For Immediate Release March 10, 2014
Today a small group of Canadians began the long legal process to prevent the Conservative government from helping the United States impose a bad law on Canada.
With the announcement of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) on February 5, 2014, Finance Minster Jim Flaherty makes discrimination against one million innocent Canadians and their families – those the U.S deems “U.S. persons” – mandatory.
Finance Canada has requested public input on the FATCA agreement, which will override federal laws to meet demands of a foreign power to seize private financial records of Canadians.
Canadian citizens Dr. Stephen Kish of Toronto and Lynne Swanson of London Ontario responded today to that request by retaining prominent constitutional lawyer Joseph Arvay of Vancouver to provide a legal opinion on whether this legislation violates Canada’s Constitution including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and if so how a constitutional challenge might be mounted.
“It’s time for Canadians to get angry. FATCA is a threat to all Canadians and cannot be captive to party politics. MPs must NOT be required to vote along party lines – They must vote their conscience in a free vote” says Dr. Kish.
In less than one week a funding initiative, organized by Dr. Kish and Ms. Swanson, raised the money required to pay for this legal opinion.
“It is despicable the Harper government thinks so little of Canadians that they are forced to raise money from those with limited means to retain counsel to ensure their fundamental rights are protected from foreign demands,” says Ms. Swanson.
“As a Canadian citizen for 41 years, I never thought I would see the day when demands of a foreign government would take precedence over Canadian laws. The implications of this for Canada and for all Canadians are chilling.”
CONTACT: Lynne Swanson
C3F Press Release


  1. I was at a golf course in Colombia today. I was on the practice range waiting for my turn for a lesson from the local club pro.
    While there, I met a young Colombian woman who is being coached by that same pro. She studied in an American University on a golf scholarship, and is back in Colombia. She is prepping herself for the Q school in an attempt to qualify for the women’s pro golf tour in the States. She is an excellent player, but that is a very tough nut to crack.
    Without going into details, what I can say is that she is from a prominent Colombian family with large land holdings. So I told her I would give her some advice. I said I would not even send her a bill for that advice.
    I advised her that if she were fortunate enough to qualify for the women’s tour, do not, under any circumstances, take out US citizenship or even get the Green Card. She was astonished and asked me why.
    I asked her if she thought it appropriate for the IRS to be acquainted with the intimate details of her family’s finances and other holdings in Colombia and elsewhere, because her US citizenship or green card could potentially put all of that on the IRS radar screen. She was flabbergasted. She had no idea that this was the case.
    She has a tourist visa of course, and had previously lived there on a student visa.
    I have met others down here who lived in the States and have returned here. I know of at least one case where his US citizenship is becoming a nightmare.

  2. Thanks for the update Arctic and for spreading the word.
    Enjoy the golf and sun. We’ve had snow in Ontario again. All schools in New Brunswick were closed today.

  3. Places where I hang around to enjoy the sun do not include Florida or Arizona any more (not that they ever did very much before).
    When I re-enter Canada, I am always asked what I was doing in Colombia. I always reply that I am eating pineapple, drinking coffee, playing golf, and staying warm. I am a snow bird that flies to much more sensible sunny destinations than most snow birds do now. I generally advise the agent that where I go would be an excellent choice for him/her once he/she starts collecting that indexed pension.

  4. My world keeps getting more Bizarro. Now I have tweeted a letter from a Republican Senator cheering for a Repug majority in the US Senate.

    #FATCA is “poorly thought out monstrosity” @robportman will help @SenRandPaul @RepubAbroadHK 2 @RepealFatca

    #FATCA requires banks 2 spy on #americansabroad “Time 2 put end 2 it b4 more damage” via @robportman
    In the letter, Republican Senator Rob Portman calls for repeal of FATCA.
    IRS Compliant Forever is gloating at my Republican conversion.

  5. Hi all – I read the US tax reform proposal submitted by the Ways and Means committee headed by David Camp to the congress and I didn’t find it to include the residency based taxation (RBT). Although RBT was included in the original comprehensive document as proposed originally by the American Citizens Abroad ACA. I am wondering if RBT is falling out of favor or Dave Camp choose not include it for whatever reason. Does anyone know or heard anything about this? Thanks.

