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John Yap

The Honourable
John Yap
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Liquor Policy Reform
MLA for Richmond-Steveston
Incumbent
Assumed office
May 17, 2005
Preceded by Geoff Plant
Minister of State for Climate Action of British Columbia
In office
June 10, 2009 – March 14, 2011
Premier Gordon Campbell
Parliamentary Secretary for Clean Technology to the Minister of Energy and Mines of British Columbia
In office
March 14, 2011 – March 24, 2012
Premier Christy Clark
Minister of State for Multiculturalism of British Columbia
In office
March 24, 2012 – March 4, 2013
Premier Christy Clark
Personal details
Born (1959-10-28) October 28, 1959 (age 54)
Singapore
Political party BC Liberal Party
Profession Banking, financial planning

John Yap (Chinese: 葉志明; pinyin: Yè Zhìmíng) MLA is a Canadian politician and former banker. He was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to represent the riding of Richmond-Steveston in the 2005 provincial election. He was subsequently re-elected in the 2009 election and 2013 election. As a member of the BC Liberal Party, he has served as the Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation, and Technology and as Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, as well as Minister of State for Climate Action.

Personal life and family

John Yap was born in Singapore to a homemaker mother and a medical doctor father. Yap is of Chinese descent and speaks some Mandarin and Cantonese.[1] The family immigrated to Canada, settling in Greater Vancouver in 1976. John moved to Richmond, British Columbia in 1986. He attended the University of British Columbia, where he completed a Bachelors of Science and graduated with a Masters of Business Administration.[2] He went on to lead a twenty-years career in banking with Toronto-Dominion Bank and financial planning with the Investors Group.[3]

Yap is a member and past-president (1999–2000) of the Richmond Sunset Rotary Club and an honorary member of the Vancouver Diamond Lions Club.[4] He was heavily involved with the Gilmore Park United Church and the Gilmore Gardens Seniors Centre.

John is married with two grown children, a son and a daughter.[5] For the past two decades, John and his family have resided in Richmond.

Political career

John previously served as British Columbia's Parliamentary Secretary for Clean Technology, Minister of State for Climate Action, Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and Chair of the Government Caucus. He also previously served as member of the cabinet committees of Treasury Board and Legislative Review, as well as the Select Standing Legislative Committees of Public Accounts, Crown Corporations, Finance and Government Services and the Special Legislative Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture.

In the Richmond-Steveston riding, Yap had worked on Geoff Plant's 1996 election campaign and volunteered as Plant's campaign chairman in the 2001 election.[6] After Plant announced his retirement, Yap sought the BC Liberal nomination in Richmond-Steveston for the upcoming 2005 election. Plant vocally supported Yap's candidacy and Yap was acclaimed uncontested.[6][7]

In the 38th Provincial General Election, held on May 17, 2005, Yap was elected to the 38th Parliament of British Columbia. He defeated three other candidates in the Richmond-Steveston riding: Indo-Canadian employment-agency owner and NDP candidate Kay Hale, Green Party candidate Egidio Spinelli, and Democratic Reform BC candidate Daniel Ferguson. As a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the 38th Parliament, Yap was a member of the Treasury Board and served on several committees: the Legislative Review Cabinet Committee, and the Special Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture, and the Select Standing Committees of Public Accounts, Crown Corporations, and Finance and Government Services. In September 2006 Yap was elected by his peers to be the Chair of the BC Government Caucus.

In the 39th Provincial General Election, held on May 12, 2009, Yap was re-elected, defeating three other candidates: NDP candidate and retired medical transcriptionist Sue Wallis,[8] Green Party candidate Jeff Hill, and Barry Chilton, former BC Conservative Party leader. Yap was retained as Minister of State for Climate Action during Gordon Campbell's final cabinet shuffle in October 2010. Yap supported the Province's move towards the Harmonized Sales Tax.[9] Yap also supported the Premier's initiative in income tax reduction to the first $72,000 of income, effective January 1, 2011.[10] In the 2011 BC Liberal Party leadership election Yap endorsed Kevin Falcon,[11] though Christy Clark eventually won.

He was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary for Clean Technology to the Minister of Energy and Mines on March 14, 2011.

On December 8, 2011, Premier Christy Clark formed The British Columbia Immigration Task Force and appointed Yap as chair. The purpose of the ITF was to "review key government programs to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in British Columbia."[12] The ITF report, delivered to Premier Christy Clark on March 31, 2012 was composed of the findings of eight British Columbia-wide regional consultations. Industry officials, stakeholders, and the general public were asked to provide their viewpoints, suggestions, and expertise in regards to the challenge of attracting skilled immigrants to BC. The ITF report listed 10 major recommendations, including:[13]

  • Immediately increase immigration levels to B.C.
  • Grow and expand the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) as the most effective way of supporting regional economic development.
  • Ensure economic immigration program application processes and requirements are as straightforward and efficient as possible and reflect business realities for employers.
  • Capitalize on B.C. as a destination of choice for entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Provide timely, effective information and support to newcomers and employers.

