Lynne's Opening Statement to the Finance Committee

Today, Lynne Swanson (Blaze) participated as part of a panel on the Finance Committee’s study of Part 5 of Bill C-31 – the Canada-United States Enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement Implementation Act (or, as I call it, the Canada-United States Abrogation of Canadian Rights Agreement’.
Essentially, Lynne was invited to speak about FATCA and the IGA. I, for one, admire her bravery and commitment to our shared cause and her willingness to appear before the committee and not only speak, but answer questions from the committee members.
She only had 5 minutes for her opening statement, and then was expected to answer questions from the members of the committee. At the time of this posting, I don’t have a full report on exactly what was said and asked. We will provide that as soon as we can.
What I do have is the speech Lynne prepared in advance. I most sincerely hope that her very eloquent statement fell on receptive ears.
Update: Watch Lynne’s opening statement on YouTube, thanks to the Isaac Brock Society. Again, thanks to IBS, watch the entire 2 hours of the meeting (Lynne at about 1:24)
LSwanson_2
I come before you as the voice of one million Canadians.
We are Canadians.  Many have been Canadian citizens for life or for decades. We chose Canada. We expect Canada to choose us and our rights over foreign bully demands.
“Why do our most heinous criminals have more Charter rights than I do,” asks a Nova Scotia police officer of 33 years. He was born in Maine almost six decades ago because his New Brunswick mother was sent there to give birth.
A Quebec woman who has been a Canadian citizen since birth says her ancestor who came to Canada in 1682 must be turning over in his grave at FATCA.
A widowed Grandma in Vancouver was told by US Consulate when she became a Canadian citizen in 1972 she was permanently and irrevocably relinquishing American citizenship. She insists, “My financial records are definitely none of the business of the IRS.”
An Ontario First Nations husband and father is horrified his Canadian government will help United States seize his family’s financial records because his Canadian wife was born there.
An Alberta woman reports her mother who upheld Canadian laws for many years as Justice of the Peace is now medically and physically too frail to deal with FATCA stresses.
They and one million other Canadians were betrayed by FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement. We were offended and insulted to hear Minister of State for Finance call us “American citizens abiding here in Canada” in the House of Commons.
If Canada mandated financial institutions to seek Canadians born in China, India, Iran or Eritrea for CRA to transmit private financial information to those nations, there would be outrage.
Canadians born in United States should have the same rights as all other Canadians.  Canada should strongly defend those rights and not sacrifice them to a foreign country.
Two prominent Canadians described FATCA well.  In 2011 and many times after that, Finance Minister the late Jim Flaherty said “FATCA has far-reaching extraterritorial implications. It would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.” 
Terry Campbell, President of Canadian Bankers Association in 2012 called FATCA “the poster child for the problem of extra-territoriality…It threatens to erode Canadian sovereignty.”
Those statements hold true now. Under threat of economic sanctions and penalties, Canada surrendered its sovereignty to a foreign power with the IGA.
Canadians affected by FATCA were stunned last week when a member of this Committee said “Congress has spoken.” 
Canadians expect Parliament to speak for Canada. Canadians expect Parliament to uphold Canada’s laws, rights and constitution. Anything less is an affront and betrayal to Canada and to Canadians.
FATCA is complex. I give you a simple solution. I urge you to adopt an amendment to the Implementation Act:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or the Agreement, for all purposes related to the implementation of this Act and the Agreement, “US Person” and “Specified US Person” shall not include any person who is a Canadian citizen or legal permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Canada.”
I implore you. Do the right thing. Stand up for Canada and for all Canadians.

25 thoughts on “Lynne's Opening Statement to the Finance Committee

  1. Brava, Lynne!
    You’re a terrific public speaker! It came across so clear that this affects CANADIANS, and that it’s a sovereignty issue, and you illustrated the real human situation!

  2. Wonderful job, Lynne. I wasn’t able to record your speech, but I did get a snapshot!
    You were clear, concise and very much on point – PROTECT CANADIANS.
    Just Wonderful!
     

