Monthly Archives: May 2014

Lynne Swanson Appointed Chief Jingo 4 Canada on #FATCA "Hyperbolic Rhetoric"

In celebration of Canada’s Victoria Day long weekend, Outraged Canadian and Maple Sandbox are delighted to announce the promotion of Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) to Chief Jingo for Canada.
This appointment was inspired by Roy Berg’s warning to the Finance Committee prior to Ms. Swanson’s testimony:MapleJinga

“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.”

In making the announcement, Maple Sandbox co-founder Outraged Canadian affirmed her belief in Ms. Swanson:

I know Lynne will handle this awe-inspiring promotion with grace and dignity and won’t let it go to her head. I have complete faith that she’ll continue to spout jingoistic hyperbole with all of the fervour and dedication that will be needed as we fight for our rights as Canadians. I’m really proud of her. She’s earned this honour.

Upon learning of her new appointment and title, Lynne said,

“I am thrilled and honoured to take on this important role.  I will work hard to represent the interests of Sandboxers, Brockers and one million honest law-abiding Canadians .and their families.”
 

With Blazing eyes, Ms. Swanson swore the following oath on the Canadian flag.

” I promise to faithfully fulfill my duties as Chief Jingo of Canada (CJC) by spewing ‘hyperbolic rhetoric’ about how FATCA is an affront to Canadian citizens, residents, laws, constitution and sovereignty.”

canadian flag

In celebration of Canada’s Victoria Day long weekend, Maple Sandbox jingois delighted to announce the promotion of Lynne Swanson (aka Blaze) to Chief Jingo for Canada.
This appointment was inspired by Roy Berg’s warning to the Finance Committee prior to Ms. Swanson’s testimony:

“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.”
 

STATEMENT HERE FROM OUTRAGED
“I will work hard to represent the interests of Sandboxers, Brockers and one million Canadians. I am honoured to accept this position,” said Ms. Swanson before swearing the following oath:
” I promise to faithfully fulfill my duties as Chief Jingo of Canada (CJC) by spewing hyperbolic rhetoric” about how FATCA is an affront to Canadian citizens, residents, laws, constitution and sovereignty.”
 

CPAC-Finance Committee May 13th and 14th meetings

For those who want to watch the May 13th Finance committee meetings on CPAC, the May 13th meeting will be broadcast at 5 PM ET on Saturday, May 17.
The May 14th meeting will be broadcast on Saturday, May 24 at 5 PM ET
Thanks to CPAC Viewer Services for providing me with this information.
For a more permanent record of the meetings,  go to the Isaac Brock Society blog and click on the Youtube icon.
 
 

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.

US Citizenship & Young Adults: Navigating The Special Rules Imposed Upon US Citizens

“Life planning, career planning and the reality of U.S. citizenship for Americans abroad”
“Everything I wish I had known, but couldn’t even have imagined to ask!”
During the winter, John Richardson presented a number of seminars for those concerned with the obvious problems of U.S. citizenship (including the “threshold question” of whether you really are a U.S. citizen).
Seminar topics have invariably included the problems of: FBAR, FATCA, investing, retirement planning, mutual funds, U.S. tax compliance, renunciation, etc.The official “FATCA Launch” of July 1, 2014 will surely make the existing problems worse.
U.S. citizens living outside the United States are subject to a regime of rules that diminish their “life opportunities”. These rules are such that U.S. citizens abroad live at a disadvantage relative to the citizens of any other nation. Those attending previous seminars have been primarily “middle aged” people, who have attempted to plan for their retirement, only to find that their retirement plans are threatened, because of their birth in the United States.

A shared sentiment has been:
“If only, I had known about these rules earlier … This is information that my children and other young adults need to hear! What does all this mean for my children?”

Continue reading US Citizenship & Young Adults: Navigating The Special Rules Imposed Upon US Citizens

House of Commons #FATCA Panel To Watch!

Woo Hoo. This will be the FATCA panel to watch Wednesday May 12 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
John Richardson, a Vice-President of CBA and the Privacy Commissioner will all be on the same House of Commons panel on FATCA.  Intriguing.
Thanks to Noble Dreamer for posting this at Brock.
Update: Thanks to the Isaac Brock Society, video of the session is available on YouTube.

Protect Canadians From FATCA: @NDP_HQ Petition

Protect Canadians From FATCA is a just launched petition from the NDP.

Tell Stephen Harper to protect our constitutional and privacy rights from this invasive U.S. law.

