I have again been in contact with Abby Deshman at Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Abby has advised they are currently researching whether they will be involved in our FATCA lawsuit.
Here is the content of an e-mail I just received from Abby. I am posting it here with her consent.
Thank you very much for getting in touch with us regarding the ongoing litigation over FATCA and the implications of the recent legislation and inter-governmental agreement.
You have asked for more information about CCLA’s process for deciding whether or not to intervene in a particular case, as well as an update on whether we intend to intervene in the Hillis v. Canada case. The CCLA prioritizes its research and intervention decisions to match litigation deadlines. In every case that is brought to our attention, we conduct background legal and policy research to help assess whether we want to intervene, and if so what position the organization will take. All intervention decisions are approved by our General Counsel, and in some cases our Board of Directors as well. We generally focus cases that raise public interest and systemic issues, and frequently direct our resources towards the cases that have will set binding legal precedent (for example, appellate cases).
While CCLA is not able to get involved in every case that is brought to our attention, this is an issue we have spoken out on before, and that we are actively looking at for a possible intervention when the time comes. We are currently in the legal and policy research phase, and hope to complete that work in the near future. We will definitely let you know as soon as we can when we decide whether we are intervening in the case.
I hope this information helps, please feel free to get in touch with Laura Berger if you would like to discuss this matter further.
24 thoughts on “Update from CCLA on FATCA Lawsuit”
Well that certainly isn’t a NO, is it. Thanks for your perseverance, Lynne.
@EmBee No, it is not a no. It is also not a yes–but I hope it will become a yes.
@Embee Was that a double or triple negative? Maybe it should have been: Yes, that is not a no.
But it still is not a yes–which is what we are hoping for!
LOL … I was wondering about that too — single?, double?, triple? — no matter. Thanks for continuing to press for YES.
I wish I could say I’m holding my breath, but I’m not. Too many waffle words in that email IMO.
Mind you, with the Harperites deluging Parliament with such legal outrages (e.g., C-51) and absurdities (e.g., the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, absurd as in, is this really a problem in Canada? there are teeming hordes of barbarians at our doors wanting to immigrate with multiple under-16 wives?), I guess it is pretty hard to set priorities. The Harper strategy seems now to be to swamp the legal profession and judiciary with all sorts of red herrings and needless legislative crap, in hopes no one will notice they’re starving our health system of funding and letting our environment, economy and labour market race to the bottom of the world barrel and violate our Charter of Rights and Freedoms every chance they can get.
“You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.” (Stephen Harper,2006)
Unfortunately, he was one politician who kept his promise.
Yes, thanks, Lynne, for staying on the CCLA. Every ray of hope, no matter how slender, is worth pursuing.
Still no word from CCLA on our case. Repeated telephone calls to Abby Deshman’s replacement (Abby is on maternity leave) have not been returned.
So, Schubert, feel free to say “I told you so.”
Meanwhile, CCLA Presents Concerns to UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva relating to C51, refugee issues, solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, violence against aboriginal women, revocation of Canadian citizenship and other issues.
The Guardian and Huffington Post are reporting on this.
For us, there is nothing. So, once again, Schubert…
One of those times when I wish I’d been wrong.
FWIW, I sent a tax-free contribution to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association recently, in support of their lawsuit (with the Canadian Federation of Refugee Lawyers) challenging the legality of Bill C-24’s provision to remove Canadian citizenship from any naturalized Canadian or even Canadian-born Canadian citizen who could in theory have a claim on another citizenship (US-born parent, for example), if accused (not necessarily convicted) of “terrorism” or “treason” (for now, those are the only charges, but could be expanded without parliamentary or judicial review). While this isn’t directly related to FATCA, if the lawsuit succeeds it would set a legal precedent banning any second-class treatment of any Canadian citizen IMO. I set them an email, mentioning FATCA, and got an encouraging reply (acknowledging the similarity with the FATCA issue) from their donor relations coordinator also thanking me for the donation and my thoughts.
