We’re on a roll! Here’s another article. Theo Caldwell Say No To Washington’s Surveillance State in the National Post.
This encompasses many aspects of American snooping, but here’s what it says about FATCA:
Canadians need not travel to become entangled in the web of U.S. surveillance. Canada’s acquiescence to America’s Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) will see to that.
Beginning on July 1 (ironically, Canada Day), Canadian banks and financial institutions will be required to review all client accounts containing $50,000 or more to determine if they are “U.S. Reportable.”
This transcends the infamous and larcenous practice of the Internal Revenue Service demanding tax returns and payments from “U.S. persons” worldwide. Under the FATCA regime, not only will U.S. Persons (broadly and capriciously defined by the U.S. Treasury) be required to file taxes with the IRS even if they have never set foot on U.S. soil, their assets must be reported to American authorities.
The closest Canada has come to effective resistance is a meaningless bureaucratic tweak: Rather than report directly to the IRS, Canadian banks would report to the Canadian tax authority, which then forwards the information to its American counterpart.
In each of these cases, Canada has gone along through a national self-interest no more considered than, simply: “The United States said so.”
Canada and the United States enjoy the largest bilateral trading relationship in the history of the planet. It is in the interests of both countries to keep that going. Canada, as a resource-rich, exporter nation, enjoys unique access to the largest consumer market in the world.
Nevertheless, economic comity is not everything, and there would be much to be said for a prime minster who, like Hugh Grant at the end of Love Actually, has the courage to stand up and announce he is unhappy with important aspects of the relationship.
Can such leadership be found, or has Canada made peace with an “American-style” future?