The Conservatives are rushing to implement an American law that threatens the rights of more than a million Canadians…

Let’s send Stephen Harper a message:
It’s time to put Canadians first.
Canadians, please sign the on line petition.
This was sent to me by Murray Rankin’s Assistant. More on Murray Rankin’s FATCA page on his website.
 

Will Canada's Privacy Commissioner Finally Speak on #FATCA?

Why has Canada’s Privacy Commissioner been quiet on #FATCA since the IGA was signed?
Her office has ignored four e-mails I sent.  Is she about to break her silence?
Chantal Bernier is scheduled to testify before Senate on Tuesday May 13 at 9:30 am.  I’m not available then. Can anyone record it and post it here?  (There always seems to be a problem with the video from Senate hearings afterwards that we don’t have with House of Commons meetings).
Thanks Tim for alerting me to this.

#FATCA and Erosion of Privacy (Cockfield)

Queen’s University Professor Arthur Cockfield’s provided a comprehemsive report to the Privacy Commissioner in April on FATCA and the Erosion  of Canadian Taxpayer Privacy.

In his 36 page report, Professor Cockfield reviews numerous laws, practices and policies. He says:

FATCA and the IGA unduly harm the privacy interests and rights of Canadians in part because detailed financial information concerning hundreds of thousands of Canadians would be transferred to a foreign government for the first time…The Canadian government should not implement the IGA until these privacy concerns are addressed.

Professor Cockfield looks at various laws and practices. He briefly addresses some Charter issues:

The  IGA may violate section 15 of the  Charter that prohibits discrimination  on  the  grounds  of  national  origin  (including  citizenship).  As  discussed  in  this report,  the  IGA  discriminates  against  US  citizens  (and  others)  residing  in  Canada  by  offering  unequal  treatment  of  these  individuals  (see  Part  VI.G.).    A  criminal  investigation  calls  for constitutional law protections afforded by the  Charter of Rights and Freedoms including section 8, which restricts unreasonable searches and seizures.75 A demand for tax information may also  violate an individual’s right to remain silent under section 7 of the Charter.76 If the United States.
 

Professor Cockfield concludes:

Accordingly,  the  IGA  and  the  Implementing  Act  do  not  protect  the  privacy  rights  and interests of Canadians. Bill C-31, the proposed law to implement FATCA  that at this writing is before Parliament, needs to be amended to account for these privacy concerns. Until the privacy and  other  concerns  are  studied  and  addressed  by  Canadian  lawmakers,Canada  should  only  transfer FATCA required data associated with U.S. persons who are not Canadian residents. This approach   accords   with   longstanding   practice   and   emerging   global   information   exchange standards. The government should take immediate steps to ensure this standard is codified in Bill C-31.  This  move  would  safeguard  the  privacy  rights  of  Canadians  while  enabling  Canada  to work  cooperatively  on  a  global  scale  to  ensure  that  tax  evaders—American,  Canadian,  or otherwise—do not have a safe haven anywhere.

Professor Cockfield is on the panel with me next week, along with a Candian-American tax lawyer based in New York.
Many thanks to Badger for this great find.  I did a quick speed read. If Badger would like to do one of her thorough and thoughtful analyses, that would be greatly welcome.
 
 

Canadians: Give Your #FATCA Briefs To Finance Committee

Canadians:  Make your voices heard at Finance Committee. Give the Committee your briefs!
In preparing my own brief for testifying next week, I learned all Canadians can submit briefs to the Finance Committee–not just those of us who will testify.
Here is what the Clerk of the Finance Committee replied to me when I asked:

Anyone can submit a brief on Bill C-31.  While there is no set date it would be best to get it into us at FINA@parl.gc.ca as soon as possible so we can have the briefs translated and distributed to the Members of the Committee before the begin Clause-by-Clause.

Here are the government’s Guidelines for Preparing Briefs. The Clerk of the Finance Committee has advised briefs must be limited to five pages.
I know many of you already made submissions to Finance Canada in 2012 and again when the IGA was announced.  However, those submissions are not being shared with the Finance Committee or with Parliament.
So, if you want those making the decisions to know what you have to say:  Give them your briefs.
This should be in your own words. Many of you will be able to adapt the submission you already made.
I have two suggestions:
1. Emphasize you are Canadian!
2. If you support the proposed amendment, include it in your brief.
“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.”
There is no deadline for this, but clearly, the sooner the better. It may be submitted in either English or French and will be translated. If you speak both languages, you could submit in both.
Tell them what you think.  Give Finance Committee your briefs!