Volume 91, Issue 48
Friday, November 21, 1997
EPC takes students to the cleaners
Education Party of Canada candidate Michael Rubinoff(left) and University Students' Council and EPC President Ryan Parks (right).
By Sara Marett
The University Students' Council's $13,000 man came under attack yesterday while discussing the initiatives and funding of the Education Party of Canada at a Town Hall meeting in CentreSpot.
Michael Rubinoff, the EPC candidate who ran in the summer's federal election and Ryan Parks, USC and party president, fielded numerous questions, mainly from other political parties on campus with concerns about the use of students' money to fund the EPC. As part of Park's presidential election platform, he promised he would run a candidate in the federal election and once elected, the USC voted to donate $13,000 to the EPC.
The Town Hall meeting coincided with the publishing of the EPC's expense budget in The Gazette yesterday. "We wanted to provide accountability to the students who have a right to know where their money was spent," Parks said. These efforts, however, were not enough for members of the Young Liberal and Reformers clubs, who called the EPC a "$13,000 sham."
The EPC's budget outlines that $10,465.94 was spent on advertising methods other than radio and television advertisements mainly allocated for campaign signs and literature, Parks said.
Among other expenses outlined were a $748.80 charge for food and $157.32 for Rubinoff's personal expenses. Parks explained the personal expenses mainly covered Rubinoff's gas costs while campaigning throughout the riding. "I think there was some dry cleaning in there as well," he said.
A $2,250 honoraria was allocated to a team of eight volunteers who dedicated two months of the summer to work seven days a week on the campaign, Parks said. He explained each volunteer received approximately $280 and Rubinoff was paid approximately $400.
Parks said these volunteers were given honoraria because they gave up time in the summer when they could have been working and still had rent and food expenses to meet. He added the $748.80 in food expenses was spent on a promotional barbecue during the campaign and for non-honoraria volunteers who spent long hours working on the campaign. "We're not talking about a catered event it was pizza and timbits," Parks said, adding he was confident about where the party spent its money.
Nawaz Tahir, president of the Young Liberals, questioned the justification of paying Rubinoff $400. "It is assumed candidates incur a loss of income to run in an election," he said.
Rubinoff said the campaign was a massive personal financial sacrifice but he does not regret the experience. "I'm proud of what we accomplished and we have already seen parts of our policy being adopted by the federal government."
Rubinoff was referring to the EPC's policy to ensure the interest on student loans would be tax deductible. The Young Liberals, however, said the EPC is claiming credit where it is not due. Tahir said his group discussed this initiative with Liberal Member of Parliament Joe Fontana in February before the EPC was created.
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