FATCA Under Fire In Canada

Globe and Mail is reporting Canada’s Information Sharing Deal With US Is Under Fire
The article covers many points we already know. It also misses some really important points.
The lead on the article says:

A debate over fighting tax evasion versus protecting personal privacy looms large for Canada as it prepares to announce a deal with the United States to share banking information.

As we know, this is NOT about tax evasion.  Canadian citizens and residents pay tax on their income from bank accounts and other assets in Canada.  Many of us have not had a connection to US in decades. Others have never had a connection to US other than being born there when parents were working in US or because their mother was sent to an American hospital to give birth.
The author reports on what Canadian banks want:

Canadian banks have urged Ottawa to take on the reporting duties through the Canada Revenue Agency, which could ensure that privacy laws are respected when information is sent south of the border.

He is not getting the point that does not resolve the problem. Why should Canadians with some obscure tie to US have to report all details about their finances to CRA when other Canadians do not.
More importantly, our information should never be submitted to a foreign government–and especially not to a foreign government which has significant problems with identity theft and protection of personal information.
He does get one point right:

There has been little debate on the issue so far, partly because no details on the talks between Canada and the U.S. have been released. However, Ottawa is promising to make the deal public once it is signed.

Queen’s law professor Art Cockfield sums it up well:

“No foreign government should be able to come into our country and demand personal information about our own citizens and residents.”

However, that statement is followed by:

The negotiations are aimed at smoothing over this problem by ensuring exchanges are mutual and at the government-to-government level.ad

No, that does not resolve or smooth over the problem. We should have the same rights as all other Canadians to manage our finances in confidence and privacy with our banks without involvement of either the Canadian or any foreign government.

3 thoughts on “FATCA Under Fire In Canada

  1. FYI, I think there is 50 percent chance on of two things happens. Harper steps down as PM or Flaherty is shuffled out of Finance. Either would be pretty big deals. I don’t think if Harper stays on he will want to keep Flaherty after Flaherty invited himself publically to stay in his current job.

  2. What?!? Where has that come from? Harper step down as PM?!? What?!?
    Harper is far too much of a control freak to ever step down–unless he has something far bigger on the horizon.
    Of course,Harper’s high school yearbook did say his Pet Peeve is Reality. Maybe he’s getting too much of it as PM.
    So, if Flaherty is shuffled out of Cabinet and out of Finance, where does that leave us?

  3. OK. I Googled Stephen Harper Step Down. Apparently, there has been some speculation in the media that this could happen.
    McLean’s says Chantal Hebert started it with a column in early June.
    Chantal Hebert wrote in Toronto Star:
    “With every passing day, the notion that Stephen Harper could pack it in before the next election and let someone else try to keep his fractious party whole enough to hang onto power in two years sound less and less far-fetched.”
    A few days later, Tim Harper (whom I don’t believe is “our” Tim and I don’t believe is related to Stephen) wrote another article in which he said:
    “Voter fatigue with the leader would almost certainly outstrip fatigue with the party itself and if he decides to stay, Harper would be giving the finger to fate and ignoring history.”
    Then, Michael DenTandt wrote in Ottawa Citizen that shuffling Cabinet and putting on a shiny new face might not be enough.
    “Voter fatigue with the leader would almost certainly outstrip fatigue with the party itself and if he decides to stay, Harper would be giving the finger to fate and ignoring history.”
    But, Paul Wells says “He’s not going to quit…I suspect we’ll have Stephen Harper around for a while yet.”
    I may not like it, but I think Paul Wells prediction is most likely scenario in the short term. Somehow, I can’t see Stephen Harper taking a “walk in the snow” like Pierre Trudeau did.
    Harper’s style is more like riding a bull at the Calgary Stampede without getting thrown off. He may come out of it a bit bruised, but still hanging on.
    Of course, he still has more bulls in the form of Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, Pamela Wallin and unhappy back benchers to deal with. How long can he hang on?
    So, back to our issue. What does all of this mean for us?

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