Dear Justice Minister: FATCA Encroaches. Stop FATCA.

>Sent via e-mail to Minister of Justice Minister November 17, 2015

Dear Ms. Wilson-Raybould:

Congratulations on being elected as a Member of Parliament, on being appointed Minister of Justice, on ending the government’s defence on the niqab issue and on “welcome(ing) (Zunera Ishaq) to the Canadian family.”

I ask you to also ensure one million Canadians remain an integral part of the “Canadian family” with the same rights as all other Canadians in our sovereign country.

You can do that by ending the government defence of the lawsuit of Ginny Hillis and Gwen Deegan who have been Canadian citizens since birth.

Ginny was born just across the Canada-U.S. border 69 years ago. Gwen was born in the United States 53 years ago. Both came to Canada at the age of five with their Canadian parents. They have lived their entire lives as Canadian citizens. They were educated in Canada, married Canadian men, built their careers here, earn their incomes here, own homes here and raised their Canadian-born families here. Ginny is now a retired lawyer and Gwen is co-owner of a graphic art business with her husband. They have always paid taxes to Canada.

Ginny and Gwen are in the midst of a very costly lawsuit ($600,000 so far) against the government of Canada that is fighting them with their own tax dollars. The Conservative government surrendered Ginny, Gwen, one million other Canadian citizens and residents and Canadian laws, rights, constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms and sovereignty to a foreign bully.

Under American threats of economic sanctions and penalties, the Conservative government mandated Canadian financial institutions seek out Ginny, Gwen and one million Canadians for reporting their private financial information to the United States simply because they were born in the United States or have some other bizarre connection to the U.S.

After finding these “U.S. Persons,” Canadian financial institutions will report total assets, account balances, transactions, account numbers and other personal information to Canada Revenue Agency to hand over to United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This includes joint accounts with Canadian spouses and business partner. It even includes accounts where a “U.S. person” has signing authority with a Canadian charity, employer, or, in the case of lawyers, trust accounts.

As a proud and patriotic Canadian citizen for 42 years, I never thought I would see the day when the Government of Canada would pass a law that would prevail over all other Canadian laws (except the Income Tax Act) on demands of a foreign government. Yet, that is exactly what the Conservative government did last year.

One Conservative M.P. even told Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance “Congress has spoken.” How can this be in a free, democratic and sovereign country?

Many of the Canadians caught in this nightmare have been Canadian citizens for three, four, five or more decades. Some, like Ginny and Gwen, have been Canadian citizens their entire lives and were simply born in the U.S. when their Canadian families were living there temporarily. Some are “Border Babies” who were born in the U.S. when their Canadian mothers were sent there to give birth.

“Why do our most heinous criminals have more Charter rights than I do,” asks a Nova Scotia police officer who was born in Maine when his mother was sent there to give birth over a half century ago.

If Canadians born in China, Russia, Iran, India or Eritrea were being ferreted out by their Canadian banks for reporting to those countries, there would be outrage. Canadians born in the U.S. should have the same rights as all other Canadians.

Ginny and Gwen are represented by Vancouver constitutional lawyer Joseph Arvay. The lawsuit was filed 15 months ago, but no trial has yet been held or even scheduled on the constitutional or Charter of Rights issues because your Ministry is delaying the case.

Please ensure Ginny, Gwen and one million Canadians remain part of the “Canadian family.” Stop FATCA now.

I ask you to immediately:

`1) End the government defence of this lawsuit

2) Repeal or amend the FATCA enabling legislation

3) Ensure Canadian laws prevail over a foreign law in Canada.

4) Inform U.S. government that FATCA will not be enforced in Canada on Canadian citizens and residents

In the attached letter to me, Justin Trudeau said the “government of Canada has a responsibility to stand up for its citizens when foreign governments are encroaching on their rights.”

FATCA encroaches. It is time for the Government of Canada to stand up for Canadians.

Lynne Swanson
(address)
(telephone)

P.S. Many of your Liberal colleagues are also opposed to FATCA. Attached are a few of the statements made by some of them.

10 thoughts on “Dear Justice Minister: FATCA Encroaches. Stop FATCA.

  1. Lynne Swanson Post author

    Just sent one more e-mail to the Justice Mininster:

    The betrayal of Canadians by the Liberal government continues. You have not given me the courtesy of a reply to my e-mails or a print letter sent via snail mail. Neither have several other Liberal Cabinet Ministers.

    Kate Young, my Liberal MP, will not meet with me until she knows what the Liberal position on FATCA is.

    Considering the numerous comments (attached again) Liberal MPs and the Prime Minister made against FATCA when they were in Opposition and the silence since forming the government, it is apparent Canadians born in the United States do not meet the Prime Minister’s standard of “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

    As a patriotic Canadian citizen for 43 years, I am devastated that my government is not willing to ensure my Charter rights, Human Rights and privacy rights prevail over the demands of a foreign government.

