Murray Rankin says FATCA Act Will Go To Supreme Court of Canada. Donate to ADCS Now to Make That Happen!

Murray Rankin calls what the government is doing to us “shocking.”  Mr. Rankin says the FATCA Act will go to the Supreme Court.

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From Hansard:

Murray Rankin (NDP) Members may ask when I say privacy what that has to do with a budget bill. Once again, it is an omnibus budget bill and so our government decided to accept almost holus-bolus things such as the decision to allow the IRS to have some of the most sensitive information Canadians hold namely, their personal financial information, under an American initiative called FATCA…

     In our judgment, the Conservatives voted against all reasonable amendments, with no real consideration of the content. Unless the idea was theirs, it could not have been good enough and would have to be rejected. That is the way business is done at the committee.

     We also put forward several amendments to the very controversial FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, implementation aspect of Bill C-31, which was an attempt to make it a little better, this deeply flawed initiative that the Conservatives put forward, which has no business being in a budget bill in the first place, but there it is.

     Serious issues were raised at the committee stage regarding the implementation of this statute. I had hoped that the Conservatives would carefully consider and support the NDP amendments, which had been the subject of evidence from very notable experts, such as Professor Christians, the Stikeman Chair in Tax at McGill University, Professor Cockfield at Queen’s, who cautioned us that it was not necessary to proceed and jam this through, as they did, with no amendments whatsoever. Nevertheless, that is what is before us tonight.

    We say rushing this through in an omnibus budget bill without proper study is not only reckless but is entirely unnecessary. Why? Because the United States had recently delayed the application of FATCA sanctions until January 2015. We were told that Canada was already deemed in compliance with U.S. law, and legal experts told the committee that there was ample time to properly study and amend the agreement.

     More than one million Canadians will be affected by this draconian legislation. The Conservatives demonstrated they did not understand that dual Canadians were just as much Canadians as those of us born in this country. They did not understand the case of an individual in Calgary born of two U.S. persons who came to Canada decades ago, but were deemed to be U.S. persons by our American friends and therefore subject to this draconian statute. They did not understand that, and the evidence was shocking in that regard.

    Yet again, we are at report stage asking the Conservatives to slow down and remove FATCA from the budget so it can be properly scrutinized, so we can ensure the privacy and, indeed, the constitutional rights of those dual Canadians, our fellow Canadians, are protected. I assume we will find another negative answer to that question.

    As a result of a lack of willingness on the government side to make any amendments to the omnibus legislation, the New Democratic Party has moved to delete 266 clauses at report stage, and that is what is before us…
Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute and thank my neighbour and friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her intervention and her wisdom in pointing out the FATCA provisions in the bill. We already know those provisions will go to the Supreme Court of Canada. We already know the Conservatives have received legal advice and are moving in that direction. It was Peter Hogg who the government relied on for its ill-fated attempt in yet another omnibus budget bill to deal with Mr. Justice Nadon and that debacle. He was its expert, he prepared a written legal opinion to the effect that it was unconstitutional, so it will go to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Nathan Cullen:  Mr. Speaker, it is amazing that the same legal expert who the government relies on and lauds, Mr. Hogg, is the same expert who has warned it about this tax treaty that is buried within this 360-page omnibus bill. This one bill will affect more than 60 laws in Canada. Maybe later on in my speech, I will read out all the quotes of the Conservative members, including the Prime Minister and a whole bunch of folks who are now in cabinet, who hated this kind of process when Conservatives were in opposition. They said that it was undemocratic. They said that omnibus bills designed this way were unfair. They have taken what the Liberals were doing when they were in government and have put it on steroids. They actually ram even more into their omnibus legislation than the Liberals did, who were abusing the process.

    To the specific piece of this one bill that my friend raises around FATCA, witnesses at committee reported that up to one million Canadians might be exposed to this agreement. What it would do very explicitly, with no notice whatsoever, is affect people suspected of having some sort of relation or experience with the U.S. Maybe they were U.S. citizens at one point or maybe children were born in Canada to U.S. parents. The definition of a who a U.S. person is will not be made by the Canadian government; it will be made by Washington. Rest his soul, Mr. Flaherty spoke up against FATCA and this process, worried about the very thing that I am addressing now, which the Conservatives are choosing to heckle me on. He was worried that accidental Americans, which is what Mr. Flaherty said, would get swept up into this process.