So why is it that a provincial CLA has more on the ball on this whole constellation of citizenship issues, when the federal CLA ignores us?
I’m really glad I quit CCLA. I wonder if I can join BCCLA, even though I don’t live in BC and never have?
God Bless BCCLA at any rate. Donate to them and not to CCLA, if you’re in the mood for a tax-deductible donation to a CLA. BC deserves it; the national one doesn’t. IMO.
@Schubert: We have missed you. Glad to have your fighting spirit back. I wish you had been wrong regarding CCLA too.
I agree BCCLA is far more active on many issues than CCLA.
I sent the following e-mail to Laura Berger who is filling in during Abby Deshman’s maternity leave.
Thank you for following up with CCLA. It is a sad state of affairs, when the federal CLA is not very involved with an issue like FATCA with the violation of our rights and freedoms by the current Con government.
Thanks for bringing our attention to BCCLA. I live in BC and just today donated the $35 to become a member. BCCLA asks for comments on why one decided to join. I mentioned their involvement with Bill C-24 and C-51. Then I commented in more detail on Bill C-31, FATCA and the IGA. From the online application, it looks like anyone from anywhere can join BCCLA. You can select any province or country from their menu so people outside BC can become members for a small donation.
I will follow up with BCCLA about our upcoming lawsuit and Federal Court dates. If anyone has ideas on how to do this, please let me know as I don’t have much experience with this.
I received this email message from BCCLA yesterday:
Thanks for taking the time to send us your views. We definitely share your concerns about FATCA and Bill C-51. As a small organization we have to make many difficult decisions about where to focus our limited resources, and Bill C-24 is taking up the bulk of our focus at the moment. Joe Arvay is a fantastic lawyer, and we’ve worked with him many times in the past. He does great work on civil liberties cases such as these, so I’m glad to hear of his involvement in challenging FATCA.
Thanks again for your email.
Donor Relations and Digital Strategy Coordinator
BC Civil Liberties Association
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 604-630-9757
Catherine’s response was in reply to my email to BCCLA:
Subject: Re: Support equal citizenship this Canada Day!
It would be fantastic if BC Civil Liberties Association also recognizes the first group of second-class Canadian citizens as of July 1, 2014. Here is a write-up I did about the relationship between Bills C-31 (2014), C-24 and C-51:
Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada spoke about C-51 and ‘the Insecurity of Human Rights’ on June 24, 2015 at Calgary Public Library, Central branch. What a great presentation (and turn-out for the short notice). Wish there had been more time, including more time for discussion. I was able to get Mr. Neve’s business card and gave him this page that I put together to hand him:
Bills C-31 (2014), C-51 (2015) and C-24 (2015) — their connecting relationship and new Two-Tiered Canadian Citizenship
It’s been an interesting progression for three of the Conservative laws rammed through the Canadian Parliament without full due consideration of what legal and other experts had to say. (Neither the Information Commissioner nor the Privacy Commissioner testified to committees considering Bill C-24.)
· Bill C-31* (2014), the first Canadian legislation to make approximately one million Canadians who are deemed US Citizens (plus their Canadian spouses, plus their Canadian-born children, plus their Canadian business partners who will be US taxable because they have a US business partner taint — all deemed *US Persons*), SECOND-CLASS Canadian citizens. They have been defined by the Conservative government *US citizens who happen to reside in Canada* (whether also Canadian citizens, even those born in Canada who have never lived or received any benefit from the US)…
*The Government of Canada has signed a ‘FATCA IGA’ (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Intergovernmental Agreement) with the United States to help that foreign country acquire assets of those Canadians it alone deems to be ‘U.S. persons’. FATCA is the enforcement tool for the imposition of that peculiar and punitive U.S. style ‘place of birth’ taxation on the world. …the Canadian legislation that implements the FATCA IGA said to violate the Canadian Constitution, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the principles of Canadian sovereignty and democracy and the fundamental rights of all Canadians. Nathan Cullen (NDP), Official Opposition Critic for Finance, was not heeded when he said about Bill C-31 / implementation of the US FATCA IGA …
“Why the government wouldn’t vote to clarify that the Charter of Rights, the Bill of Rights, the Human Rights Act, the Privacy Act, the Official Languages Act, and the Access to Information Act will supersede anything we sign in this tax treaty is beyond me. If it’s redundant, then so be it. Let’s have a redundant aspect of a legislative bill. I’m stunned that something so obvious can’t be accepted into law.”
