Monthly Archives: October 2013

Canadian Business: FATCA Could Hit Unsuspecting Canadians

Here is an article FATCA Could Hit Unsuspecting Canadians.
It first appeared in Canadian Business. Then CNET. Then, it appeared in MacLean’s under a different title.
The article reports Hsu and Brison “have a bunch of questions” about FATCA.
It also says:

To say that FATCA is controversial is an understatement.

And:

It has caused a stir in Canada as well, but the press here generally portrays it as something that affects only dual citizens and green-card holders. Given the number of Americans who live in Canada, that would be enough to make it a big issue (and a big headache for Ottawa). But the truth is FATCA has the potential to touch a much larger number of unsuspecting Canadians.
Want to know more about how it might all play out? Well, Hsu and Brison are a good place to start.

The final question the article asks is:

Is FATCA even constitutional?

The author posted a thank you to Allison Christians at McGill University for her help in researching the article.

FATCA Hat Trick

I sent an e-mail to Maura Drew-Lytle and Terry Campbell last evening suggesting we have a Canadian Hat Trick with three opposition parties resisting FATCA.
Here is what I said:

Some might call it a FATCA hat trick. Three opposition parties standing up for Canadians on FATCA.

First, it was Elizabeth May and the Green party.
A few weeks ago, NDP Revenue Critic Murray Rankin joined the resistance:
Shortly after, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair sent e–mails to Canadians. Next was NDP Finance Critic Peggy Nash.
Now, two Liberal MPs, Dr. Ted Hsu (supported by former justice Minister, former law professor and international law and human rights expert MP Irwin Cotler) and Finance and Revenue critic Scott Brison have asked several direct questions on FATCA in an order paper.
Here are the questions in a more readable format than in the Order Paper.
 Canadians will not allow their banks and other financial institutions to violate their fundamental rights. We now have the clear support of three parties in our fight. We are also in ongoing contact with a prominent constitutional lawyer and Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

What will CBA do? Will you stand up for Canadians or will you capitulate to a foreign government?

“You have a choice, Sirs. You could do better.”

Maura Drew-Lytle responded this morning:

Thank you for the information.

Toronto Protest November 13-14 (Canadian Institute)

IRSCompliantForever is trying to organize a protest for Toronto Convention Centre November 13-14.
This one is not directed at the government. Rather, it is for the Canadian Institute’s 19th Annual Regulatory Compliance for Financial Instutions.
Included on the agenda is:

  • Navigating the hurdles preventing you from achieving compliance with FATCA

What could that mean? It couldn’t mean finding ways to circumvent Canadian laws. Could it?
Can anyone join him?
 
 

Order Paper Questions From Liberal Scott Brison

It keeps getting better and better.
Just as with Ted Hsu’s questions on Friday, Liberal Finance and Revenue Critic Scott Brison submitted an Order Paper (Q~127) with just as many questions on Monday.
Many of these focus on financial aspects of FATCA. The last two don’t, but are gems:

(yy) has the government considered the correspondence of Peter Hogg regarding FATCA and if so, (i) with what impact on policy development, (ii) with what conclusion; and
(zz) what steps will the government take to minimize any infringement of Canadian Charter rights by any implementation of FATCA?

Just like with Hsu’s questions, the government should be able to quickly answer most of the questions with just one word:

Oops.

 

URGENT need for support for Ted Hsu's question Q-121 re FATCA

PLEASE, everyone write to Flaherty and ask that he answer Hsu’s questions not only thoroughly but PROMPTLY. December 13 is his deadline; if there is going to be a Canada-US IGA at all, I strongly suspect it will be announced before then. Canadians should have the answers to Hsu’s questions BEFORE then, or no later than when it is tabled in Parliament. Timing isn’t good, if it drags to December 13, IMO. Also, let’s keep the pressure up.
I am providing below, for suggestions (but NOT for copy-paste, individual letters have more weight than petitions and boilerplate emails IMO but some might disagree), what I sent this afternoon to Flaherty, cc to Hsu’s office, my MP, and Murray Rankin (NDP Revenue Critic and point-person for the NDP caucus on FATCA).
It would be ESPECIALLY useful for those of you living in ridings currently held by Conservatives to do this today or tomorrow, given that on Wednesday or Thursday most Tory MPs will be off to their convention in Calgary — where I would hope FATCA will come up.
Continue reading URGENT need for support for Ted Hsu's question Q-121 re FATCA

FATCA Protest at the Conservative Party Convention in Calgary

There are a few of us (yes, a very few, but I hope more will join us), who plan to protest against FATCA at the Conservative party convention in Calgary this week. I’ve NEVER done anything like this, ever, but I feel strongly enough about this to get out there. I’ll make some big posters and stand out in the cold hoping that someone actually notices us and pays attention. Although, even if they don’t, I’ll feel like I’ve done something positive and made a statement that I needed to make.
The convention runs from Thursday, Oct 31 to Saturday, Nov 2 at the BMO Centre. The address is 20 Roundup Way, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1
Calgary411 has been instrumental in setting this up, and I’m linking to the post and comments on Isaac Brock Society. BorninCanada will try to be there, as well.

