Harper Is Proroguing Parliament–What Will This Mean For FATCA?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is proroguing Parliament through a request to the Governor General.  Parliament Suspend  20091230

In an e-mail, Tim said (posted with his permission)

And I feel strongly there is a constitutional argument that no IGA or any other international agreements shall be signed prior to the next Throne speech in October. Some including many in the government might feel differently but there is a strong case that Harper right now is only a “caretaker” government.

In a follow up e-mail, Tim said:
One very real consequence is even after they sign an IGA(or any treaty) it must be put before Parliament for 21 sitting days prior to any further action that can be taken to ratify. If they were to sign an IGA lets say tomorrow the 21 sitting days of Parliament would only start whenever Parliament comes back(October??).  If October 21st were to be the return of Parliament and a throne speech the government can’t introduce legislation to ratify and implement an IGA until November 26th which brings us pretty close to the Winter recess.
I hate the way Harper and McGuinty have misused prorogation (I didn’t even know the word until a few years ago!) to avoid political controversies. If it helps to Stop FATCA, I love it!




31 thoughts on “Harper Is Proroguing Parliament–What Will This Mean For FATCA?

  1. Blaze Post author

    @Atticus: First, take a deep breath!

    If the government doesn’t sign an IGA, the huge dilemma for the banks is they can’t ask for your place of birth under Canada’s Bank Act, Human Rights Code and Privacy Act.

    To allow banks to do that, the government would need to change the laws, which would take a huge amount of time. If the government does that, then we consider a Charter Challenge, but we would have the time it is working through Parliament to get our case organized and get CCLA and other organizations and lawyer solidly behind us.

    If Canadian banks begin closing accounts of Canadians just because we were born in U.S, we will also immediately go to the media with the strongest stories possible. When we do that, I think they will stop singing their “tax cheat” song.

    Even FATCA regulations don’t require banks to ask for place of birth on existing accounts. Rather, it directs banks to use the information they have.

    That is why we in Canada are more protected that many other countries. I understand many, many countries require a birth certificate to open an account.

    In Canada, only a Canadian birth certificate can be used to open a bank account. A bank cannot accept a foreign birth certificate as ID for opening a bank account.

    We are protected by Canadian laws. We know it, the banks know it and the government knows it. More importantly, they know we know it.

    Changing the laws would require a constitutional change. Remember Meech Lake. Is any politician prepared to go down that road again to appease a foreign government? Political suicide.

    Investment accounts with US source income are different. I don’t know how that would be viewed if it was ever challenged in a Canadian court.

    There is another Sandboxer who has some ideas on how we can organize in advance of an IGA or in advance of FATCA. I think something may be posted here with those thoughts soon.

    1. calgary411

      Thanks so much for your detailed comment at Isaac Brock. Newcomers to both your site and IBS should be up to date on this issue. I’ll be interested in the other Sandboxer idea for preparing ahead of time.

  2. AtticusinCanada

    You’re all so KIND!

    At any rate back to the IGA issue. I’m wondering, if Canada has no IGA signed by the so called deadline then where does that leave our banks? Some of them have already made statements about it, so are they going ahead IGA or no? And if so, then aside from suing them what other options are there? I suppose at that point you’d be asked to sign away rights or have your accounts closed? This is going to get very, very sticky if Canada hasn’t signed something by the time of a deadline.

    I have such favourable terms at my bank or did have. Two percent interest mortgage and four percent on credit card. Sure, I WILL move to credit union mortgage and all but, damn their rates are so much higher. We’re not spring chicks here. I just wonder about everyone else’s situation, I’m sure there are MANY far more complicated than mine.

    So, if we end up with no IGA and our banks intend to FATCA everyone there is no way they can do it without getting you to sign all kinds of waivers in order to “share” information with the USG. Thoughts? Where do we go with the banking situation should Canada not sign? I’m ready to sue but, do feel the government will likely want to have the back of the banks, not us.

