Finally! A "Response" But "Few Answers" to Ted Hsu Questions

Finally, the government “responds to Ted Hsu’s questions.
But, Dr. Hsu says:

You can see the response to my Order Paper Question on FATCA. It is a long response (226 pages in both official languages), but it’s surprising how few answers there are to a 55 part question! For instance, on page 75 I asked the Minister of Finance to provide a list of specific individuals and groups he had consulted with regarding FATCA and the response was simply that “The Government of Canada has consulted and has been contacted by individuals and groups to discuss the implications of FATCA and an IGA in Canada.” I also asked which studies and analyses the Department of Finance had undertaken with respect to FATCA, and was told that “The Department of Finance is reviewing the implications of FATCA on an ongoing basis. FATCA has raised a number of concerns in Canada- among both dual Canada-U.S. citizens and Canadian financial institutions.”

As Dr. Hsu also says:

We all deserve better answers from the government.

He’s asking for our help:

I know there is a lot of expertise out there to help analyse and pick through this response. So I invite you to do so on my facebook, and please let me know what you find.
Thank you!
Ted

I haven’t had time to review the “response” yet because I wanted to quickly get this posted. After we have had time to read this, I hope we will all pitch in and share a “lot of expertise ” to analsye this for Dr. Hsu.
Yikes! Lots to do. Help Dr. Hsu, do submission to help friends in New Zealand, write articles, organize information session. Have a life?
I understand from one of Dr. Hsu’s staff that “responses” to Scott Brison’s questions are expected later this week. I think we should be prepared for more weaseling.
 
 

25 thoughts on “Finally! A "Response" But "Few Answers" to Ted Hsu Questions

  1. I just skimmed the first 109 pages. Most ministries have written a non response, but the CRA’s response is worth noting, although it just basically says they are waiting for negotiations to conclude to see what will have to be done.
    The response from Finance is a must read as it does note that any agreement would require parliamentary approval. They are still working on a model 1IGA. Section i) says “unless an agreement is in place” institutions and us people will be required to comply. Section z) points out that under the current model there would be no penalties for RESPs, TFSAs, etc.
    I am too angry to read anymore right now…

  2. I just skimmed it too but, have saved it and will print it later today to go over more in depth as a hard copy. That way I can use my trusty high lighter.
    Yes, it’s really busy right now. Trying to continue with the ads for this next meeting too right up to the last minute. Worried a little about attendance and so do want to make this worth the presenters time.
    What I want to know is how is this legal for the government to give such non answers? Mr. Hsu and the rest of us deserve in depth answers to his in depth questions. The government blew him off in essence and us along with him. That is utterly unacceptable. Is there a better course of action that Mr. Hsu can take? Any recourse for the shoddy lack of response? I’m frankly appalled at what I did read there. Nothing to give any help or any real response to his questions at all. Just “we don’t know” “We’re working on such and such” “We don’t know” “We’re not responsible” “Not our department” What?

  3. @Atticus: Remember my original prediction about their responses?
    These responses are fancy bureaucrat lingo for “Ooops.”

  4. And, sort of ‘get your nose out of our business — we’ll let you know when we’re ready to tell you.’ Disgusting really!
    Similar to a US border guard saying to someone crossing from Canada: “You’re a US citizen until we tell you you’re not.”

  5. Citizenship and Immigration Canada answered:

    “CIC does not have any information related to this question.”

    Well, that doesn’t exactly instill confidence that our Canadian citizenship and the words on our citizenship certificates mean anything, does it?

  6. Here is some more information I pulled out of the “response”
    In reply to the question about compatibility with Canadian laws and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Finance Canada replied:

    Canada respects the sovereign rights of the US to determine its own tax legislation and its efforts to combat tax evasion-the underlying objective of FATCA…
    The Minister of Justice is required to examine all government legislation introduced in or presented to the House of Commons for inconsistency with the Charter of Rights.

    So, what does the Minister of Justice say?

