Response from NDP

I have just received a response to ADCS on the letter we sent to the leaders five months ago. Here is the reply from Murray Rankin.

RE: US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Thank you for writing to share your ongoing concerns regarding the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Canada and the United States designed to implement FATCA in Canada.
New Democrats are deeply troubled by the implications of FATCA and the associated IGA, and we are closely monitoring the litigation your organization has commenced against the Government of Canada.
From the beginning, many organizations raised the alarm that the IGA for the implementation of FATCA in Canada may violate the privacy rights of Canadians and could be subject to constitutional challenge.
The NDP has repeatedly raised concerns about the FATCA agreement that was negotiated behind closed doors and rushed through Parliament without proper consultation or examination.
Previously, New Democrats called on the Conservative government to acknowledge the broad concerns expressed by Canadians and civil society organizations regarding the implementation of this IGA. We asked the Conservative government to agree to remove it from omnibus Budget Bill C-31, which granted the Minister of National Revenue sweeping powers to make any regulation necessary to carry out the agreement.
It is my belief that the decision to rush this legislation through Parliament was reckless and, as a result, it lacks the safeguards needed to protect many of the rights that Canadians so dearly value.
New Democrats have repeatedly questioned Conservatives in the House of Commons and at the Standing Committee on Finance. It became abundantly clear that the Conservative government has very little understanding of the consequences of FATCA and has been tone deaf regarding the very real concerns of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Moving forward, New Democrats remain committed to ensure that Canadians’ voices are heard and that our laws are consistent with the constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canadian sovereignty more broadly.
A New Democrat government will order a full and urgent review of the FATCA IGA to identify and address all measures that threaten the constitutional and privacy rights of all Canadians.
We will seek to reopen the IGA for renegotiation with the United States in order to address the serious concerns of Canadians and ensure that their rights are protected. We will do so in an open and transparent manner – instead of the secretive manner pursued by the Conservatives.
More broadly, we will ensure that all proposed legislation is subject to a more robust screening to ensure compliance with the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservatives have failed to uphold this duty, with the result that, in many instances, litigation was initiated that could have been avoided.
As noted above, New Democrats continue to closely watch the progress of your litigation against the Government of Canada.
We also understand that many people across Canada are now directly facing the consequences of the agreement. New Democrat Members of Parliament will continue to assist individuals access the information and resources they need regarding how the FATCA IGA affects them.
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns you may have.
Murray Rankin
NDP Candidate for Victoria
NDP Deputy Critic for National Revenue

9 thoughts on “Response from NDP

  1. (cross-posted from IBS)
    Murray Rankin’s response is thorough, thoughtful, and absolutely correct in my opinion. It is exactly what I’d have expected from him, based not only on his performance on the House of Commons committee but also based on the personal attention and concerns regarding Charter and other constitutional issues I’ve received by email from Paul Dewar, my own NDP MP.
    Rankin’s response simply solidifies my very firm belief that in this election, the best choice to replace the current Conservative government (which absolutely must be thrown out, if we are to keep Canada a free and democratic society and country), would be an NDP minority government. (I’m never a fan of majority governments; Canada and Canadians are so diverse that we need a government that understands and is forced to listen and compromise, and majority governments historically have been horrible at that, Harper’s being by far the worst example.) We can’t vote for majority or minority governments, however. But given the way the polls are running, the best option IMO is to vote ABC, whoever in your riding is most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate, and the best hope is for an NDP minority. Failing which an NDP/Liberal coalition to unseat a Harper minority, under the nightmare scenario if he manages to get more seats than the others. He certainly won’t get anything near half the votes.
    It is imperative that a new government replace the current first-past-the-post electoral system we have, with a system that will not ever again give a majority of seats to a party that doesn’t get a majority, or very close to a majority, of the votes nationally. The NDP, Greens and most lately the Liberals have publicly committed to reforming the electoral system from first-past-the-post to either proportional representation (not my favourite, because some MPs would be chosen by party hacks and not by voters) or preferably a preferential-voting system, which is what Justin Trudeau endorsed recently and which in fact is how the NDP chose its current leader, though the party curiously thinks the country should go with proportional rep instead (which is one of several policy issues on which I disagree with the NDP, but then I’ll never completely agree with any conceivable political party …). The Conservatives, surprise surprise, are happy with first-past-the-post and oppose changing it (which rather surprises me considering what happened to them and Wildrose in Alberta’s provincial election this year).
    Whatever you do, VOTE in October, if you’re a Canadian citizen, and don’t vote Conservative. And not only because of FATCA, there are lots of other reasons to throw the Tories out. Best summary currently is here

