CCLA Registers FATCA Privacy Concerns

Finally, Canadian Civil Liberties Association has sent an Open Letter To Ministry of Finance
I’m happy CCLA has registered their concerns.   I would have preferred for the concerns to have been addressed more strongly and more thoroughly, but at least CCLA has made a public statement on this.
When I say I would have preferred the concerns to be more thoroughly addressed, I am referring to the fact the letter addresses primarily privacy concerns, but equality, human rights and Charter issues seem less strongly expressed.
I like statements at the end of the letter:  In relation to the Finance Minister’s own earlier comments, CCLA says:

This should be the Canadian government’s starting and end point.  Privacy-invasive collection and disclosure of personal information should only be done when necessary.  Under the Canadian government’s own assessment, that threshold has not been met in this case.

They also encourage the government to do exactly what it should be doing:

The CCLA therefore urges the Canadian government to stand up for its citizens and residents and resist invasive, unnecessary foreign-imposed violations of individual privacy.

CCLA has also posted an E-Bulletin on CCLA Website.



21 thoughts on “CCLA Registers FATCA Privacy Concerns

  1. I thanked Abby Deshman at CCLA for the letter, but told her I was surprised and disappointed that the letter focused primarily on privacy issues, but less so on human rights, equality or Charter issues.
    This was included in Abby’s reply to me: “What personal information banks can/can’t ask for from their customers is a privacy issue, and I do view privacy as absolutely central to individual dignity and human rights… Sorry you were disappointed!”

    1. Thank you, Blaze for a job well done. You contacted them quite some time ago and followed through. I thought the letter they sent to Flaherty was excellent.
      Their’s is a louder voice than all of ours; perhaps this will wake up our government.

  2. Great work Blaze. Did you see this comment by Jim Jatras over at IBS.. ?
    This is excellent!! Can we get someone from CCLU to the PCParty Forum in Toronto on Dec 15?

  3. Another thanks to Blaze for your persistence.
    Not to get one’s hopes up too high, but I feel a few are starting to listen. I’m looking forward to more comments by individuals and groups who are becoming aware of the dangers of FATCA. Maybe even some MP’s will speak up!

  4. I will try to send something to Abby later this week. There are some technical points that I am not sure the letter got across correctly.

  5. This is super! Thanks for your work making the CCLA aware of the serious dangers FACTA poses to civil liberties and encouraging them to take a stand against it!

  6. BRAVO Blaze, very well done! Persistence does pay off. (I hate to think how much time you’ve spent bugging CCLU about this, but finally you got the organization to move on it!)
    Particularly encouraging they posted a bulletin on their website about this; that may help raise the profile of the issue among some activist and concerned Canadians who weren’t aware of it yet.

  7. @Schubert: “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” (Benjamin Franklin)
    Ben, of course, didn’t know about FATCA. If it he were here, I believe Ben would be fighting hard with the rest of us.
    With our combined energy and persistence, I hope we can conquer FATCA.

  8. On December 5 I sent an e-mail to my MP with a link to the CCLA website release of their letter. The text of my e-mail to my MP follows:
    Just calling your attention to the fact that yesterday the Canadian Civil Liberties Union issued a letter to Finance Canada, commenting on the current Canada-US (behind closed doors) negotiations over an intergovernmental agreement on FATCA. CCLU has raised strong privacy concerns over the proposed agreement. I urge you to read this letter and incorporate its points, and the fact that CCLU (which is a non-partisan organization) has taken a stand on this issue, in your own actions and opposition to this horrible proposed agreement.
    Parliament absolutely must see and debate and vote on any such agreement, and it should vote against it (not that I have much faith the Conservative majority will defeat it).
    Late this afternoon (December 11) I received the following reply from my MP:
    Thank you for your recent e-mail and a copy of CCLA’s letter to Finance Canada over negotiations to the intergovernmental agreement on FATCA, discussing your privacy concerns .
    Unfortunately, my colleagues and I are not privy to the current discussions between the government and the US regarding intergovernmental agreement on FATCA. Like you, I continue to share concerns over privacy and sovereignty issues around the agreement, and my colleagues and I will continue to monitor and actively seek information from the government.
    I have been talking to my colleague, Hoang Mai, the NDP’s Critic for National Revenue, who expects that there may be more developments at the end of the month on the agreement. I appreciate your efforts to keep me informed about your concerns with FATCA, and please be assured that the NDP will be closely monitoring the negotiations and the government pronouncements on the issue.
    Paul Dewar, MP
    Ottawa Centre
    (For those who are not aware, Paul is the NDP’s Foreign Affairs critic and was one of the contenders for the NDP leadership last year.)

    1. For those who have expressed concerns about where is the NDP (and the Liberals) on these issues, please note Paul’s comments about being kept in the same dark as the rest of us as to what exactly the government is negotiating behind closed doors. As in fact they and we have been kept in the dark on all sorts of things that our elected representatives in Parliament have a right to be informed on by the Harper government, well beyond FATCA and IGA and the rest of it. They’re doing what they can on these issues and on fighting the government’s omnibus legislation (which omnibus legislation Harper had roundly condemned the Liberals for doing some years ago). Remember that the next time you see a Conservative candidate’s name on a federal election ballot. The opposition parties can only do so much in the face of this secretive and profoundly undemocratic approach to parliamentary government.

      1. Thanks Schubert
        Don Whiteley and several others have told me at this point nothing will happen until next year(although at one point end of 2012 was a goal). I do find it hard to imagine that many people will be working in Ottawa over the holiday break. This is the time of year that even cabinet ministers leave Ottawa for their ridings.
        I will also add for those of you going to the UofT event MP Craig Scott is having his open to public holiday party not too far away that same day in the Danforth. So some may want to leave early depending on how early the UofT ends.'s_first_annual_holiday_party_in_toronto-danforth
        The event is at the Factory Girl Restaurant at 193 Danforth Avenue. I forget what exact TTC stops to take it just a few stops away from Museum.

  9. I e-mailed John Weston several times, wrote him detailed letters and visited his vancouver office twice. No satisfaction. I told them my vote was up for grabs. Unfortunately, this is a solid Conservative riding.

  10. Has anyone tried to get into contact with the ACLU? I would think that their focus on “Defending Targets of Discrimination” ( is germaine to our problems. The ACLU mention voting rights and specifically Arizona, whose anti-immigration laws are causing problems for overseas voters (
    What about the proportional representation argument? As we are not counted in the Census, we are not proportially represented (Article 1, Section 2 USCONST).

  11. @Jefferson: I will definitely not be contacting ACLU. My position is I am not a “US person” because I relinquished US citizenship 40 years ago.
    I think a US citizen would have be more effective contacting ACLU.
    However, CCLA does sometimes work with ACLU. I will ask my contact there if she has or will be in contact with ACLU>
    Has anyone else contacted ACLU?

  12. Was revisiting this issue. Here is an up to date link to the CCLA letter to Finance re FATCA:
    Here is the link to the FATCA presentation by Arthur Cockfield at the CCLA sponsored Pathways2Privacy/Parcours2Protection de la Vie Privée proceedings (Toronto, March 20 and 21st, 2014
    Cockfield’s paper:

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