    If relevant information to this question exists, it would be subject to solicitor client privilege; therefore the Department of Justice cannot provide a response (four times on page 124)

    On how FATCA will affect those of us who had every reason to believe we relinquished US citizenship when we became Canadians, here’s what the Finance Minister said p.76)

    The government of Canada is not able to provide tax advice with respect to individuals who may have tax obligations in other jurisdictions.

    So, there you have it folks in nutshell. CIC does not have any information on FATCA (or simply doesn’t care). Finance relies on Justice on laws and Charter. Justice is mum. And the government of Canada now seems to think we all may have a tax obligation to the United States.
    It seems we have an answer to our Simple Question. Do all Canadians have the same rights under Canada’s laws and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The answer seems to be Yes, unless you had the misfortune to be born in the U.S. or have some other bizarre past connection to the United States.

  7. Allison Christians has posted the Canadian Government Responses to Ted Hsu’s questions on her blog.
    She also has posted the replies to Scott Brison’s questions there. More weasel words, but no real answers.
    Allison is kinder to the government than I am about the reasons for the non-responses.

    Most of the questions remain unanswered for one of two reasons: (1) FATCA is US law, not Canadian law, so no one in Canada is in charge of enforcing it, and therefore most agencies have little or no information and (2) Canada is negotiating with the US on an IGA and so nothing can be estimated about the scope, cost, implications, or consequences of FATCA in Canada unless and until such agreement is in place. (costs to the government in negotiating and internal briefing on the law “have been absorbed within existing resource levels.”)
    More review to come.

  8. First can Ted Hsu have a place to answer question other than Facebook. I Will not join,
    “(v) what studies and analyses have been undertaken to determine whether Canadian citizens and residents
    are or will be denied financial services in Canada owing toUS tax law in general and FATCA in particular; (w)
    ‘ what are the conclusions or recommendations of the studies in (v); (x) what mechanisms are in place to ·
    ensure that Canadian citizens and residents are not and will not be denied financial services in Canada owing
    toUS tax law in general and FATCA in particular; (y) what measures will be taken to remedy deniai of
    services to Canadians as a result of FATCA;
    The negotiations between Canada and the U.S. on an IGA are based on the Model 1 IGA released by the U.S.
    Treasury. The terms of the Mode! 1 IGA would protect clients of financial institutions in Canada from the provisions of
    FATCA that would require Canadian financial institutions to deny access to financial services to certain clients in
    certain situations. This approach would ensure that there would be no conflict with the Access to Basic Banking
    Services Regulations under the Bank Act.”
    1) Does that mean they can not shut down Canadian $ accounts?
    2) What about Canadian only assets (Equity and Provincial Bonds) in a brokerage account?
    Interest rate at bank are 1.1% on saving account
    Not much to live off of.

  9. Good points George. You might be able to e-mail your input to Ted Hsu directly. Like you, I don’t like Facebook.
    Moodys Gatner is predicting the details of the IGA will be in the budget on February 11.

    As mentioned, we expect the Department of Finance to make an announcement on February 11, 2014 regarding the status of such agreement and the pending implementation of legislation that will need to be introduced to Parliament shortly thereafter.

    I have no idea if they have inside information or if this is more speculation and fear mongering from the compliance complex.

  10. Blaze I think the government will sign an IGA. Even if the NDP were in power they would sign, Canadian trade is just to large for Canada to ignore Obama. We also depend on USA for a lot of borrowing and there is a lot of Canadian who invest in USA equities.
    Will you go through with Supreme Court appeal. I think the Canadian government does not really want to defend it too much. Are you prepared to start Supreme Court challenge
    If the Canadian Supreme Court rules against most of FATCA. (US $ assets account may still be subject to 30% for reticent account).

  11. laze I think the government will sign an IGA. Even if the NDP were in power they would sign, Canadian trade is just to large for Canada to ignore Obama. We also depend on USA for a lot of borrowing and there is a lot of Canadian who invest in USA equities.
    Will you go through with Supreme Court appeal. I think the Canadian government does not really want to defend it too much. Are you prepared to start Supreme Court challenge?
    If the Canadian Supreme Court rules against most of FATCA. (US $ assets account may still be subject to 30% for reticent account). The USA can do little in that case.

