Jason Herbert has rejoined Senate this year as Chair, ostensibly after an 11-year “absence”. However, for the past six years (since Jason’s wife, Rhonda Vanderfluit, rejoined Senate in2011), Jason has participated innumerous Senate meetings (in a non-voting capacity) as an active alumnus, and he hosted many of those meetings at the law firm of DLA Piper (Canada) LLP (formerly Davis LLP) where Jason is a litigation partner, practicing in the area of administrative and regulatory law. As an alumnus, Jason has also been a member of the Society’s Risk Management Committee since 2014. Jason previously served as a Senator for nine years, from 1997 to 2006, and he previously served as Chair for five years, from 1999 to 2004.
Jason first joined BCYP in 1988, after serving as Minister of Finance of the 1st Session of the Vancouver Youth Parliament, and was a member of the 60th to 63rdParliaments, during which time he served as Attorney General, Leader of the Opposition, and Minister of Finance. He also attended the 8th (and, sadly, last) Session of the Youth Parliament of Canada/Parlement jeunesse du Canada in Ottawa in 1990, and the 5th Session of the Western Canada Youth Parliament in Edmonton in 1991. After “retiring” from Parliament, Jason served as a Clerk at several Sessions (including as Head Clerk of the 66th Parliament), he served as Registrar for three years, and he was the Speaker of the 74th and 81st Parliaments.
Jason lives in Yaletown (on the former site of Expo 86’s Spanish Pavilion) with his wife (Senator Vanderfluit) and their two children, Zara (Provincial Secretary of the 89th Parliament) and Kieran (9-year old Pokémon enthusiast).
Dora Turje was a member of BCYP from the 72nd through 76th Parliaments, after joining VYP two years before. In her five years in BCYP she held the positions of Minister of RYPs, Minister of Communications, Attorney General, and Deputy Speaker. As a member and alumna she has also been Speaker of BCYP, clerked BCYP five times as Head Clerk or an Assistant Clerk, participated in four Western Canada Youth Parliaments as a member or clerk, attended Camp Phoenix as a staff member eight times, and served as a house servant at more RYPs than she can easily remember. Dora joined Senate in 2005 (the 77th BCYP) and is currently the Vice-Chair. She was previously Registrar from 2006 to 2015 and CRO in the 84th and 86th Parliaments. She has a B.A. (Political Science, minor History) and a B.Ed. (Middle Years), both from UBC. She lives in Burnaby, teaches at Citadel Middle School in Port Coquitlam, leads a fabulous unit of Pathfinder Girl Guides, and enjoys reading, listening to the CBC, most things sci-fi and fantasy, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, herding drama llamas, cooking and baking, and wasting time on the Internet.
Artour Sogomonian is serving his first term on Senate, and is filing the role of Executive Director. Having volunteered at the 87th and 88th Sessions, Artour is thrilled be asked to join Senate this year. Artour was part of the 79th BCYP, where he was proudly an opposition marble kisser, and his most notable achievement was making a Member serenade the House (it is perhaps worth noting that that Member later competed on Canadian Idol). His experience in BCYP fueled his interest in the institution of parliament, and served as a launch pad for his employment in parliamentary institutions. Artour worked at the Senate of Canada for 6.5 years prior to moving back to the best coast in January 2016, where he currently works at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Artour has a BSocSc (Specialization in Political Science, Minor in Law) from the University of Ottawa, and an MA (Public Ethics) conferred jointly by Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa. In his spare time, Artour enjoys hiking, cycling, being outdoors and reading.
Assistant Executive Director
Danica Wong is in her tenth non-consecutive year on Senate. During the 73rd to 77th Parliaments, Danica held the portfolios of Regional Youth Parliaments, Deputy Speaker, Finance (x2), Corporate Relations (x2), External Affairs and Attorney General. She was also heavily involved in running the 15th to 19th Vancouver Youth Parliaments and served as Attorney General when BCYP hosted the 15th Western Canada Youth Parliament. Danica is a double graduate of U.B.C, where she completed a B.A. in Honours French and Honours Political Science, as well as an M.A. in Political Science. She is currently working as the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Clerk at Simply Computing in Vancouver – a job made possible in part by the training she received during her tenure as Minister of Finance. In her spare time, Danica enjoys reading, travelling, watching movies and DVD reruns, doing puzzles, scrapbooking/card making and spending time with family.