    People’s private banking information will be collected by their banks, passed on to the CRA, and then on to the IRS without being notified at all. Personal banking information, as we know, can reveal a lot.

     Could my friend speak to the effort we are making as New Democrats right now to simply pull this piece of the bill out so we can understand what its implications are before the Conservatives impose this on up to a million Canadians?
Murray Rankin:  Mr. Speaker, my friend is absolutely right. Mr. Flaherty spoke up compassionately against these accidental Americans who would be caught in what I call the FATCA web. There are a million of them and the government is standing by and waiting for an inevitable lawsuit because it did not stand up for our sovereignty when this was before us initially. It is shocking.
It is indeed shocking what our government is doing to us. It is shocking they are violating our fundamental rights. It is shocking they are forcing us into what will be a long, brutal and costly battle to protect ourselves and our families.  It is shocking they will use our tax dollars to fight us in court.
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24 thoughts on “Murray Rankin says FATCA Act Will Go To Supreme Court of Canada. Donate to ADCS Now to Make That Happen!

  1. @Wanting to defect, I absolutely agree, same situation with me – my husband is JUST as affected by this as I am. In fact, this will affect a lot more than just the people directly  - it will affect just about every Canadian when banks raise their fees to cover the cost to become compliant, when someone’s financial account information gets sent to the IRS ‘in error’ and they have to spend money and effort trying to get their information removed from the IRS list.

    I’ve used the ‘million’ figure myself, in the terms of people who the US may try to claim as US persons, but I tend to use ‘at least 3 million’, and ‘more than 1 million’ when talking about the effect of FATCA.

    Personally, I think the politicians are being willfully blind to the effect because that’s the only way they can justify to themselves that it’s necessary to throw Canadians under the bus to save the big bank profits.

    I admit to feeling a little bitter and jaded right now, but I don’t think they give two hoots about how it affects our quality of life, our personal financial situation, our mental health, our ability to retire. They care about making themselves comfortable and ensuring that they personally keep their contacts happy so they have a job to go to when the Cons get booted out of power.

  2. Lynn
    The government is using the loosest definition of US person, It appears to me that you do not have to be tax complaint to avoid the US person label. They are even explicit on Green Card holder in Canada let alone people who threw it out 30 years ago. Is that James Richardson interptation that you do not have to do the 8854 to be safe in Canada?
    In addition have you heard from people who CLN but have not 8854 (tax compliance) if they have received letter from IRS. I am wondering if the US government will send claim for failure to do taxes to Canadian credit agencies that would red flag you as an American tax person to banks.

  3. I so appreciate the fight everyone is engaging in against FATCA. It is a shame that it has to come to this and that those in power on both sides of the border are so blind to justice and what this is doing to us Americans abroad and our families. I used to be proud to be an American but now consider it a curse – a noose around my neck and around my children’s neck. I would gladly hand over my US citizenship if it were that easy although now I am feeling betrayed by my Canadian citizenship as well. I feel stuck in a no win situation.
    The one thing I wish would be publicized more is that this affects far more than 1 million Canadians. I shake my head every time I hear that number thrown out because my husband is a Canadian citizen with no ties whatsoever to the states except through me. This stupidness affects him every bit as much as it does me. The fact is, the Canadian government, or Conservatives at least, are also willing to report their own citizen’s banking records who have no personal ties to the states whatsoever. This is no business of the US what my Canadian husband makes. This also has nothing to do with taxes as I don’t owe any taxes. I wish everyone pursuing this idiotic bill could have the same thing done to them and then maybe they would see what it feels like. At any rate, please get your numbers correct as this affects far more than 1million Canadians a good share of which don’t have any ties to the US!

  4. Murray Rankin, given the right to do so, would almost certainly have voted for Obama. I would have bet a lot of money on it.

    Remember. FATCA was one of Obama’s campaign platforms.

    Rankin is in the same boat as all other Obama enablers, or would be enablers. Rankin’s criticizing of the government is much like a judge who sets a criminal free, then has his house robbed by that criminal, and then turns around and blames the police for not protecting him.

  5. How sad it is, on this 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the Americans stood shoulder to shoulder with us in what was arguably the most important singular even of the 20th century, and were such magnificent allies in such a just war, that their behaviour has come to the point we are at now.

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