  3. Well, the session just ended. I have to say that my personal opinion of Mike Allen isn’t very high. He gave some context around the ‘Congress has spoken’ comment, (my take is that he was saying he was just repeating what he heard), and when Lynne said that Canada should go back and say ‘Parliament has spoken’, he said (in my personal opinion in a snide tone of voice), ‘That’s why we signed the IGA”.
    He sounded a little hostile to Lynne, IMHO.
    I was utterly shocked that Max Reed, a tax expert, say that he did not know, off the top of his head, if people born in the US (by accident) have a way around FATCA. He just said that the definition of a US citizen is very broad.
     

  4. @Lynne, WoW What a Wonderful Job you did!! I knew you would be terrific!! Thank you very much!!

  5. Blaze;
    I am glad I shared my background and situation with you earlier.
    Now that you know that background, my comments of today will mean something more to you.
    This man is humbled by your eloquent words.
    Thank you ever so much for what you have done and what you have done today.
    God bless, George

  6. I am just in awe of your wonderful submission, Lynne!! Thank you so much for doing this and on such a tight deadline! Perhaps some of these people will wake up now and do something to address the serious problems we have with FATCA!

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments.
    Unfortunately, Native Canadian and I were not able to see or hear the panel immediately before us.  However, Allison Christians was dynamite!!!! It was also great to have the support from Arthur Cockfield.
    Roy Berg seemed to anticipate what I would say:

    “This Committee is likely going to be aware of jingoistic, hyperbolic rhetoric admonishing Finance for ceding Canadian power, ceding sovereignty and also encouraging Canada to stand up to FATCA.”

    I’m glad I didn’t disappoint the proud American Mr. Berg.

  8. Lynn Swanson stood at the front line, in protection of 1 million Canadians, against the threat of a foreign government aided by the Quisling Canadian government.

  9. A friend sent me this last night:

    SHE WALKED UP AND TIED HER OLD MULE TO THE HITCHING POST. AS SHE STOOD THERE, BRUSHING SOME OF THE DUST FROM HER FACE AND CLOTHES, A YOUNG GUNSLINGER STEPPED OUT OF THE SALOON WITH A GUN IN ONE HAND AND A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY IN THE OTHER. THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER LOOKED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND LAUGHED, “HEY, OLD WOMAN, HAVE YOU EVER DANCED?”
    THE OLD WOMAN LOOKED UP AT THE GUNSLINGER AND SAID, “NO, I NEVER DID DANCE… NEVER REALLY WANTED TO.”
    A CROWD HAD GATHERED AS THE GUNSLINGER GRINNED AND SAID, “WELL, YOU OLD BAG, YOU’RE GONNA DANCE NOW,” AND HE STARTED SHOOTING AT THE OLD WOMAN’S FEET.
    THE OLD WOMAN PROSPECTOR—NOT WANTING TO GET HER TOE BLOWN OFF—STARTED HOPPING AROUND EVERYBODY WAS LAUGHING; AND WHEN HIS LAST BULLET HAD BEEN FIRED, THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER, STILL LAUGHING, HOLSTERED HIS GUN AND TURNED AROUND TO GO BACK INTO THE SALOON.
    THE OLD WOMAN TURNED TO HER PACK MULE, PULLED OUT A DOUBLE-BARRELLED SHOTGUN, AND COCKED BOTH HAMMERS. THE LOUD CLICKS CARRIED CLEARLY THROUGH THE DESERT AIR.
    THE CROWD STOPPED LAUGHING IMMEDIATELY.
    THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER HEARD THE SOUNDS TOO AND HE TURNED AROUND VERY SLOWLY. THE SILENCE WAS ALMOST DEAFENING. THE CROWD WATCHED AS THE YOUNG GUNMAN STARED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND THE LARGE GAPING HOLES OF THOSE TWIN BARRELS.
    THE BARRELS OF THE SHOTGUN NEVER WAVERED IN THE OLD WOMAN’S HANDS, AS SHE QUIETLY SAID, “SON, HAVE YOU EVER KISSED A MULE’S ASS?”
    THE GUNSLINGER SWALLOWED HARD AND SAID, “NO, MA’AM. BUT …I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO.”
    THERE ARE A FEW LESSONS HERE FOR ALL OF US:
    1 – Never be arrogant.
    2 – Don’t waste ammunition.
    3 – Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
    4 – Always, always make sure you know who has the power.
    5 – Don’t mess with old women. They didn`t get old by being stupid.

