday, referring to three employees of The Chilliwack Progress as "retards."
The comment was later edited to call reporter Jessica Peters, editor Paul Henderson and publisher Tara Hiebert "radical lefties" instead.
The original post quickly circulated on social media, where many people expressed disappointment and frustration that an elected official overseeing Chilliwack schools would use an offensive and ableist term. It also prompted a new petition calling for Neufeld's removal that had been signed more than 600 times by Thursday evening.
"Classy Barry," one Twitter user wrote. "You bring disgrace to Chilliwack, to your religious faith and to all of us who live here."
"Disgusting that people applaud this guy," wrote another. "He needs to go."
Neufeld's latest controversy erupted just days after it was revealed that he had received a Chilliwack-Hope Community Hero Award from local Conservative MP Mark Strahl.
Strahl later released a statement stressing that nominees were put forward by the community, and the he didn't approve or oppose any of them personally.
"These awards in no way serve to endorse any recipient's person views, including those of Mr. Neufeld," Strahl said.
Neufeld previously made headlines for publicly criticizing B.C.'s inclusive sexual orientation and gender identity program, calling it "biologically absurd." He also praised Russia's approach to LGBTQ issues, even though the country has been known to persecute gay citizens.
Earlier this year, he was censured by the Chilliwack school board over a Facebook post that included both transphobic comments and conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus.
The board voted to remove Neufeld from all committees and committee work, bar him from school liaison duties, and ensure he wouldn't be invited to any district events where students or staff would be in attendance.
"He's been making posts similar to this since the previous board, and he always apologizes, removes the post or shuts his Facebook page," board chair Dan Coulter said at the time.
"But then it happens again and again. The board this time took the position that he needed to be censured."
CTV News has reached out to Neufeld for a response to the outcry over his latest remarks.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Tara Hiebert as a reporter. She is the publisher of The Chilliwack Progress.