  12. Blaze
    Treasury. The terms of the Mode! 1 IGA would protect clients of financial institutions in Canada from the provisions of FATCA that would require Canadian financial institutions to deny access to financial services to certain clients incertain situations. This approach would ensure that there would be no conflict with the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act
    Does that clearly state that the banks can not shut down a Canadian dollar account?
    I had it in my first post

  13. @George: Yes, I will go through with a Charter Challenge all the way to the Supreme Court–if others will join with me. I can’t do it on my own financially, emotionally or physically. I think that is what the government may be counting on, but together we can stand up to them if we have to.
    My interpretation of the sentence about protecting clients from shutting down accounts in accordance with Access to Basic Banking Services seems to indicate financial institutions will not be able to close accounts. So, how will they make us reveal where we were born (in violation of Canada’s banking, privacy and human rights laws) without that threat hanging over our heads?

  14. That a big one. Hopefully it applies to Brokerage account. Could you imagine them shutting down an account with Canadian provincial bond.
    Unfortunately computershare canada is transfer agent for most provinces. They are an American company that keeps record in USA .

  15. Blaze I saw this and strangely it may even help in Supreme Court case
    From
    “Expatriation: The American’s Tax Experience in Canada
    Kevyn Nightingale and David Turchen*
    “Compliance with Prior Tax Obligations (Test 3)
    Scope
    The legislation mandates only compliance with all requirements under title 26 of the US Code (that is, the IRC). The FBAR requirement is in title 31. Consequently, the failure to file FBARs should not prevent certification of compliance.
    Discussions with the IRS indicate that, in its view, FBAR filing is required. However, this position is not consistent with the law”
    If the IRS expect something that is unreasonable and against USA laws and Canadian agreement how can a person expatriate.
    There must be something in Canadian law about a government agency being unreasonable.

  16. Ted Hsu, Scott Brison and Irwin Cotler are making considerable efforts for Canadians.
    Unfortunately, their Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is working at cross purposes. Here is what he wrote (after six months) to one Sandboxer-Brocker:

    Despite its good intentions, the unfortunate consequence of FATCA is that Americans who hold dual citizenship still fall under its authority, and it requires access to their financial information through their banks. As a result of FATCA, there has been a surge in US citizenship renunciations over the past few years, and this trend continues to grow.
    I share your concerns about personal privacy, an issue that is increasingly important to all Canadians. The Conservative government’s efforts to protect the personal privacy of Canadians have been inadequate. The implications of having Canadian banks report directly to a foreign government agency are troublesome. The Liberal Party of Canada will continue to press the government on this issue, and demand a closer examination of FATCA’s effects…

    What?!!? Canadians “fall under the authority” of IRS and FATCA?!? What about the Charter? What about all the unanswered questions from Dr. Hsu and Mr. Brison.
    There is discussion about JT’s reply over at Brock.

  17. I e-mailed the following to Ted Hsu, Scott Brison and Irwin Cotler.

    Thank you again for all your hard work on FATCA. It is disgusting that the responses to your comprehensive questions were so evasive. I found it chilling that neither Finance nor Justice will make a simple statement that any agreement will conform to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Are you aware that your leader, Justin Trudeau, is undoing much of the hard work which you have done and the strong stand you have taken against FATCA.
    First, in a meeting in Alberta last week, he showed a complete lack of knowledge about what FATCA actually means.
    Then today, a friend received this response to a letter she sent to him six months ago.
    “Despite its good intentions, the unfortunate consequence of FATCA is that Americans who hold dual citizenship still fall under its authority, and it requires access to their financial information through their banks.”
    How can this be true? How can Canadian citizens living in Canada for decades who were told by US Consulate 40 years ago we were “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing US citizenship by becoming Canadian now “fall under the authority” of a foreign government’s tax laws and demands. Do we have no rights under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
    Please act quickly to correct your leader’s position on this. I am already aware of Canadians who have said they will not vote Liberal because of these misguided responses of Mr. Trudeau in comparison to responses from Thomas Mulcair, Murray Rankin and Elizabeth May who are standing up for Canadian citizens, rights, sovereignty and the Charter on FATCA.
    By the way, Mr. Trudeau has not responded or even acknowledged my many e-mails and letters to him on FATCA. Again, this contrasts with responses from Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May and a personal phone call to me from Don Davies–even though I am 3000 miles from his riding.
    Please tell Mr. Trudeau Canadian sovereignty and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (his father’s greatest gift to Canada) are far more important than legalizing marijuana or kicking all Liberal Senators out of your caucus.

