Yes, stuff happened even though you were on vacation
// Samantha Thompson

While many students may have spent the last several weeks pretending the world didn’t exist, the fascinating stories that occur around us continued on. Covering everything from student politics to animal tales, the winter months did not slow down just because we did.


In December, it was announced by the Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto that Capilano would receive additional funding for its tuition-free full-time Employment Skills Access programs. The programs focus on preparing students for “entry-level employment in industries, sectors, or occupations that are currently experiencing or are projected to experience labour or skills shortages,” stated the press release.

Capilano has numerous ESA programs, including Business and Culture for Foreign-Trained Professionals, Introduction to Trades, and Retail and Hospitality Customer Service program. In many of the programs, participants are granted certification. The participants must be unemployed, and have not claimed EI in the past three years. The ESA initiative is funded through the Canada- British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.


In November, it was announced that Statistics Canada’s data would soon be available to the public, for free. On Feb. 1, the data will be fully available, and the public can use the data for whatever means they choose. In a press release, StatsCan stated, “Licensing restrictions for the use of Statistics Canada data products will be removed.”

According to Peter Frayne, the data will be released under an open-license agreement, which will have very few restrictions regarding how users may utilize the data – so long as they represent the data accurately.

Although the potential for the data to be used negatively is present, it will also provide nonprofit organizations and small businesses with valuable data that they could not afford access to otherwise.


After a lengthy battle between some vocal members and the elected representatives, the Kwantlen Students’ Association saw significant changes to its organization. Students gathered on Nov. 30 for a special general meeting, and unanimously voted to impeach 12 board members.

Several board members had been accused of being in a conflict of interest. It was revealed by The Runner, Kwantlen's student newspaper, that some board members were related to the defendants in a civil lawsuit that the KSA had been pursuing against elected representatives from years past. The members in question were accused of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in student fees to commit mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty. The lawsuit had been settled between the two parties shortly prior to the general meeting.

The meeting was not without its own controversy, however. More than 400 students arrived to vote, and throughout the meeting duration had to deal with pepper spray and multiple fire alarms. Once voting commenced, more than 2 hours after the scheduled time, the assembly unanimously voted in favour of impeaching 12 board members, and a total of 26 people (executives and staff) were placed in bad standing in the organization, which prohibits them from voting or running in future KSA elections.

Until the elections are called, five transitional board members, who were appointed at the general meetings, will carry out the business of the organization.


Bubbles the skunk has become quite the legend around Vancouver. The skunk was first spotted back in August, with a beverage lid wedged around her neck. When she was seen again several months later, it was decided that the community members would come together to rescue the rodent.

The skunk was tracked by neighbours over several weeks and eventually the group had established where the skunk frequented, and set up a live trap in an empty lot to trap the skunk. Even though by this time Bubbles no longer had the plastic lid around her neck, her neck did have many cuts that required healing. She was taken to a shelter and six weeks later was rehabilitated into her neighbourhood.


Late in December, it was announced that the Simon Fraser Students’ Society’s membership in the CFS had officially ended. This out of court resolution came after a long journey as the two bodies debated whether or not the SFSS was still a member of the CFS. The SFSS held a referendum on whether or not to continue membership in the CFS, but there was a dispute about the outcome of the referendum.

The SFSS, who believed their referendum had resulted in the cessation of membership, ended up filing a lawsuit against the CFS, demanding that they recognize that their membership in the national lobbying organization was no longer in effect.

The official press release stated that the decision to arrive at the out of court resolution was “motivated by a desire on the part of all parties to resolve all outstanding issues.” The CFS and the SFSS have agreed to not release any further statements other than what is stated in the short release.

// Samantha Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, with files from The Canadian University Press

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