Commentary

 

Neufeld launches appeal in failed lawsuit

"Human rights process seems to have ground to a halt"

 

 

Photo: Barry Neufeld and some of his supporters at the Vancouver Law Courts.

 

BARRY NEUFELD, SD 33 TRUSTEE

HANDOUT PHOTO

 

ver a year ago, I had laid a defamation suit against Glen Hansman, President of the BC Teachers Federation (union) due to all the nasty, insulting remarks he made on various media outlets. The plan was to have a jury trial in Chilliwack Supreme Court on Dec 2 of this year. Then in the spring of this year, using a brand-new BC Law for the first time, he applied to quash my defamation suit under the new Bill 32: “Protection of Public Participation Act” popularly known as Anti SLAPP law.

This new law only went into effect in March of this year. It was intended to protect “little guys” from legal harassment by large corporations and organizations that had lots of money for legal battles. The only precedents were from Ontario, where this kind of law has been in effect for four years. But in this situation Mr. Hansman turned the Act on its head, and argued that while what he said was defamatory, he had a right and privilege to do it, because it was in “the public interest.”

All I had asked for was more discussion regarding SOGI 1•2•3, but instead of an enlightening public debate, all he would do was hurl insults and call me names.

I do not see how that is in the public interest. We spent July 11-12 in Vancouver Supreme Court in front of Judge Alan Ross, a brand-new Judge appointed to the bench by Prime Minister Trudeau only a few days earlier. I was grateful for the several supporters who came all the way in from the Fraser Valley to support me.

It continued again on August 6, but the judge didn’t release his decision until Nov 25. In a 46-page judgment handed down last month, the judge sided with Hansman, effectively endorsing the misconduct of Hansman and others who defamed myself for criticizing SOGI 1•2•3.

I believe this judgment to be both wrong at law and to be sending out a chilling message which will deter people from exercising their freedom of speech on controversial matters Here is a copy.

A nice Christmas present for me.

 

So, I began to ask myself the question others are asking; “Why bother?” Why not just sit back and enjoy a quiet retirement without all the stress and hassle and threats to my physical and financial health? Why align yourself with people who are considered troublemakers, hateful bigots and bullies? Just be a “nice guy”.

But then I thought of how this would negatively affect others, especially vulnerable children and younger politicians coming after me. As trustees we keep being reminded that the best way to be a trustee is to never rock the boat and follow new trends obediently like mindless sheep.

 

The people in my life who have inspired me were not like dumb sheep. I admired Willian Wilberforce who stopped slavery; Dietrich Bonhoeffer who opposed Hitler; and even Martin Luther King, who “had a dream!” And my ultimate model is that of my Lord Jesus Christ, who was not afraid to speak up against and defy the status quo. My lawyer, Mr. Jaffe says this decision has dealt a devastating blow to Free Speech.

“There’s a big access to justice issue here, plus of course freedom of speech which doesn’t really exist if the consequences of public comment can include open season of malicious vilification by left wing activists,” wrote Paul Jaffe.

For almost a quarter of a century, I have tried to be a voice for policies to strengthen family ties in the public schools. 22 years ago, I actively promoted Sexual Abstinence in our Career and Personal Planning courses: not only opposing abortions but preventing unplanned pregnancies.

I pioneered Restorative Practices in Schools. I have spent a whole career dealing with at risk and vulnerable youth who are struggling to find their identity. This SOGI 1•2•3 program completely negates everything I have believed in and tried to accomplish most of my life. I could not in good conscience go along with this new ideology which defies common sense, biological science and even truth. My choice was to speak up or resign. I could not resign.

If I back down now, the radicals have won, my reputation has been terribly damaged and my life’s work would be for naught.

Nobody will have the fortitude to stand up to them! With the encouragement of some friends, I have decided to launch an appeal of Judge Ross’ decision. It was filed in the BC Court of Appeals this past week. This will cost a lot of money. People have generously donated to my legal fund, and I have spent thousands of my own savings on this case, but now I must appeal for more help.

The Human Rights process seems to have ground to a halt. And my (government appointed) lawyers have applied to the Tribunal to simply DROP the complaints against me: that I create an “unsafe work environment” for union employees. This is primarily because the two unions can’t come up with any names of individuals who feel threatened by me (which is ridiculous). There are several ways you can support me:

 

1. Prayer

2. Talk to your friends and share what you know

3. Financially, there are three ways to support me: a. Online crowd-funding. This has generated $42,000 since we began over a year ago. b. Email Transfer direct to me via email. A mailed check to me with the memo: “Legal Fund” to this address:

 

Trustee Neufeld P.O. Box 3002 Cultus Lake, BC V2R 5H6
Call or text me at (604) 798 9425 and go for coffee.

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.