    Mr. Hsu quickly responded:

    Hi Lynne
    Thanks for your email. We are still going through the responses to our Order Paper Question, but, like you, we hoped for more substance.
    The issues around FATCA are very complex and the Liberal Party is consulting with a wide range of experts in developing a position on dealing with this legislation. At the moment, I and my colleagues are still seeking out information about Canada’s position in its negotiations with the U.S., and so the party leader simply doesn’t have all the information required to answer all questions. Please be assured that the members of the Liberal Party team who are working on the file will certainly continue to obtain and analyze all necessary information to develop a strong policy that will respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    Thanks for all your hard work!
    Ted

    My response back:

    Please ensure your leader knows Canadian citizens born in U.S. do not “fall under the authority” of a foreign government any more than Canadian citizens born in China, Iran, Russia, Pakistan or Eritrea “fall under the authority” of the laws of those countries.
    Mr. Trudeau’s response will definitely cost your party votes in next year’s election, so I hope he will immediately correct it.
    Please keep up your good work on our behalf.

  18. @blaze…on behalf of all the xx million’s of “american persons” in canada thank you for staying on top of this nightmare that is fatca!!!!

  19. @mettleman: Pierre Trudeau must be spinning in his grave at his son’s complete disregard for our Charter in that one sentence.

  20. @Blaze, I echo mettleman’s thank you. Daily, I am grateful that there is a dedicated core of intelligent, hardworking, caring people like yourself (and so many others) who are dedicated to fighting FATCA.

  21. I’ve noted this comment from “blair” in the original thread on this subject and am moving it to this location as well. Thank you, blair. You express what many here feel: the US/Canada border needs to remain strong to preserve the principles Canadians value. Nor do I want to see that border vanish with extra-territorial US law taking over here.
    http://maplesandbox.ca/2013/urgent-need-for-support-for-ted-hsus-question-q-121-re-fatca/comment-page-1/#comment-11902
    Repeal FATCA!
    It is a violation of all our Canadian Rights. If Canada repeals FATCA the other countries will do it as well. Do not be a Muppet of the US criminal laws broken all the time, killing, bullying people and countries. Do not be accomplice. Canada always was a country to help and protect people not to sell people, sheltering the need (refuge).
    Do not join the masked criminal waiting for you (Canada) to give them (US) what they want: the US-Canadian people, our work, our rights, our savings, our pension, and our lives and our children’s future.
    U.S. does not want an agreement with Canada. No! They want to exploit Canada starting with FATCA. Repeal FATCA for your protection of today and tomorrow (future).
    If you agree with the US, US will betray Canada and take possession of it like never before, and it will continue with more. After they take some power and govern our data information breaking many Canadian laws, rules and regulations. If you accept, U.S. will see no border to continue taking more, extorting. Canada will loose money, and Canada will be at the US mercy. U.S. wants to take over Canada’s economy and this will be just the beginning. I can assure you. Be careful doing business with US. Watch what you Politian (who represent Canadians: citizens and residents who pay taxes and live on this land) are doing and where you are getting into and where you are putting the future of Canada and our children. If you think you can deal with US in work or money, be careful and think more than twice. As Jean Chertien said it once referring to the US: “Friendship is friendship and business is business. We need to see and do what is the best interest and best for Canada and Canadians not for the US interest”.
    We need to protect our rights!. and freedom.
    Do not be accomplice!! Just repeal FATCA no mater what.

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