  3. Blaze Post author

    Now we know why we have Atticus in Canada.

    You are right, this is not as horrific as some things that happened in the 60s, KuKluxKlan, Vietnam, Kent State, assassinations, etc.

    It is, however, one more example of US rage out of control.

    You are your mother’s daughter. She would be proud. So would Atticus Finch.

  4. AtticusinCanada

    Was interviewed today by WSJ, used my real name again. I DO feel nervous about that but, I don’t think they want people under fake names. Since that publication reaches those inside the U.S. a lot more I went ahead.

    People remember the sixties fondly and it was exciting on many levels but, it was also dangerous as can be. Many do not remember how dangerous it was. My mother was very involved in the civil rights movement in the south in a place she didn’t have a lot of support. I still remember her holding meetings in our home that sometimes went over night. The white southern mean sheriff in our town lived right across the street so she would go one by one and pick people up and sneak them in our back door. The town officials DID find out thought….what followed was a few years of utter terror. I was proud of her. She never backed down and was not intimidated no matter what happened after she was found out. She offered to let my sister and I go live with our grandparents in a somewhat safer place…we didn’t go anywhere. We were so proud of what she was doing we stayed. There was nothing beneath those people. We had police dogs barking in our faces *her children* once when they pulled her over to search her trunk…right…a young mother was REALLY a dangerous person. They were the ones with the guns. I was terrified but, she taught me to never back down.

    This is not as scary as that was. It’s horribly wrong but, looking back it all comes back to me with the way things are going these days exactly what they are capable of in so many ways. I do feel guilty though. WE DO need critical mass and activism on that level again at times. Sadly, I can’t complain as I have done nothing but, digital activism.. It is helpful though to remember that others have had to deal with a lot more than this when standing up to our “neighbour to the south”

  5. Blaze Post author

    As we’re tripping down memory lane, here is a transcript of a fascinating and surprising conversation between Nixon and Trudeau.


    I thought they hated each other.

    Nixon: ..and then you have to let ’em go, and it breaks your heart, but that’s the way it happens.

    Trudeau: Well, exactly, and you’re quite right. The sad thing is, they do it with good intentions, and, uh..

    Nixon: That’s right, and this is all such a picayune-sish damn thing, but it was wrong.

    Trudeau: Well, I..

    Nixon: But I’ll tell ya, we’ll survive it, Mr. Prime Minister..

    Trudeau: I’m sure you will. Mr. President.

    Nixon:… but your call I will always remember.

    Trudeau: Well, I , I certainly never forgot that you called me when I was..

    Nixon: Ha, ha, ha, ha! Well… We pol- you know, we should have a union, we politicians have got to stick together.

    Trudeau: Well, that’s the way we gotta to do it, and I think we see things the right way.

    Nixon: Well, I appreciate.. Incidentally, I wanted to tell you, Kissinger just left, he’s going over to see [North Vietnamese politician] Le Duc Tho, it will be announced today in Paris next week, and as soon as he gets back, I’ll have him be sure that you get a report, because I know your decision on this thing is imminent.

    Trudeau: (unintelligible) .

    Nixon: And, uh, that way, we’ll, we’ll have a better fix on whether.. how, how to let you know how the thing is coming. But we do appreciate what you’ve done, and I’ll keep you totally posted on his visit, which will be next Thursday.

    Trudeau: Certainly appreciate that. Thank you very much, Mr. President!

    Nixon: How good of you to call.

    Trudeau: (unintelligible) Bye.

    Yikes! Do you think Obama and Harper are talking about sticking together? Probably not, considering that Obama stuck it to Harper on Keystone XL.

  6. Blaze Post author

    “Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d never end…”

    We need those activism skills with us now in standing up to IRS bullies.

    @Hazy: I had forgotten about the Hard Hat riots until you reminded me. I was living in New York City then, but didn’t begin working in Wall Street area until a few months after that.

    We have wonderful memories of the late 60s and early 70s, but there was some truly horrific stuff going on at the same time.


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