· to Bill C-51 (2015) which could deem any of us who dare speak out or gather in protest in this country a threat to Canada. One example — if a Canadian citizen, who is also deemed a US citizen (see above) with the secondary US citizenship one the US deems superior to their Canadian, should now oppose Canada protecting its banks before protection of its own citizens and residents, could that person be perceived a threat to Canada and the Canadian economy by speaking out and opposing the actions of Canadian financial institutions (deemed by the US *foreign financial institutions*)? A threat to local Canadian financial institutions who will be sanctioned by the US if they do not comply in collecting and turning over Canadian private financial information on specific *US Persons* to Canada Revenue Agency who will in turn send on to the US IRS? A bonus, with this Bill, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been given permission to share our income tax filings with 13 additional government agencies – and, because of FATCA, CRA will have far more information about *U.S. Persons* than they will about other Canadians.
· and now Bill C-24, adding the remainder of those from many countries around the world who chose to become Canadian citizens by naturalization, as well as their children who were born in Canada – to those *US Persons* whose Canadian citizenship is now CONDITIONAL and SECOND-CLASS. It paves a road where under some circumstances (like invoking some of Bill C-51, Canadians with another nationality (and those who are eligible to obtain another nationality) *could have* their Canadian citizenship revoked . Their Canadian citizenships are not the same as any others’ Canadian citizenships. They are now not afforded the same due-process and rights provided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to any other Canadian citizen. This new law *could have the effect and power* of silencing some voices of *dual citizens* or persons who could claim a second nationality. Now a segment of this country’s citizens may exist in the shadow of other Canadians. Is this what we want for Canada – a second-class of Canadian citizenship?
Constitutional lawyer, Rocco Galati, has reported he is preparing a court challenge for Bill C-24 and is interested in heading a court challenge for Bill C-51 (http://pressfortruth.ca/top-stories/rocco-galati-preparing-court-challenge-against-bill-c-24/ ).
On August 4th, a summary trial will be heard at Federal Court in Vancouver for the FATCA IGA lawsuit filed on behalf of two *Accidental American / non-meaningful American* Canadian plaintiffs (born on US soil to Canadian parents but who returned with their parents as young children to live in Canada). They come forward for all those deemed *US Persons in Canada*. Litigator, Joseph Arvay, another Canadian constitutional lawyer, leads this expensive effort against legislation passed with omnibus Bill C-31(2014) (http://www.adcs-adsc.ca/ ).
Remember, Stephen Harper said “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through.”
We could be stronger if we worked together. What has Canada become?
‘Why should anyone trust what the US government says on cybersecurity when they can’t secure the systems they have full control over?’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/24/irs-employees-password-no-wonder-we-get-hacked
..”..The agency that has been singled out for some of the worst criticism in recent years is the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that is supposedly in charge of securing all other government systems. The New York Times reported this weekend that the IRS’s systems still allow users to set their passwords to “password,” along with other hilariously terrible mistakes. .”..
Also donate to the ADCS challenge http://www.adcs-adsc.ca/DonateADCS.html and help prevent a sovereign government from turning over the information of a million or more Canadians to an extraterritorial aggressor – the USA! Help draw this line in the sand to put Canada and other governments on notice that depriving their own citizens and resident taxpayers and accountholders to satisfy the US is NOT lawful or just and WILL NOT be borne. WE HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS and with YOUR HELP WE ARE PUSHING BACK against FATCA.