  2. Excellent response from Murray Rankin. He was most impressive at the Bill C 31 hearings on the FATCA-IGA.
    A reminder that the group Leadnow has been working to make sure Harper and crew are defeated in this election. They are deserving of support.
    Looking ahead to the court decision, I wonder if ADCS has any plans to
    publicize the decision, no matter which way it turns out? You can be sure that if the decision is against the government, Berg et al will be making lots of doomsday noise.

  3. I’m impressed. Like Schubert, I’m never completely in agreement with all policies or stances of any of the political parties, but one thing I believe whole heartedly is that we HAVE to get rid of Harper and the Conservatives. And this is coming from a formerly unrepentant conservative voter for decades. We booted them in Alberta, it IS possible. I don’t know how the NDP would do in power, but I honestly believe they simply cannot do any worse than what’s already in power.

    1. My 8-14-year-old grandkids wouldn’t do worse than what’s already in power. I could even stomach a Liberal minority, though there’s no way I’m voting for them, and I definitely think an NDP minority would be by far the best possible outcome.

  4. again cross-posted from Brock, for complete coverage in case there are folks who browse Sandbox and not Brock:
    After reading several of the comments above, I wrote a glowing email to Tom Mulcair and my MP Paul Dewar, cc to Murray Rankin, thanking the NDP for their commitment to review and renegotiate the IGA if they form the next government.
    I blind-copied that email to several present or former alleged US persons in Canada, whom I know are very concerned about the IGA and who are mulling over who to vote for (other than the Cons, none of these people are evenly slightly inclined to do that).
    I urge anyone who knows a Canadian IGA-affected person who is not likely following all the threads on Brock or Sandbox closely or at all (there are folks like that, I know a few), who is a Canadian citizen and eligible to vote on October 19, and who as far as you know hasn’t decided yet who they will vote for, to forward Murray Rankin’s email reply to them. Also Trudeau’s if you wish, though the latter is so wishy-washy it probably would do the Liberals more damage than good if it got circulated, maybe that would be A Good Thing depending on your political views.
    Yes I know Elizabeth May and the Greens have also been very outspoken on this issue, but the brutal reality confirmed in all the polls I’ve seen, is that the Greens are only likely to re-elect Elizabeth but are unlikely to elect any other candidate and may actually drain progressive votes away from non-Tory candidates in some closely-contested ridings, so I’m not advocating beating any drums for the Greens, though I understand why Green supporters and admirers of Elizabeth May (among whom I definitely count myself) might want to do that.
    Every vote will count in this election, even in Tory-locked-in ridings (or allegedly so; the Alberta provincial Tories could tell a sad for them tale or two about that notion). Spreading the word that at least the NDP has taken a very forthright stance on the issue, may help tip Harper and crowd over the cliff. And, given that it took several months for Rankin to reply, and given that I’ve heard that Mulcair is trying to keep a relatively tight reign on his candidates though not as tight as Harper does, I think it’s quite safe to say Rankin’s email reflects NDP policy. If it doesn’t I’ll hear soon, because in my congratulatory email to Mulcair I pointedly included a full copy of Rankin’s email at the bottom, in the unlikely case I’m wrong and Mulcair didn’t know Rankin was writing this. If I hear anything about that, believe me you’ll hear back from me on that in this thread …

