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'Pretty disgusting': Chilliwack school board trustee posts coronavirus conspiracy theory
VANCOUVER -- The chair of the Chilliwack School Board and trans rights activists are condemning comments made by a school trustee downplaying the validity of coronavirus and Canadian public health officials.
“It is actually pretty disgusting,” said Dan Coulter, chair of the school board.
The comments were made on Facebook by trustee Barry Neufeld Saturday evening.
In the post Neufeld criticizes the World Health Organization by calling it “corrupt.”
Neufeld also comments on the sexuality of Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam.
Coulter said the Facebook post is being shared by members of the community who have been calling and texting him with concerns.
“It is filled with transphobia, and the overall arching theme is a conspiracy theory around coronavirus, which is super dangerous given he is a trustee,” said Coulter.
"I am not sure he was elected because of these views, I think he was maybe elected in spite of this."
Kaitlyn Bogas, a transgender woman who lives in the Okanagan, said Neufeld's post was "so wrong."
"He has a forum for spewing this (garbage) to people who don't know anything about it," she said, adding she'd like to see B.C. introduce a way for residents to recall elected officials.
Morgane Oger, a trans rights activist in Vancouver, said the post could be harmful to people's health during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is not the first time Neufeld has been the centre of a controversy.
In November, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a defamation lawsuit he filed against a former head of the BC Teacher’s Federation.
Neufeld was also heavily criticized publicly for speaking out in a facebook post against the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity policy in BC public schools.
The previous July a GoFundMe campaign raised nearly $42,000 to pay for Neufeld’s legal fees.
"I don't think it is the thinking of people in Chilliwack, this is not the kind of stuff I hear from people at all,” assured Coulter.
Neufeld has also been previously punished for his controversial comments by the Chilliwack School Board.
The school board has removed his liaison privileges to stop him from going into schools when children are present.
"He has also been ‘not involved’ in award ceremonies or graduations before,” Coulter added.
Calls to Neufeld by CTV News were not answered Sunday.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Jen St. Denis.