  10. Lynne, I think it was important to give examples of people who will be affected by the IGA. It was a wise choice to include those examples in your presentation. It was also good to turn some comments used by Tory MPs back on them.
    Well done!.
    I’ll be recording both yesterday’s and today’s meetings once they appear on CPAC so I can watch on my TV.

  11. Joe Oliver will be before the House tonight according to the CBC
    “After the regular parliamentary workday wraps up, the Commons spotlight will shift to Finance Minister Joe Oliver as the House transforms itself into a Committee of the Whole for an extended after-hours estimates review session.”
    After his performance at the Finance committee meeting, I don’t know if I can bear to watch him fumbling around again.

  12. I think I am beginning to sense a very tiny shift in the attitudes of some of the Cons.  They are no longer saying we are not Canadian citizens.
    They are also no longer saying FATCA “does not impact Canadian citizens.”  Were Keddy, Oliver, et al misinformed on that or simply misleading?  I don’t know.
    However, I do know we need to keep stressing that point. It is especially important to pound the message through to the Cons on the Finance Committee.  If anyone is in Rajotte’s Keddy’s, Saxton’s, Allen’s, or VanKesteren’s riding, it is critical you get to them–especially if you are a Canadian citizen or a voter.
    Ask them if they will support the amendment I put forth.  If not, demand to know why not.  Let them know you will be sharing their response on line.
    Scott Brison has sent a revised and more detailed version of the amendment (but basically keeping it the same) to the Procedural Clerk to determine admissibility.
    We need to get that amendment accepted at the Finance Committee Even one Con supporting it could help make that happen.
    Rajotte also seemed to be willing to at least think about what Arthur Cockfield suggested about delaying the implementation until the Americans pass the law needed for reciprocity (which we know isn’t going to happen).  Plus, with the recent announced delay of 18 months for some countries that haven’t signed yet, there is no longer a need to rush, giving the Cons some wiggle room.
     
     
     
     
     

  13. Great speech Lynne! It takes courage to speak up to the Cons. Thanks to Calgary411 for the video link. I watched yesterday’s session and will watch again for today’s session.
    I agree with your statement that Canada should go back to US Congress and say Parliament has spoken. US FATCA is a kind of financial blackmail. I think there is a large fear factor influencing our Canadian politicians. They need to put the new amendment in place to protect the rights of Canadians.
    All of us who gave briefs or sent letters with our own names have risked putting ourselves out there and deserve to be commended as well.

  14. I didn’t listen to all of today’s testimony as it seemed very discouraging and pro-IGA. The exception was John Richardson’s refreshing anti-FATCA comments and his support of the amendment to exclude Canadian citizens from the IGA.
    These proceedings are making me realize that giving up US citizenship is a positive step for me. US citizenship is no longer a great gift, it is a nightmare.

  15. @Pat: It is worse than that.  At the London information session, John called US citizenship the “most dangerous, toxic citizenship in the world.”

  16. Whoa Arctic!!!
    That is a different Mike Allen.  The Mike Allen who said “Congress has spoken” and insisted Parliament did speak for Canada with the IGA is an MP from New Brunswick.
    The Mike Allen in the CBC story is an Alberta MLA. Not the same person.
    I agree the Mike Allen and several other Con MPs are traitors to Canada by supporting the IGA and allowing Congress to make laws for Canada, but that Mike Allen is a very different one.
     

  17. Many apologies. I did my reply to Arctic when it should have been to The Animal.
    As I said, it is important not to confuse someone for someone else–and then I did just that.
    Not a good start for the new Chief Jingo of Canada.  I promise to do better!
    Sorry.
     

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