Ultimately, the task force found that if BC fails to attract more skilled immigrants, businesses will be adversely affected through relocations or closures, in turn harming BC's economic outlook. As chairperson of the ITF, Yap provided a quote on his experiences and findings: "Travelling across the province, hearing stories from a range of employers about the challenges they are facing filling jobs in all types of industries impressed upon the task force the immediate and overwhelming need to bring more skilled immigrants to B.C. through a more efficient and responsive system."[12] 

John Yap was appointed Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism on September 5, 2012.

In the 40th Provincial General election, held on May 14, 2013, Yap was re-elected, deafeating several candidates: NDP candidate Scott Stewart, Conservative candidate Carol Day, Green Party candidate Jerome James Dickey, and UCBP candidate Mike Donovan.

In July 2013, John Yap was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Liquor Policy Reform. Yap was also was appointed to the Cabinet Committee for a Strong Economy, as well as the committee for Legislative Review.

Ethnic Outreach Scandal and Resignation from Cabinet

Yap resigned from Cabinet on March 4, 2013, as an internal investigation was taking place regarding an outreach scandal targeting ethnic communities. The scandal erupted over allegations of the existence of a document, created using taxpayer resources, to attract ethnic voters to the BC Liberals in hopes of winning key ridings in the May 14, 2013 provincial election. Despite his involvement in the scandal, Yap announced that he would be running in the provincial election.[14] Yap subsequently won re-election in his riding of Richmond-Steveston.

Parliamentary Secretary for Clean Technology

On March 14, 2011 Yap was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Clean Technology to the Minister of Energy and Mines.[15] During this time, Yap consulted with British Columbia's major fuel suppliers and reviewed low-carbon transportation fuel options to improve low carbon fuel requirements.[16] In response to the concerns on the price and availability of high-quality renewable diesel for use in cold weather, Yap relaxed the renewable and low carbon fuel requirements legislation which saved 418,919 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment in 2010.[17] In July, 2011 Yap chaired the Bio-Economy Committee to identify ways to expand British Columbia's bio-economy through engagement with the industry and academia.[18] As a part of that role, the provincial government provided $700,000 to FPInnovations to gauge the extent of British Columbia's bio-economy, and help industry identify cost-effective fiber available for new projects, including areas affected by the mountain pine beetle.[19]

"This research funding is an example of the timely action our committee has recommended government take to develop a stronger and more robust bio-economy for British Columbians.".[17] - John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston

Minister of State of Climate Action

On June 10, 2009 British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell promoted Yap to the Executive Council of British Columbia as the Minister of State for Climate Action.[20] Yap was responsible for implementing British Columbia's Climate Action Plan and overseeing B.C.'s legislated carbon emissions reduction target of 33% by 2020.[21] Regarding climate action initiatives, Yap worked to ensure the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics were carbon neutral,[22] and with various ministries he helped supervise the public sector's transition to carbon neutrality, increases in provincial fuel taxes (based on the fuel's carbon content),[23] the creation of a Crown corporation to administer B.C.-specific carbon off-sets (the Pacific Carbon Trust),[24] a memorandum of understanding with the California Air Resources Board regarding auto emission standards,[25] expanded recycling initiatives,[26] and a cap-and-trade system through the Western Climate Initiative.[27] Yap also signed agreements with Washington Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant on limiting carbon emissions from government operations and promoting awareness of the impacts of sea level rise on coastal areas.[28] On February 7, 2011 Yap and Terasen Gas provided $6.9 million for 35 energy projects in ten school districts to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and costs through British Columbia's Energy Conservation Agreement Fund.[29] In addition, Yap supported the $15-million, three-year LiveSmart BC for small businesses across B.C. to access free energy-efficiency advice, equipment and incentives.[30] “This program will allow thousands of B.C. small businesses to save money and reduce their energy consumption,” Yap said. “We know small businesses are the backbone of the economy and together we can work towards our climate action goals."[30]

Energy Conservation Agreement

Yap supported the first Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement (PSECA) as a partnership between BC Hydro and the Government of British Columbia.[31] This agreement achieved annual energy cost savings of close to $7.4 million, GHG reductions of over 18,700 tonnes and conservation of 38.6 GWh of electricity.[31]

Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax

On July 1, 2008 Yap implemented the British Columbia revenue carbon tax to fuels such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, heating fuel, propane and coal, and to peat and tires when used to produce energy or heat.[32] Carbon tax revenue is returned to taxpayers through tax reductions and is not used to fund government programs.[32] The refundable Low Income Climate Action Tax Credit ensures that low-income individuals and families are compensated for the tax.[32] This legislation was supplemented by a $100 Climate Action Dividend that was distributed to all British Columbians in 2008.[32]

The Youth Outreach Initiative

Yap began a non-partisan program called the Youth Outreach Initiative Program (YOI) in 2008 to encourage youth involvement in the political process. The purpose of the YOI is to bridge the gap between the youth and the government. At Robert Cecil Palmer Secondary's Richmond School District's Student Leadership Conference (RSLC), Yap and his youth presenter educate and discuss issues such as lowering voting age to 16, mandatory voting laws, electronic voting options and increase classroom education.

Electoral history

References

External links

  • British Columbia Liberal Party - John Yap (Richmond-Steveston)
  • Legislative Assembly of British Columbia - Hon. John Yap
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