    I again ask you to “advocate strongly” for Canadian citizens and residents by:

    1) Ending the government defence of the FATCA lawsuit.
    2) Repealing or amending the FATCA enabling legislation
    3) Ensuring Canadian laws prevail over a foreign law in Canada.
    4) Informing U.S. government that FATCA will not be enforced in Canada on Canadian citizens and residents

    I hope you will reply and show me the Charter of Rights and Freedoms truly means “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

    Lynne Swanson

    Reply
    1. BC_Doc

      Great letter, Lynne. Thank you!

      I still haven’t heard a peep from Marc Garneau in response to the letter I sent him on December 3rd.

      I’m not impressed thus far.

    2. Lynne Swanson Post author

      @BC Doc:  Is Marc Garneau willing to meet with you to discuss FATCA or is he doing like my MP and refusing to meet with you until he knows what the Liberals will do?

      JT’s direction to the Lib MPs to be a “strong voice” for their constituents did not last long.

    3. BC_Doc

      Hi Lynne,
      Marc Garneau is the MP in my former riding– NDG/Westmount. I’m in the Okanagan now and stuck with a Conservative. I reached out to MG as a Liberal Party member and donor– I had also communicated with him on Twitter. I am hitting radio silence now. I plan on phoning his riding office this week. As I’ve said, I am really unimpressed. I expect something– even just a “We are studying how to fix this. We’ll be in touch shortly.” If I wished to be ignored, I could have contacted my local MP. But, this after all is why we are suing– to uphold our Charter citizenship rights which the present and former government see fit to violate for political expediency.
      All the best,
      BC Doc

  2. Lynne Swanson Post author

    I just sent the following to Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould

    Subject: FATCA Betrayal

    First, one million Canadians were betrayed by the Conservatives for a foreign government.

    Now those one million Canadians are being betrayed by the Liberals for a foreign government.

    Lawyers for your Ministry have informed Joseph Arvay. (the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the FATCA lawsuit) that instructions from you related to the lawsuit have not changed from those of the former Conservative government.

    This is despite the numerous statements made against FATCA by Liberal MPs–some who are now Cabinet Ministers. Several of those quotes are attached.

    On The Current on CBC you said you are “someone who advocates strongly.” You described yourself as “a defender of social justice issues.”

    You also said you and your Cabinet colleagues will “take an approach that upholds the values that are articulated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and upholds Canadian values around diversity and inclusiveness.”

    Prime Minister Trudeau insists “A Canadian is a Canadian.” In Mr. Trudeau’s attached letter to me, he said “The government of Canada has a responsibility to stand up for their citizens when foreign governments are encroaching on their rights. We believe the deal reached between Canada and the U.S. is insufficient to protect affected Canadians.”

    “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” must include Canadians born in the United States.

    A foreign government is “encroaching on (our) rights.”

    “Advocate strongly.” Be a “defender of social justice issues.”

    “Take an approach that upholds the values that are articulated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

    Stop the betrayal. Stand up for Canadians. Change the instructions to your Ministry’s lawyers. Stop defending an indefensible law. Protect affected Canadians.

    Lynne Swanson
    (Address)
    (Telephone)

    Reply
  3. Duke of Devon

    Hon. J. Wilson-Raybould
    Minister of Justice, Government of Canada
    I was thrilled about the Liberal victory in the recent election and with the Cabinet’s makeup. Congratulations.
    In July 2014 Canada signed an agreement with the U.S.A. to implement an American law in Canada.
    There are many things about this agreement which make it bad policy.
    -It overrides Canadian sovereignty
    -It discriminates against dual Canadian citizens and ‘accidental Americans’ on the basis of national origin
    -It overrides privacy rights.
    -The cost to the Government of Canada and the private sector far out way any possible benefit. The Bank of Nova Scotia estimated their cost at $100 million! Benefit to Canada –nil.
    There are many myths surrounding the adoption of the IGA.
    ‘Canada negotiated a better deal’. In fact the wording of the IGA is the same word for word as all other countries. The wording was dictated by the U.S.
    ‘There will be reciprocity’. In fact there won’t be reciprocity. The U.S. has committed to try their best. We turn over the names of American persons resident in Canada. They will try to turn over the names of Canadians resident in Canada. There is no conceivable way for the U.S. to reciprocate with 100 different countries.
    ‘We have no choice; our banks will not be able to business in the U.S.’. The idea that the US can withhold 30% of capital transferred to non-compliant banks is a giant bluff.
    I could go on. There is a wonderful exposition of the FATCA follies at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Account_Tax_Compliance_Act?
    There is a lawsuit underway opposing the IGA on the basis of Charter violations. (Hillis et. al. v. AGC et. al. ) We ask your officials to end the defense of the lawsuit and to repeal the IGA or amend it to exclude permanent residents of Canada.
    Sincerely,
    Duke

    Reply
  4. calgary411

    Thank you for the excellent letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Lynne.

    Yes, surely Gwen and Ginny have always been part of *the Canadian family* no matter their very accidental place of birth. *A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian* and residing in the sovereign country of Canada, no meaningful connection to the US, they must have the same rights as all other Canadians.

    Reply

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