  5. This afternoon, I sent Nathan Cullen the following email in response to his email back to me from an earlier one I sent …
    From: Carol Tapanila
    Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 2:23 PM
    To: Nathan Cullen
    Subject: Re: FATCA in Canada
    Thanks very much for getting back to me. I really appreciate that.
    All Canadians affected need to know what the NDP will do. FATCA has never been covered adequately in the news media.
    We need your assurance in the NDP Policy Platform so that the media WILL better communicate the important information to ALL *US-deemed US Persons* in Canada.
    This will be a very important issue in the election if ALL who will be affected learn of FATCA and know who will be the Parties that will protect their Canadian rights. As well, all other Canadians need to know as well. Sovereignty of Canada should be an important, if not the most important, issue.
    I and all who know what has gone on behind the backs of Canadians would appreciate anything you can do, a continuation of your standing up for us in Parliament. Litigation could have been and should have been avoided and I will be forever grateful for your and others’ actions in Parliament.
    Many families want their Canadian lives back, protected by Canadian laws and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many others do not know what will hit them with FATCA.
    This is an important opportunity for NDP to match what the Green Party has stated in their Platform.
    Carol Tapanila
    Calgary, AB
    From: Nathan Cullen
    Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 2:11 PM
    Subject: RE: FATCA in Canada
    Hi Carol
    Thanks for taking the time to write me.
    As NDP finance critic, having worked closely with my colleage, NDP national revenue critic Murray Rankin, the NDP fought tooth and nail against this legislation when it was before the finance committee last year.
    I can confirm that a New Democrat government will order a full and urgent review of the FATCA IGA to identify and take action against all measures that threaten the constitutional and privacy rights of all Canadians. And we will do so in an open and transparent manner – instead of the secretive manner pursued by the Conservatives.
    More broadly, we will ensure that all proposed legislation is subject to a more robust screening to ensure compliance with the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservatives have failed to uphold this duty, with the result that, in many instances, litigation was initiated that could have been avoided.
    If you have any more questions, please get in touch.
    All the best,
    From: Carol Tapanila
    Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015 1:06 PM
    To: Nathan Cullen
    Subject: FATCA in Canada
    The message / Le message:
    The Green Party stands up for so much get back the Canada we knew and loved … including a plank in their platform on FATCA and on Canadian sovereignty:
    At last, one of the parties has promised to repeal FATCA if elected. The Green Party platform ( pledges:
    “We will repeal as unconstitutional the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). It essentially deprives any Canadian with US connections (even those short of dual citizenship) of full rights to privacy and treats them as a lesser Canadian.”
    In addition, the Green Party vows:
    “We will also repeal Bill C-24 which allows the minister of citizenship to revoke citizenship. Other threats to Canadians will be eliminated with the repeal of Bill C-51.”
    The Green Party says It’s Time to Restore Democracy. Amen. …
    We now absolutely know Elizabeth May and the Greens are in our corner and still fighting for us. *US Persons in Canada* need a firm commitment from Thomas Mulcair, even though we have the fine promise in Murray Rankin’s letter on the subject of FATCA in Canada to the Alliance for Canadian Sovereignty .
    Best regards and my continued thanks,
    Carol Tapanila
    Calgary, AB (Calgary Confederation)
    (I still have not heard from my NDP candidate, Kirk Heuser, or any representative in my riding.)

  6. Thanks Calgary. Cullen’s words are mainly a lift from Murray Rankin’s e-mail so it seems to be the official NDP position.
    It is important we all stay on top of this with all our candidates– especially with Green Party promising to repeal FATCA.
    While the election of a Green Government is very unlikely, their position on FATCA, C24 and C51 are music to my ears. I wish the other parties would show the same understanding and clarity.

  7. After I contacted the NDP National campaign and Murray Rankin’s office yesterday, I received this reply sent from Murray Rankin’s Assistant at 10:57 last night:

    Hello Lynne,
    We have sent an urgent letter to the minister. I can provide you with more detail tomorrow.

    I will post any updates when I receive them.

  8. Based on an e-mail I received from Murray Rankin’s Assistant this afternoon, it looks like when she said “We sent…”, she was referring to a letter from Nathan Cullen, NDP Finance Critic to Finance and Revenue Ministers.
    Included in Mr. Cullen’s letter is:

    The Canadian government can now request a delay of transfer and still remain compliant with FATCA, therefore I urgently request that you cease the planned transfer of information on September 23rd, and proceed request a delay from the United States government.
    The intergovernmental agreement to implement the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in Canada has been the subject of widespread criticisms. Serious concerns remain about the potential violation of privacy and constitutional rights as a consequence of the agreement, as well as the unknown costs to Canadians.

    It is the responsibility of the Government of Canada to ensure that privacy rights of all Canadians are protected.

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