Important email from Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier)

The following correspondence is important for several reasons. First, this correspondence was in French and is the first on FATCA that I personally have seen in that language. I think it is vital that Canadians understand the FATCA and IGA issues affect ALL Canadians no matter which of our official languages they speak (and no matter their ethnic or national origin). Second, M. Bélanger is a Liberal MP (from Ottawa-Vanier), and his response makes it clear that, even though perhaps Justin Trudeau either doesn’t understand the issues or can’t articulate them accurately and quickly on his feet, some of his caucus clearly do “get it.”

I am posting the following at the request of “Premier Juillet” and in consultation with him. I have met him in person. I am posting the original correspondence in French, followed by a translation of M. Bélanger’s letter as provided to me by “Premier Juillet.”
Premier Juillet wrote to me (Schubert): “I finally got a reply to my multiple reminders since a letter I sent in June to my Liberal deputé. I think it was worth the wait. They have done their research and I guess they had more to say because of the recent questions by Hsu/Brison. I hope they can now educate their Leader, and fast!
“Merci beaucoup Monsieur le député Belangé!
“Premier Juillet”


—————-
janvier 24, 2014
<Premier Juillet>,
J’ai bien reçu votre message dans laquelle vous me faites part de vos préoccupations au sujet de la Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) des États-Unis.
Le Parti libéral du Canada estime que le gouvernement de notre pays devrait défendre l’intérêt des honnêtes travailleurs canadiens, comme ceux qui ont la double citoyenneté et qui sont affectés par la FATCA du fait qu’ils choisissent de vivre au Canada. Ces Canadiens se trouvent injustement empêtrés, souvent en raison de leur naissance, dans les règles fiscales exagérément complexes des États-Unis.
Selon la FATCA, les personnes ayant la double citoyenneté canadienne-américaine qui vivent au Canada doivent régulièrement déclarer leurs revenus et leur propriété à l’IRS, l’agence américaine du revenu. Cela peut avoir diverses conséquences. Le Parti libéral du Canada craint que ces Canadiens soient forcés de payer de l’impôt aux États-Unis sur certaines prestations et certains instruments d’épargne fiscale offerts par l’État canadien, comme le régime enregistré d’épargne-études et le régime enregistré d’épargne-invalidité. Le gouvernement du Canada cotise à ces deux régimes pour aider les Canadiens à poursuivre des études ou à éviter la pauvreté en cas de handicap. Cet argent ne devrait pas être assujetti à l’impôt américain pour éponger la dette du gouvernement américain.
Nous craignons aussi que les nouvelles règles de la FATCA obligent les banques canadiennes à dévoiler à l’IRS des renseignements personnels financiers sur les résidents canadiens touchés. Il faut régler ces questions d’atteinte à la vie privée avant que les nouvelles règles entrent en vigueur, en juillet 2014.
Nous espérons que le gouvernement Harper réglera ces questions au lieu de courber l’échine devant les Américains, comme il l’a déjà fait. À notre avis, protéger les droits des Canadiens devrait être la priorité du gouvernement du Canada lorsqu’il négocie avec les États-Unis. Un traité fiscal canado-américain actualisé pourrait contribuer à régler bon nombre des préoccupations que soulève la FATCA. En effet, en 2012, le gouvernement du Canada a publié un bulletin annonçant qu’il était en train de négocier un tel traité avec les États-Unis en réaction à la FATCA. Mais où en est-on de ce traité ? Pourquoi un tel délai ?
Scott Brison, porte-parole libéral en matière de finances, et d’autres libéraux soulèvent régulièrement la question de la FATCA autant au Parlement du Canada qu’auprès des médias et continueront d’exercer des pressions sur le gouvernement conservateur pour qu’il agisse dans l’intérêt des Canadiens.
Je vous remercie d’avoir pris le temps de m’écrire et vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur X, mes salutations distinguées.
L’honorable Mauril Bélanger, député
Ottawa—Vanier
Cabinet de l’honorable Mauril Bélanger/Office of the Honourable Mauril Bélanger
Député, Ottawa-Vanier/M.P. Ottawa-Vanier
Pièce 09 Édifice Justice/Room 09 Justice Bldg.
Chambre des communes/House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-992-4766
————————————— translation:
jan 24 from Depute Mauril Bélanger

I received your message in which you express your concerns about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of the United States.

