When realtors showed up in Victoria last month to lobby provincial legislators, they invited two New Democrat MLAs - Doug Donaldson and Shane Simpson - to speak to them about their party's position on the harmonized sales tax. But there was no similar panel featuring Liberal MLAs. So what happened? Well, in an interview with Public Eye, British Columbia Real Estate Association communications director Damian Stathonikos explained, "We've been talking quite a bit with the minister of finance and his organization over the last little while. So we were fairly confident that we knew what the Liberals had to say around HST and how it applies to real estate and the implications for our members." However, the association - which has expressed concern about that tax measure - hadn't "spent as much time talking to the opposition." As a result, the realtors "wanted to get a sense of what the opposition is saying" rather that hearing the same message they've already heard from government. But, that being said, Mr. Stathonikos stated realtors did arrange private meetings with Liberal MLAs during the association's government liaison days - which took place between April 25 to 27.
May 11, 2010