  6. I had a VERY strange conversation at a dinner party last evening. One of the guests was a wealth management advisor for the Royal Bank, downtown Toronto head office. When I asked her what she thought about FATCA she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about!!!!!! The lack of knowledge out there is astounding….A ROYAL BANK INVESTMENT ADVISOR!!! (She knows now).
    I’m wondering if we should start sending an overview of what FATCA means to the banks…crazy huh. Put out the stats of how much money will potentially be leaving the Canadian economy if we are all forced to become FBAR compliant. There is some kind of meeting/dinner party next week $100 a plate thingy with Flaherty that she is going to. (I also have my RIFF with Dominion Securities, my advisor is in Toronto. Should I send info to him also? Might this be exposing me to my own bank?)

  7. @Rick, I asked my Congressman who is a senior member on the House W&M what happened to RBT and did not receive a straight answer. RBT has never really been “in favour” with Congress. We were all depressed when we read the “tax reform” package but we are back fighting again.
    @Dual Senior, If you are not IRS compliant I would not bring up this issue with your own bank. The banks (except the RB advisor you mentioned) already know what FATCA means to them.
    I wonder if the Royal Bank investment advisor knows about U.S tax rules. For example, would she ever advise as part of “wealth management” that Canadian mutual funds (highly toxic to U.S. citizens) be part of a retirement plan for a US person in Canada?
    I don’t recommend that you do this, but if I were in your place I would call the investment advisor this weekend and suggest that she ask this friendly question to Mr. Flaherty at the dinner:
    “Mr. Flaherty, I’ve been hearing about this U.S. FATCA law you want to impose on Canada and I know that some Canadians are very worried that this will take away their rights. Can you please confirm that the MPs in your party will be given a free vote on this legislation?”

  8. Mutual funds….
    They can be as toxic as they want to be to the Kenyan messiah in the White House.
    But It will be a frosty day in hell before I place restrictions on my life in Canada (and thereby deny myself the rights that other Canadians enjoy) in such way as to keep that ghetto thug happy.

  9. I am becoming to believe that fighting FATCA within the Canadian legal context will eventually produce more results than fighting it in the mambo Jumbo of US politics. If Dave Camp thinks the congress is not even ready to consider looking at RBT, it means we still have way to go. I also looked at ACA website, I couldn’t find a mention that their proposal was not included in the Tax Reform Submission. Did anyone see any mention of that?

  10. @Rick
    I would like to see FATCA destroyed from without (Canada and other countries take their governments to court) and from within (FATCA is killed by U.S. Congress)
    I know that it is an uphill battle, but some Republicans are trying to defeat FATCA. The Republicans Overseas website posted our Canadian effort to retain a lawyer for the legal challenge and just released a letter from a Senator on behalf of a committee of Senate Republicans, calling FATCA a “poorly thought out monstrosity”.
    More difficult, but perhaps some Democrats can be convinced to come onside as well.

  11. ArcticGrayling, surely you’ve realized by now that we don’t like or appreciate your anti-Obama comments. I’m sure there are a number of sites out there where you can find plenty of people to Obama-bash with, but this isn’t one of them.
    We all have our particular soapboxes we like to stand on. However, that’s not what Maple Sandbox is about. We are dedicated to fighting the U.S. extra-territorial overreach ie CBT, FATCA & FBAR and the like.
    Please keep your comments free of Obama-bashing. Personally, I don’t give a crap about Obama but I don’t enjoy reading snide comments about anyone.

  12. @Blaze…
    Obama may or may not have been born in Kenya. No definitive proof has been provided one way or the other.
    But there is a consensus that his father was Kenyan, which would mean, were we to apply his twisted logic on FATCA, that he would owe an FBAR to Kenya.
    Remember, FATCA is demanding disclosure on people born in Canada to US parents.
    He is a Kenyan by his own logic. It’s his logic, and not mine.
    I might be more sympathetic about the idea of not calling him a Kenyan if legislation he signed into law as president did not refer to unwilling people as Americans.