The Liberal Party of Canada believes that the government of our country should defend the interests of honest and hard-working Canadians, like those who have dual citizenship and are affected by FATCA because of the fact that they decide to live their life in Canada. These Canadians are unfairly entangled, often because of their birth, in overly complex U.S. tax rules. According to FATCA, people with the Canadian-American dual citizen living in Canada must regularly report their income and property to the IRS, the U.S. revenue agency.

This can have various consequences. The Liberal Party of Canada is concerned that these Canadians are forced to pay taxes to the United States on certain benefits and savings instruments offered by the Canadian government such as the Registered Education Savings Fund and the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The Canadian Government contributes to these Funds to help Canadians to pursue studies and to avoid hardship in case of disability. This money should not be subject to U.S. tax to offset the debt of the U.S. government.

We also fear that the new rules of FATCA require Canadian banks to disclose to the IRS personal financial information on Canadian residents affected. We must address these privacy issues before the new rules come into force in July 2014.

We hope that the Harper government will address these issues instead of kowtowing to the Americans, at it has already done. In our opinion, protecting the rights of Canadians should be the priority of the Government of Canada in negotiations with the United States.

Updating the Canada-US tax treaty could help address many of the concerns raised by FATCA.

Indeed, in 2012, the Government of Canada issued a bulletin announcing that it was negotiating such a treaty with the United States in response to FATCA. But where are we with this treaty? Why the delay?

Scott Brison, Liberal critic for finance, and other Liberals regularly raise the issue of FATCA in the Parliament of Canada as well as with the media and will continue to exercise pressures on the conservative government so that it will act in the best interests of Canadians.

Thank you for taking the time to write me and please accept, (Name), my best regards.

Député Mauril Bélanger
—————————————
Original email to M. Bélanger from “Premier Juillet” follows:
26 Juin 2013
Cher Monsieur le député Bélanger.
D’abord je voudrais vous féliciter pour la position que vous avez continuée de prendre sur …
Aujourd’hui je veux vous exprimer mon fort désaccord avec FATCA et avec une éventuelle entente (IGA) sur le point d’être signée, selon les dires aujourd’hui même(!), des analystes de ArC. (613-957-2070).
Les discussions entre le gouvernement actuel et les Etats-Unis se font en secret et cela me cause à moi et ma famille de grandes anxiétés à cause de l’impact direct sur les doubles citoyens US-Canada.
Allons-nous nous réveiller en fin d’été avec un fait accompli…? Qu’est-ce que vous et votre leader l’honorable Justin Trudeau savez et faites à ce sujet?
Le gouvernent actuel est en train de vendre EN CACHETTE notre souveraineté aux Américains…
Des Canadiens de naissance qui ont eu la malchance (c’est maintenant très clair) de naître aux EUA seraient maintenant sous le joug de l’IRS avec une telle entente qui fera de nos banques canadiennes une extension de l’IRS au Canada. Le ministre actuel des Finances a dit que l’ArC ne collecterait pas de taxes ou de pénalités de la part de l’IRS. Ce n’est pas assez! Les doubles rapports d’impôts et les coûts de renonciations sont exorbitants rendant le choix impossible.
L’ambassadeur partant des EUA dit qu’ils (IRS) ne sont pas à courir après les grands-mères mais bien après les gens qui font de l’évasion fiscale. Nous payons nos taxes au Canada, nous ne sommes pas des criminels et des tricheurs, merci…!
Je cherche de mes leaders politiques un support et une confirmation que, en tant que canadiens, nous sommes entre bonnes mains et que nous sommes encore et continuerons d’être protégés par notre Chartre des droits de la personne. Je dis NON à FATCA pour cette raison et NON à un IGA qui ne pourrait qu’en faire moquerie par un échappatoire concocté par le gouvernement actuel.
J’ai inclus plus bas de l’information pertinente sur le sujet.
Je vous remercie de votre support et de votre intérêt dans nos droits de citoyens Canadiens.
Je vous pris Monsieur le Député d’accepter mes salutations distinguées,

