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MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013

mINISTrY OF ADVANCED EDUCATION >>

Ex-minister Yap implicated in Liberal probe Laura Rodgers News Editor

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A b.C. Liberal investiagation found that former Minister of Advanced Eduation John yap was involved in the rollout of the Liberals’ maligned ethnic voter outreach plan.

A B.C. Liberal project using taxpayer-funded resources to mount an election campaign targeting minority voters ran out of the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education with the knowledge of former minister John Yap, according to a report issued by Liberal deputy minister John Dyble. The report, at the centre of an ongoing B.C. Liberal scandal, found a “serious misuse” of government time and resources to conduct party business: crafting a strategy to promote the party among B.C. voters who are members of ethnic minority groups. The report said the once-secret outreach project began in 2011

within the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation when Harry Bloy, also the minister of state for multiculturalism, held that post. Bloy resigned from Cabinet in the spring of 2012, and John Yap took over as minister of state for multiculturalism. Then in a summer 2012 cabinet shuffle, Yap was appointed as minister of advanced education, innovation and technology — and the ethnic outreach project followed him. Yap had already resigned from Cabinet by the time the report’s results were made public last Thursday. Two government staffers have resigned from their posts entirely in the wake of the scandal, and the Liberals have pledged to pay back the $70,000 of taxpayer funds they spent on partisan

activities. The report notes that Yap was aware that former ministry staffer Brian Bonney frequently used his personal email address, rather than his government address, for communication about the project in order to circumvent freedom-of-information laws. Yap and Premier Christy Clark have both apologized and expressed remorse over what occurred in the ethnic outreach project. However, they have both also said they had some degree of ignorance regarding the project’s activities. The NDP, so far, say they aren’t fully satisfied with the outcome of the report. They are calling for a broader investigation from an independent body. U

AMS, UBC measure success of waste reduction strategies Ming Wong Senior News Writer

Although the AMS is increasing the use of compostable or recyclable food packaging, there isn’t any data to show if these initiatives result in less waste in landfills. A waste audit breaks down what materials go to landfill, what is recycled and what is composted. The last audit, in 2009, showed that of the waste that went to landfill, 38 per cent of it was food waste that could have been recycled or composted. The student society’s sustainability strategy calls for annual waste audits, but AMS sustainability coordinator Justin Ritchie said the $20,000$40,000 price tag is too expensive. Although the data is from four years ago, Ritchie said that based on a glance at the overflowing SUB garbage cans, things have not improved. “Our waste diversion is pretty terrible,” said Ritchie. “[We’re] putting all kinds of things in the garbage that really should just not be there.” But Ritchie said the AMS does its part to reduce waste by providing compostable or recyclable takeout containers at most of its food outlets. He said the Moon will be cutting Styrofoam containers by the end of the month. UBC Food Services already mandates that all containers and cutlery from its food outlets can either be recycled or composted.

But Victoria Wakefield, purchasing manager of Student Housing and Hospitality Services, said many students don’t properly separate their waste. “The campus community tends to just throw things in the easiest bin instead of spending time sorting,” said Wakefield. UBC aimed to “divert 55 per cent of annual operational waste from landfill” by 2010, and according to the UBC sustainability website, UBC currently diverts 59 per cent of its waste from landfill. Wakefield said UBC is doing an “exceptional job” in terms of food sustainability, pointing to the university’s composting program and the Eco-To-Go returnable container program, which encourages students and staff to use reusable takeout containers. She said the program has led to a 20 per cent reduction in the use of disposable containers since it began in 2011. Ritchie said the AMS hopes to adopt a similar program in the new SUB. Although compostable food packaging is more expensive, Wakefield said the costs balance out when the composted containers become free fertilizer for the university. Ritchie hopes many of the sustainability initiatives that did not take off in the old SUB, such as paper towel recycling, will get a second chance in the new SUB. The AMS ran a paper towel recycling pilot project in January 2012

kAI JACobson FILE pHoto/tHE ubyssEy

ubC currently diverts 59% of its waste away from landfills, according to Victoria wakefield of student Housing and Hospitality services.

but it was ultimately shut down due to budget constraints. Ritchie also hopes his team will weigh garbage daily in the new SUB to measure the amount of trash they are sending to the landfill.

“What we’ll do is make sure that the staff is actually doing things. We have a very committed team on the AMS food and beverage side.” Ritchie said he hopes the AMS will perform a new waste audit

in 2016. But, he said, there are too many projects going on in the sustainability office for just two student staff to handle. “We just don’t have the staff right now to follow up on those sorts of things.” U

March 18, 2013  
March 18, 2013  

March 18, 2013 | The Ubyssey

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