FATCA Letter to Leaders and MPs

In this election year, ADCS has sent letters requesting Party policy on FATCA:

Letter to Leader of NDP
Letter to Leader of Liberals
Letter to Leader of Green Party
Letter to Leader of Conservatives
Copies of that letter to several Opposition Critics, Cabinet Ministers or some MPs.

As you can see, these letters are very similar. We ask direct questions relating to FATCA. As an example, here is the content of the letter to Thomas Mulcair:

Thank you to you, the NDP and some of your MPs for standing up for Canadian citizens and residents, whether born in the United States, in Canada or in any other country, against the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) enabling legislation.

You may be aware we have commenced litigation against the Government of Canada resulting from the Conservative government surrendering Canadian citizens, residents, laws, constitution and sovereignty to the United States for FATCA.

We are disappointed at your near silence since the FATCA enabling act was passed. We are, therefore, contacting you now to request your party’s policy in writing on what you would do if the NDP is elected to form the next government.

Specifically, we ask:

1. Will your party commit to repealing the FATCA IGA in its entirety?
2. If not, why not?
3. What action will your party take to protect Canadian citizens and residents from the demands of a foreign government under FATCA?
4. What action will your party take to uphold Canadian laws, the constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian sovereignty as they relate to FATCA?
5. What action will your party take to agree with our lawsuit that the FATCA enabling Act violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s constitution? Will you direct the Ministry of Justice to quickly reach an acceptable settlement with us?
6. What action will your party take to ensure a foreign law does not prevail over Canadian privacy, human rights, banking and other laws?
7. What is your time frame for any commitment you may make?

Approximately one million Canadians, their families and business associates are affected by FATCA and many will want to know which party represents their needs and rights. Many will make their voting decision based on this.

We hope the NDP will fight for their rights as Canadians.

I will advise you of the responses we receive or if we do not receive responses.

Other Canadians may wish to write to their MPs and/or candidates in their ridings. You can share responses you receive here.

27 thoughts on “FATCA Letter to Leaders and MPs

  1. I just gave the reply from the NDP its own thread, but I am posting it here also so it remains available in this thread.

    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.

    Sincerely,

    Murray Rankin

    NDP Candidate for Victoria

    NDP Deputy Critic for National Revenue

    • Today I have been preparing an e-mail for my riding’s NDP candidate so it’s good to get this update. I am guardedly optimistic about the NDP. I had already included my appreciation for the efforts to bring sanity to the FATCA debate (such as it has been) by NDP MPs, Murray Rankin and Nathan Cullen. Thank you for your perseverance, Lynne. You are so good at keeping your foot down on the edge of the rug to keep this issue from being swept out of sight in the run up to the election.

  2. This is an e-mail that I just sent to Justin Trudeau with a cc to my Liberal candidate.

    Last week, you said “All Canadians have to know that the government has their back.”

    You insisted the Conservative government’s Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act “devalues Canadian citizenship by creating two classes of citizenship.” You vowed to repeal that Act. You promised a Liberal government “will guarantee that all Canadians’ fundamental rights are respected as guided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

    So, why aren’t you taking such a strong stand against the FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and the enabling law that supersedes all Canadian laws on the demands of a foreign bully?

    Would a Liberal government “have the back” of Canadians born in the United States? Would a Liberal government repeal the IGA? If not, would a Liberal government amend the enabling legislation to protect Canadian citizens and residents born in the U.S.? Would a Liberal government restore full citizenship to Canadians born in the U.S.? Would a Liberal government “guarantee that all Canadians’ fundamental rights are respected as guided by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?”

    I know what your father would have done. He would have stood up for one million Canadians. He would have told the United States “You can’t FATCA Canada or Canadian citizens.” When the media asked how far he would go to have the back of Canadians, he would have said “Just watch me.” He would have guaranteed that Canadians born in the U.S. have their fundamental rights respected under the Charter.

    What will you do? Are you ready to stand up to the Americans for Canadians? My vote depends on your answer.