Say NO TO FATCA and US data extortion!!!
Calgary, AB, Canada
That’s a great correspondence from you to BCCLA. Your connection of the three Bills (C-31, C-51, C-24) to second class citizenship is right on. At least BCCLA sent a reply expressing concerns about FATCA and confidence in our lawyer, Joe Arvay. I do think that the intrusion of US law onto Canadian soil, and the resulting erosion of our freedom, does deserve more attention from this organization so will send my thoughts as well.
Still no response from Laura Berger at CCLA despite my many phone calls and follow up e-mail to her.
CCLA announced today CCLA is Mounting a Charter Challenge to C51 with Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
I’m glad they are challenging C51 but am disturbed that they will not even tell us if they will intervene in our case.
As a wise person told me over a year ago “No response is a response.”
CCLA’s silence on FATCA speaks volumes. Schubert was right.
When Laura Berger did not return my numerous telephone messages or even acknowledge the e-mai I sent to her on July 7, I followed up with Sukanya Pillay, the Executive Director of CCLA.
She promptly replied:
“Cannot always act.” “Limited resources.” That probably gives us a clue as to where we stand on CCLA’s “concerns.”
A second clue is the Burning Questions for Candidates from CCLA. Not a mention of FATCA.
Schubert called it over six months ago.
Yesterday I sent another e-mail to Sukanya Pillay.
Today, CCLA tweeted:
It’s not just the Harper Cons who think we should be second class citizens. It seems CCLA agrees.
I e-mailed the following to the Executive Director of CCLA today:
I replied to her:
How many times will I say Schubert was right before I give up on CCLA?
CCLA has written to Mr. Trudeau: Time for Real Change in Human Rights Law and Policy.
Once again, we and FATCA are not mentioned.
Here is what they tweeted and my response:
CDN Civil Liberties @cancivlib 3h3 hours ago
We’re not wasting any time. See our letter to Canada’s new prime minister regarding our key human rights concerns. http://ow.ly/TJGYf
Lynne Swanson @LynneBlaze 2h2 hours ago
@cancivlib Y is there no mention of #FATCA attack on 1 million Canadians in CCLA letter 2 @JustinTrudeau?
Schubert was right.
It’s been five months since CCLA said they would let us know “when we are ready.” They have not provided any further update to me or (to the best of my knowledge) to others.
For months I have been tweeting them trying to get CCLA to respond and take a stand. Others, including JCDoubleTaxed in Australia and Jason Pedley and WildlifeFotog (The Animal) have joined in. We have been met with silence.
Yesterday, I called CCLA #CharterFirst Hypocrites.
I think I struck a nerve. Today, CCLA replied on Twitter and advised they submmitted FATCA Concerns to UN in a presentation they did.
I asked if we can get a copy of what they actually presented about FATCA in CCLA Concerns to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
Another response from CCLA! At 7:19 pm on a Friday evening. Who knew calling CCLA Hypocrites would get a response when all else has failed.
FATCA is covered in Sections 56-59 of the CCLA Report to the UN Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. It is far weaker than I would like it to be, but it is there.
I forwarded the report to ADCS Directors, the Arvay Team and to Muzzled No More who was the primary author of our complaint to the Human Rights Committee (which seems to be stalled at the entry stage).
More from CCLA between JCDoubleTaxed in Australia and CCLA in Canada about CCLA’s report in Switzerland.
Did you see this:
‘CCLA Presents Concerns to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights’
February 26, 2016
“…….Privacy-invasive and potentially discriminatory tax reporting measures affecting a distinct group of Canadians as a result of an inter-governmental agreement between the United States and Canada to implement the former’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act domestically;”
Sorry, didn’t realize you’d already posted the link and citation and that the tweet exchange referred to same.