  13. @ outraged Canadian
    Obama signed FATCA into law. He takes executive responsibility for it as president.
    In fact, if I remember correctly, the concept of FATCA was something he campaigned on.
    That makes him fair game to me.

  14. I DON’T CARE ABOUT HIS CITIZENSHIP. Do care, of course, that he’s the presiding president over this mess. However, I also think it doesn’t matter who was the president, it would have gone through.  Potential for gathering big fines? From people who have no voice? Go for it!

  15. I don’t care about Obama’s citizenship either. Supposedly there’s some unanswered questions but its not my problem. I’ll leave it to the folks down in the US to sort out.
    But he is the guy who signed FATCA into law and who won’t quit with the disingenuous message that US finances would be miraculously fixed if they could somehow find all the offshore tax cheats, i.e. us. What he really needs to do is level with the American people, cut spending and raise taxes.
    His government is pursuing policies that directly hurt Canada and it has been repeatedly informed of the damage being done to innocent people. He claims to be the champion of the little guy, but his government has done nothing to fix these destructive policies; it obviously doesn’t care. Neither Obama nor the US government are our friend. In fact they are clearly the enemy.
    That’s why we need to focus on this legal challenge; the US government and the Canadian government won’t help us. Our only hope is to help ourselves via the courts.

  16. I recommend the documentary “Dreams From My Real Father” Directed by Joel Gilbert “In Dreams from My Real Father,” Barack Obama is portrayed by a voiceover actor who chronicles Barack Obama’s life journey in socialism, from birth through his election to the Presidency. The film begins by presenting the case that Barack Obama’s real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party USA propagandist who likely shaped Obama’s world view during his formative years. Barack Obama sold himself to America as the multi-cultural ideal, a man who stood above politics. Was the goat herding Kenyan father only a fairy tale to obscure a Marxist agenda , irreconcilable with American values?”

  17. Please people, keep the crazy to yourselves. No one cares even who the president of the US is – I think any US president would do exactly the same thing – and the more people talk this kind of tea bagger talk on this site and on IBS, the more damaging it is to the cause that is Canadians fighting imposition of US extraterritorial law. Stop already – Canadians are not Democrats, Republicans, or tea partiers – we are Canadians who object to anyone from the US trying to interfere with our liives in this way. We get nowhere by negative, misleading, and, increasingly, racist comments – these sorts of comments serve only to discredit us amongst our fellow Canadians

  18. @DM. exactly.
    We do not want to be heavy handed administrators, but we reserve the right to ensure the tone and content of this site stays with it’s original intentions.
    Please take your Obama theories elsewhere.
    If we have to, we will start removing or editing comments.

  19. Wow, ran across this article today., Financial Risk Management News And Analysis
    “Universal Fatca runs into political obstacles”
    Talk about spin!
    This actually says,
    “Canadian tax lawyers believe that the agreement should not conflict with existing Canadian laws such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, as the data will be collected by the Canada Revenue Service and passed on to the IRS, rather than by the IRS directly…”
    He says that the political obstacle will come from from US local banks and US local politicians,
    “…but putting a general solution in place will depend on the G-20 governments, including the US, being prepared to introduce substantial and costly new disclosure requirements for their native banking industries. Dudley sees this as the main obstacle to the OECD solution: “This is where it becomes more difficult – local regulators are going to be subject to political pressure from local banks via local politicians.”
    Interesting – a U.S. law that is fought by U.S. banks – but Canadian banks fell right into line.

  20. Allison Christians is a tax lawyer and professor. She and Arthur Cockfield (also a lawyer and professor) do not agree that having information go to CRA to submit to IRS does not violate privacy rights.
    In their submission to Finance Canada, they said:

    We recommend that the government undertake a review and explain why the use of the CRA to furnish information to a foreign sovereign does not constitute a significant erosion of the protections afforded by Canadian law.


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