  3. Here is what I sent to Murray Rankin’s Assistant on Friday with a cc to my NDP candidate:

    Hello Maura. It has been 11 days since you told me you would speak with Mr. Rankin “tomorrow.” You said the NDP was finalizing a response to our questions. Yet more than five months after we sent questions, we are getting the same silence from the NDP that we had from the Conservatives.

    People are asking NDP candidates questions about FATCA, They are unable to reply to what the NDP position is,

    Does the NDP care about one million Canadian citizens and their votes (along with those of their families)? It seems the answer is No.

    Here is what one person posted on line today:

    I did think that my vote would be ABC *Anything But Conservative* (a poor way to have to vote). But, if no Party Leader will stand up and legitimatize the FATCA issue in Canada, my vote may be *None of the Above*. If you, dear Opposition Party Leader, NDP or otherwise, do not have the time or inclination to weigh in on this, then I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU MAY PROMISE. I see no reason to give you my vote — you disgust me!

    My own NDP candidate (whose wife was born in the U.S.) cannot answer my questions on FATCA. So, I may also refrain from voting for the first time since I became a Canadian citizen 42 years ago. Or I will vote for the party that shows me they care about fundamental rights of Canadians.

    Will that be the NDP? When can we expect a response?

  4. Following my post yesterday, I sent this to Murray Rankin and his Assistant:

    Hello again. As I advised in an earlier e-mail, I will continue to ask what the NDP will do about FATCA if you are elected to form the next government.

    Your lack of response to very direct questions that were asked five months ago is very troubling. As I mentioned previously, silence is exactly what the Conservatives did for months before they betrayed Canadians with the IGA. I hope the NDP’s silence does not signify another betrayal.

    Please advise what and when the NDP will do about this unprecedented assault on Canadian citizens, residents, laws, rights, constitution and Charter.

    I also tweeted.

    Lynne Swanson ?@LynneBlaze 15h15 hours ago
    @MurrayRankin After u & @nathancullen strongly fought #FATCA y r u, @ThomasMulcair @NDP_HQ now silent? http://bit.ly/1Gfh7DF
    Pls reply

    Murray Rannkin’s Assistant replied:

    Hello Lynne,
    We are finalizing our response.
    Again, my apologies for the delay.
    We’ve had people off and as you know we are now into the election campaign period and MP offices are not functioning as they were.
    I’ll be speaking to Mr. Rankin about this tomorrow.
    Regards,
    Maura Parte

    So they didn`t deal with it when Parliament was in session. Now “offices are not functioning as they were.“

    I have no idea what that means for finalization of a response. Of course, five months of offices “functioning as they were“ did not produce a reply to what were very direct questions.

  5. Following my conversation with Murray Rankin’s Assistant on July 21, I received this e-mail from her:

    Thank you for the call today Lynne. We will endeavour to get you a reply soon. Mr. Rankin is not available right now but I will share with him your concerns.

    MAURA PARTE
    Office of Murray Rankin | MP Victoria
    New Democratic Party | Nouveau Parti démocratique

    I replied that same day:

    Thank you. I hope you are able to respond soon. The four months of silence from the NDP has been a huge disappointment after Mr. Ramkin and several NDP MPs were so outspoken before the enabling legislation was passed.

    As I advised, this feels similar to what happened with the Conservatives. First Jim Flaherty was outspoken against FATCA. Then he went silent. Then he announced the IGA.

    I hope we will have better treatment from the NDP.

    On August 4, I sent the following e-mail:

    Now that the election campaign is officially underway, are you able to provide an update on the FATCA IGA and enabling legislation?

    Specifically, what and when will the NDP do if elected?

    On August 6, I sent:

    I’m asking again and will continue to ask until we have an answer.

    When can we expect an answer? It has been over four months since we asked some fundamental questions on FATCA.

    This is feeling like déjà vu. First the Conservatives, especially Jim Flaherty, were outspoken against FATCA. Then they went silent. Then they announced the IGA and betrayed one million Canadians.

    First the NDP, especially Murray Rankin and Nathan Cullen, were outspoken against FATCA. Then they went silent.

    Can we expect better from the NDP or will it be déjà vu?

    There has been no response.

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