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.
Here’s what I wrote today:
Dear Minister Flaherty,
Mr. Ted Hsu (MP-Kingston and the Islands) has submitted a written question (Q-121) concerning the government’s negotiations with the US concerning FATCA, for today’s Order Paper, which I believe he submitted last Friday.
I think the answers to this question are very important. I think Canadians generally, as well as Parliamentarians, should have the answers to these questions, no later than when (and if) an Intergovernmental Agreement is announced and tabled in Parliament. Though I understand the government has 45 days to reply to these questions, I would hope the answers are fairly straightforward. Either the government has the studies and has done the consultations which are the subject of the questions, and therefore should be able to release that information and those studies promptly, or it hasn’t done the studies and consultations mentioned — which is something I think would be of grave interest and concern to all Canadians. In either case, I think it important that these questions be addressed sooner than December 13, and certainly before or no later than any announcement of an IGA, if in fact there is to be one.
Please give Mr. Hsu’s questions your immediate attention. They address a subject of grave concern to the sovereignty of Canadian banking and privacy law, to the provisions of the Canada-US Taxation Treaty, and to the Charter rights of hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens and residents. The subject also, I believe, has implications and impacts on the provinces, particularly those with their own Human Rights codes and legislations governing credit unions, which are going to be affected by FATCA if it is to be permitted in any way in Canada.
As you know from previous correspondence, I am strongly opposed to any provisions of any agreement with the United States which would in any way compromise Canada’s banking and privacy legislation, our joint taxation treaty, and the Charter rights of any Canadian residents, regardless of citizenship. In my strong opinion, the only information on Canadian banking and investment accounts which should be shared with the US for taxation purposes, is information pertaining to Canadian accounts held by US (not Canadian) residents.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.