Calgary protest to FATCA outside the Canadian Conservative Convention, Calgary, AB


Calgary411 is creating FATCA sheets to hand out.
She says, “My plan at this moment is:

Thursday, October 31: by 11:30 a.m. at spot suggested by Calgary Police Service, across the street from Victoria Park / Stampede LRT Station (west side of northbound Macleod Trail). Convention registration starts at noon.
Friday, November 1: arrive early enough to get a parking spot nearby and be on above spot sometime before 8:00 a.m. / tentatively going to one or more hotels to try to catch delegates to hand out information.
Saturday, November 2: arrive early enough to get a parking spot (should be easier than on Friday)and be on the above spot sometime before 8:00 a.m. — then play it by ear for Saturday afternoon.
I also made a trip past the recommended place for demonstrations for the Conservative Convention. This is a link for the LRT Station, Victoria Park/Stampede. http://www.lrtincalgary.ca/VictoriaPark.html. You can actually see the “grassy spot” recommended as the best place by Calgary Police Service. I will try to nab the southeast corner of the grassy spot as close as possible to the overpass over Macleod Trail (northbound), which is public property. The Stampede Grounds where BMO Centre is = private property — so we’re not allowed there.” Continue reading FATCA Protest at the Conservative Party Convention in Calgary

CCTV: "US. Will Soon Have Free Pass To Bank Accounts Anywhere In World"

Peter Dunn (aka Petros) was interviewed on CCTV (China Central Television)
Peter says:

“FATCA was the greatest threat to (his) family” and lead to his relinquishment.

Peter refers to the US Berlin Wall and points out:
U.S. “Consulates are all busy, all the time” with relinquishments and renunciations.
US Treasury, Peter is not a myth.
The reporter says Canada is about to sign FATCA. However, I don’t have the sense he has any inside information. He may just be regurgitating what has been reported elsewhere.
He does make one of the most insightful and accurate comments I’ve heard from a reporter towards the end:

U.S. will soon have a free pass to its citizens bank accounts anywhere in the world. It’s not surprising many Americans are deciding the cost to that passport is too high.”

Thanks Just Me for tweeting this. Thanks Petros for speaking out.
 
 
 
 
 

FATCA IGA Questions from Liberal MP in House of Commons

As always, Tim is a phenomenal source of information.
Yesterday (October 25), Kingston and the Islands Liberal MP Ted Hsu,presented an Order Paper with numerous questions about an IGA and FATCA in the House of Commons (see question 121-2)
His questions range from the authority for negotiating an IGA to who was consulted to  the Charter, privacy and other legal issues. They also include questions on Canadians who believed they relinquished decades ago and questions on dual citizens and Canadian residents.
Mr. Hsu is AtticusinCanada’s MP. She has been in touch with him several times about FATCA. She thought she hadn’t had much success. This may be a game changer.
A few weeks ago, I discovered Mr. Tsu was born in United States (Oklahoma). He came to Canada when he was six months old. His American birth is not mentioned in any of his political information. He refers to himself as the son of Chinese immigrants. No one knows if he still is a U.S. citizen, but he has studied and worked in United States, so either he maintained U.S. citizenship or he had a Green Card to work there.
Plus, his wife is an American. She immigrated to Canada a few years ago after she married him. One daughter was born in Canada. The other may have been born in U.S.
Atticus spoke briefly with Mr. Tsu at the protest on Parliament Hill. I will let you fill you in on the details.
I’m not sure what the requirements or time lines are for Flaherty or others to respond to these questions. Does anyone else know? Tim?
 
 

FATCA Attack Around The Globe

Americans living around the world are feeling under attack. This assault is not coming from terrorists. Rather, it is an attack on their personal integrity and  financial lives from the United States government, Congress, Department of Treasury, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
U.S. Treasury and IRS expect every financial institution on the planet to become their personal spies.
That is according to an article, FATCA Attack Around The Globe by Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) at OpEd News
The article also asks:

How in the world did having legal bank accounts, savings, and investments in the country where one lives, earns an honest income, and pays taxes become suspected of criminal or “illicit activities.”

And says:

To stop the onslaught and to protect themselves, their families, their homes and their finances, an increasing  number are taking the previously unthinkable step of renouncing U.S. citizenship.

The article concludes:

“US persons” living outside US simply need the same rights their ancestors had: The right to live honest, responsible, productive lives in their countries of choice without invasive interference into their financial affairs from the land that they once called home–and which many once cherished.
 

 

FINTRAC Collects Too Much Finacial Information

Well, this certainly doesn’t instill confidence in Canadian banks and the Canadian government around financial privacy.
In a report to Parliament today, Jennifer Stoddart, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, reported FINTRAC Collects Too Much Information On Innocent Canadians.
I had no idea there even was a Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre. Did anyone else know that?
This says:

By law, Canadian banks, casinos and thousands of other businesses are required to report all financial transactions over $10,000, and any movement of money they suspect may be linked to terrorism or laundering the proceeds of crime.

What?!? Does that mean that the money I transferred from my bank to my credit union recently had to be reported to FINTRAC?
The article also says:

Instead, Stoddart’s investigators found everyday financial transactions of ordinary Canadians — things such as down payments for homes and cars, and wire transfers from families overseas to their children studying here.

Stoddart’s report points out that FINTRAC has amassed over 165 million reports containing personal information about financial transactions.
Civil Liberties groups are on it.

Civil liberties advocates say that likely means that thousands of innocent Canadians have been put under a cloud of suspicion, lumped in with suspected money launderers and terrorist financiers.

 
This is beginning to sound something like FATCA.