Fundraising Committee Chair
Jenn Jay is serving their lucky 13th term on Senate and has been an active alumni since 2003. Their membership started in the 64th Session; serving the Ministry of Ar-Chives, Public Relations, Attorney Jenn-eral, Deputy Premier, and elected as the Deputy Speaker for the 69th Session. They served as the Host-Premier for the 7th Session of the Western Canada Youth Parliament. This year on Senate Jenn is serving as Fundraising Committee Chair. In the past they have served as Senate Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Chief Returning Officer, Risk Management Committee Chair, Alumni Affairs, and Acting-Executive Director. Jenn is an avid supporter of Regional Youth Parliaments (RYP) and most recently has served multiple times as Speaker and Sessional Director for IYP (formerly VIYP), NSYP. In the past, Jenn has been Speaker or a House Servant for LMEYP, SIYP, and WKYP. When they aren’t doing anything parliament related, they work as a paralegal with Winright Law Corporation in the area of real estate law. In their sparest time they paddle with a recreational dragon boat team, watch mostly nerdy TV or Netflix, and is the alpha human to their little Chihuahua, Harley.
Chief Returning Officer and Registrar
Rhonda Vanderfluit is the current Senate Registrar and CRO, having taken on these positions again last year. She was previously on Senate in 1993, 1995 and 1997-2003, and rejoined Senate in 2011 after an 8-year absence. She has served as Chief Returning Officer, Registrar, Secretary, and Alumni Affairs Director. She served repeatedly as Head Clerk, Assistant Clerk and was honoured to be the Speaker of the 73rd Parliament. A member of the 57th-62nd Sessions, Rhonda held the portfolios of Attorney General, Camp Phoenix, Provincial Secretary, Lower Mainland, Deputy Minister of the Interior, was on Shadow Cabinet and has attended Western Canada Youth Parliament. Rhonda used to be a high school teacher and is now a family physician at Bayswater Family Practice in Vancouver. She is married to Jason Herbert (member of BCYP’s 60th-63rd Sessions and current Senate Chair). Rhonda and Jason have two children (Zara age 17 and Kieran age 9). Rhonda is thrilled that Zara is returning to Session this year as a second year member and Provincial Secretary.
Ambrose Yung is a third year Senator and is the Treasurer. Ambrose attended Session from the 82nd Parliament to 86th Parliament. During his time in Parliament, he served as Deputy Speaker, Premier, Attorney General, Minister of Finance, Minister of Service, Minister of the Lower Mainland, and the Minister of Community Fundraising. He has attended all six RYPs (20 and counting) across the province, serving in all House Servant roles from Photocopy Monkey to Speaker. Along with this long list of Regionals, he has attended Western Canada Youth Parliament since 2012 serving on Shadow Cabinet for all three Sessions. An alumnus of Simon Fraser University, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science and Minor in History, when Ambrose is not helping out at Regionals, doing Treasurer related work, or pre-clerking the next BCYP Journal, he enjoys listening to Classical Music, reading Tollkien’s works, and building models. Outside of BCYP, Ambrose Yung, B.A. works at the airport handling airline commercial cargo and works for British Airways at YVR. He will be continuing school in January at UBC studying Accounting.
Alumni Affairs Director
Sarah O’Connor is a second year senator and current Alumni Affairs Director. Sarah was a Parliamentarian during the 79th and 81st to 84th Parliaments, representing the BC Interior. In her time in BCYP, she served as Premier, Deputy Premier, External Affairs, Sessional Affairs, Corporate Relations and Interior. In 2011, she helped resurrect Regional Youth Parliaments in BCs Southern Interior, with a successful RYP in Kamloops, and has clerked or held a role in nearly every other RYP. She was the Chair of Western Canada Youth Parliament Planning Committee during the last Westerns to run in BC at UBC in 2012. Sarah is a recent Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management graduate of Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University and has decided to settle in the Martimes for the time being.
Darya Ali is a first year Senator, returning to Youth Parliament one year after aging out of the 87th Session. During her time in Parliament, she served as Deputy Speaker, Premier, Minister of Regional Youth Parliaments, and Minister of Camp Phoenix, amongst other things. She has attended all six RYPS, multiple times, serving in a variety of House Servant positions. Although she has never attended the Western Canada Youth Parliament as a member, she did help organize the session hosted in 2012 as Deputy Minister of External Affairs. Currently, she is finishing her Master’s of Science in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University, where she lives with another BCYP alumnus. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of British Columbia. When she is not wearing red bandanas and yelling #doitforthekids, Darya is either carbo-loading, petting dogs, or celebrating her birthday.
Tyler Allison is very pleased to be returning to Senate this year. Tyler first began BCYP in the 76th session as a government backbencher without even a desk to sit at. He attended Camp Phoenix and knew that he had to go back for more. In future sessions, Tyler served as Minister of the Interior, Attorney General, Deputy Premier, Minister of Camp, and finally as Premier for the 80th BCYP. He took part in Regionals, acting as Chair for the Vancouver Youth Parliament, and clerking at NSYP, VYP and LMEYP. Despite all of the other activities put on by Parliament, Tyler’s primary love during his time with YP was Camp Phoenix. He worked as a Cabin Leader, Sports and Games Director, Program Director and Assistant Administrator. Through his work with youth during his time in BCYP, Tyler decided he wanted a career continuing to do the same. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in History followed by a Bachelors in Education. He has worked for two years in Williams Lake but is currently teaching in the Surrey School district. Tyler looks forward to meeting and working with all members of Parliament in this and in future years.
