Jim Flaherty’s staff, that’s who!
According to lobby communications logs (and yes, ITQ wishes there was a slightly less clunky way to refer to it, but there just isn’t), earlier this week, Flaherty’s chief of staff Derek Vanstone and policy advisor Sophia Arvanitis met with a lobbyist for the Tim Hortons Advertising and Promotion Fund to discuss, of all things, the Ontario HST — something that federal Conservatives have been increasingly loath to laud, given the simmering disgruntlement that it has provoked on the part of their provincial PC cousins.
(Presumably, the subject didn’t come up when the prime minister dropped by Tim Hortons headquarters earlier this month to take credit for luring the company back to Canada with the promise of rock-bottom corporate tax rates.)
This being Ottawa, the coincidences don’t stop there, though: the lobbyist in question is Tom Trbovich, once the chief of staff to Brian Mulroney’s finance minister, Michael Wilson, who brought in the GST in the first place, and who was a senior advisor to Mulroney himself when the tax was first proposed in 1989. He left before it became law, but at least he can provide tea and sympathy to the current minister should the prime minister go ahead with what the NDP’s Nathan Cullen keeps insisting is his secret plan to induce an election by bringing in legislation to formalize the HST deal with British Columbia before the end of the year. (Seriously, does that make any sense to anyone at all? Because from the perspective of the government — or, really, any party other than the NDP, ITQ can’t think of a worse way to go down.)
Sorry, went off on a wee bit of a tangent there. Anyway — look! Donuts! Lobbyists! The HST! Share and enjoy!
UPDATE – This isn’t really an update, but an admission: ITQ has tried to get over it, but she can’t — it really, really unsettles her that there is no apostrophe in Tim Hortons. (For the record, Red Squiggle doesn’t seem terribly impressed with it either.)