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About schubert

I've had a CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States) since 1976, quite by accident (DOS mailed me one after I wrote a long anti-US letter to Henry Kissinger on July 4, 1976, telling him I'd become a Canadian citizen several months earlier and why, then confirming on a form I got in the mail that I had done so willingly - duh! - and with the intent of relinquishing my US citizenship). I filed the CLN away and forgot about it until August 2011 when I first heard about FATCA and FBAR and realized I needed to find the proof I am not an American in spite of my birthplace. My wife, who came to Canada with her ex before I did and also became a Canadian citizen, believed she'd thereby lost her US citizenship but didn't write Kissinger, didn't know anything about CLNs or the need to get one (nor did I at the time), and applied for a relinquishment CLN a few months ago. Until August 29, 2012, we were waiting to get her CLN, and it has been in her interests that I'm monitoring and occasionally participating in this and the IBS website. However, joy of joys, wonder of wonders, my wife's CLN arrived in the mail on that date, so now we both have CLNs. I will continue to monitor and contribute to this website as I have time and when I think I have something constructive to add, but after 12 months of Hell we're going to get our sanity and lives back, and that means a prolonged vacation from anything related to CLNs, IRS, FATCA, or any other such crap, unless it rears its head and threatens Canada and Canadians to the point where I have to come out of my corner fighting again ...

4 thoughts on “Important email from Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier)

  1. Ponder for a moment, if you will, the mischief, in fact serious damage to Canadian unity, that Pauline Marois might do, if the current federal government signs an IGA and Quebeckers’ financial privacy is sold out to the IRS. Let’s hope Harper and Flaherty have grasped that point and it’s another reason for the delay in negotiations of an IGA; I’m quite sure that Mulcair and even Justin grasp the point. At least I hope so. If an anglo like me can grasp it, why not them …

  2. Je dis aussi merci à Premier Juillet et Monsieurs Belanger and Schubert. (But that’s about as far as my rudimentary high school french goes, unfortunately.)

    Excellent letter and it’s heartening to know that another libertal ‘gets’ it. We have many NDP and many Libertals that have developed a good understanding of the nasty implications of what the US is trying to do to Canadians. Where are the conservatives? Am I missing something? Have there been any great letters or news releases or comments from anyone in the Conservative party? I must admit I lose track a bit on which politician said what…
    I may have to re-think my history of voting Conservative. And if FATCA goes through without Flaherty et al protecting our rights, I can guarantee that I would not be voting C in the next election(s)!

  3. I took the liberty of making one change in the English translation. I think Registered Invalidity Savings Fund should have been Registered Disability Savings Plan.

    It’s great that Mr. Belanger included specific information about RESPs and RDSPs in his reply.

  4. Merci Premier Juliett et Monsieur Belanger. Thanks Schubert for posting it here.

    For those who don’t understand the reference to Justin Trudeau, here is information on the Liberal leader’s response on FATCA at a meeting Calgary411 and Disgusted attended recently.

    It’s incredible that MPs like Ted Hsu and Scott Brison (with help from Irwin Cotler) could be as knowledgeable about FATCA to present more than 50 intelligent questions about FATCA in the House of Commons and Mauril Belanger could write such an informed letter, but Justin Trudeau doesn’t understand it.

    Justin Trudeau is clearly more interested in legalizing marijuana than he is in standing up for Canadian citizens, sovereignty and the Charter. His father would be appalled.

    Pierre would wave the Charter in the faces of the Americans and tell them “You won’t FATCA Canada.” When the media asked how far he could go to protect Canada and Canadians, Pierre would reply

    “Just watch me.”

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