Natalie Hepburn Barnes is an LMEYP alumnus who previously sat on Senate until the birth of her first child in 2009. Now the mom of two big boys who do their own thing a lot of the time, she is eager to participate in BCYP once again. In her spare time Natalie is an advising solicitor to the government of British Columbia where her YP experience comes in handy quite often.
Chris Green is a long-time alumnus, third-time Senator. He was once the Sergeant-at-Arms, approximately 1000 years ago. Before that, he served as a Member from the now-defunct constituency of Cowichan-Malahat. He was Government Whip to Premier Bruce Hallsor in the 59th Session, and held the laughably archaic position of Minister of Publications in the Cabinet of Premier Sean Vanderfluit in the 60th Session. He was the first Deputy Speaker of the then-New Westminster/Coquitlam/Burnaby Regional Youth Parliament (now the LMNOP), a Member of the first Vancouver Island Youth Parliament, at which Chemainus was declared a Distinct Society within Canada, and a Member of the Western Canada Youth Parliament. He is also Christy Clark’s former office-roommate at the Simon Fraser Student Society, of which he served as Treasurer. By joining Senate, he has doubled the representation of the St. Joseph’s Catholic School Kindergarten Class of We Don’t Want To Name The Year, Do We Rhonda? A scholar and a gentleman. One of God’s own prototypes, never approved for mass production. He has one son, Emery, age 15.
Josh Hall would like to say, “Hi, my name is Josh, and I’m a first year YP Senator (hopefully someone gets that joke)”… Josh served from the 78th to 82nd sessions of BCYP, starting off way at the very end of the Opposition. From there, he served in several positions on shadow cabinet, including handling the ministries of corporate affairs, finance, Camp Phoenix, and Deputy LofO. In his fifth and final year, Josh was Leader of the Opposition, staying loyal to that side of the house his entire BCYP career. Josh attended Westerns three times: Edmonton in 2008 serving as Government Whip, Winnipeg in 2010 as Minister of Public Affairs, and UBC in 2012 as LofO. Entrenched deep in his soul is an undying love of Camp Phoenix, which Josh attended three times, including once as Campfire Director. He also attended LMEYP and organized it on another occasion. Fun fact: he met his daughter’s godfather through BCYP. Currently, Josh is a journalist/broadcaster in Red Deer, Alberta. Originally from Surrey, he is a lifelong Canucks fan, an avid ally of the LGBTQ2+ community, and is obsessed with Star Wars. He currently has a buzz-cut. #GoTeamFlash
Elisabeth Van Assum
Elizabeth van Assum is originally from Peachland and to those who know her responds to the moniker “Peach” served as a Parliamentarian from 1988 to 1992. Highlights of her time is that she was the first female L of O, introduced legislation to create language gender parity in legislation, helped draft and disseminate sexual harassment policy and voted yes on a PMS to legalize Marijuana. Elisabeth has served once as a Director for BCYP in 1999-2000. During her time in BCYP Elisabeth was active in Camp Phoenix and bringing YP to Northern BC. Currently Elisabeth holds 3 degrees and is a BC Registered Clinical Counselor, passionate about working specifically with young adults dealing with issues related to transitioning to adulthood and also working with transitioning or repressed creative people. Elisabeth is currently politically active with the BCNDP and with working for Transgender Rights in Canada. In her free time Elisabeth is a mother of 2 children and often DJ’s with her spouse. She is also known to cook elaborate feasts and host late night soirees. Elisabeth is an active Buddhist meditator and is known to drink a variety of craft beers. Her motto “If you can’t laugh at yourself you’re missing a really good joke”.
Sky Losier is Senator ex officio. Sky is a first year Senator and a fifth year Member of BCYP. Sky’s membership began in the 85th Parliament where he sat as an opposition backbencher, after that Sky served as Provincial Secretary and Minister of the Islands for the 86th Parliament, Leader of the Opposition for the 87th Parliament, and as Minister of Camp Phoenix for the 88th Parliament. This year Sky is honoured to be serving as Premier of the 89th Parliament. Sky joined BCYP because of his passion for politics but stayed with the organization because of his love of summer camps. In 2016 Sky helped bring back Camp Phoenix and served as Outdoor Adventures Director. In the summer of 2017, Sky had what is undoubtedly the highlight of his time as a Member of BCYP and served as Camp Administrator for Camp Phoenix 2017. When Sky isn’t working on various BCYP projects, he can be found trying to finish his degree in Political Science and Human Dimensions of Climate Change at the University of Victoria and working for Elizabeth May, MP. In what little free time he has, Sky likes to get outside and explore the natural world. One day Sky hopes to visit every National Park in Canada!