How The U.S. Pulled Off The Great Canadian Privacy Giveawa

By Arthur Cockfield and Allison Christians in today`s Globe and Mail: How the U.S. Pulled Off the Great Canadian Privacy Giveaway.

For the first time in Canadian history, our federal government is preparing to provide a foreign government with sensitive personal financial information about hundreds of thousands of Canadians. It is doing so to stave off threatened economic sanctions, and is getting nothing in return.

Their article tells the “`sad saga“ of how the US managed to pull it off and makes a suggestion for an amendment to the enabling law that would allow reporting only on U.S. residents.

14 thoughts on “How The U.S. Pulled Off The Great Canadian Privacy Giveawa

  1. I urge everyone, especially those living in ridings with a Conservative MP, to forward this link to their MPs. Particularly for those in Tory ridings, I think it worthwhile to call to your MP’s attention the comments in this article concerning how financial information on small and other businesses held or financially managed partially by “US persons” could and probably will be abused by IRS to aid US competitors against those businesses. No true conservative politician should accept this. I’m not optimistic, but it’s worth trying to shake a few Tory backbenchers loose from their minders. Urge your MP to have the IGA and enabling legislation broken free from the “budget” omnibus bill and debated and voted on separately, and NOT as a confidence motion and with a free vote by caucus members. There are just too many things wrong for Canada in this legislation, and not just for so-called US persons. Writing MPs may not make any difference, but not writing them at all definitely will make no difference whatsoever.

  2. Just read an interesting article in Nomadic Politics, by Robert Morris. It’s actually from March 23rd, but I just ran across it. “FATCA: Why New Tax Haven Laws are a Disaster in the Making
    An excerpt,
    “As FATCA shows, the US is still the top dog. Nobody without hegemonic power would be able to pull off something this offensive. This dominance is slipping away year by year. Even as the US gets richer, it loses standing in proportion to the rest of the world’s wealth. A day will come when the US doesn’t get to automatically get its way when discussing financial issues.”

  3. Please note that this can only be considered a law in Canada is because of the 1995 Canada USA Tax treaty.

  4. @ GeorgeIII
    This forum has already dealt with the rubbish that the bonehead wrote in the Squamish chief website. It is absolute hogwash what he said. Nowhere in our constitution are laws of other countries mentioned.
    Think about it. Any Canadian citizen who owns property would be contravening North Korean and Cuban law. Any woman in Canada who drives a car would be contravening the laws of Sodomy Arabia. Any Muslim in Canada who converts to another religion would be contravening the laws of Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, and many other countries, and would face the death penalty.
    Do you think that Canada has regressed so badly that our constitution would not protect those people?

  5. Well I’m no lawyer but logically the Charter must apply to everyone, otherwise it would be useless. So whether one is a Canadian citizen or not, in violation of this or that law or not, it doesn’t matter. And yes, that former BMO employee was a bonehead. It’s not hard to see why he is a former employee.
    The charter must apply equally to persons accused of a crime, persons convicted of a crime, citizens, permanent residents, illegal immigrants, or refugees. Anything less and it becomes meaningless. “Perfect” people have no need for a Charter. The Charter is for everyone else.

  6. @ GeorgeIII,
    Re: the quote from Mr. Bill Cavanagh, Former Program Manager, Capital Markets, Bank of Montréal — “To take advantage of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you must be a Canadian citizen and you must not be contravening any laws in Canada or any other country.”
    I won’t get into the absurdity of “contravening any laws [of] any other country” because Arctic Greyling has given some really good examples, and because contravening any laws, anywhere, is irrelevant to Charter rights.
    Former Bank of Montréal Program Manager Cavanagh stated “to take advantage of [the Charter] you must be a Canadian citizen.” He should be aware – but obviously is not — that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to “everyone” in Canada, except where it explicitly states “every citizen” (this latter occurs in a very few sections which deal with very specific matters, such as s. 2 (right to vote) and s. 6 (right to enter and remain in Canada) and s. 23 (education language rights).
    He would probably be surprised that people “contravening any law” have the same Charter rights as everyone else, plus a few more that most people never need, as sections 7-14 (about 25 percent of the Charter) specifically state the rights of persons accused or convicted of a crime.
    That statement by Mr. Cavanagh, Former Bank of Montréal Program Manager, in his letter to the editor of the Squamish Chief was one of the most one of the most bizarrely inaccurate statements statements I’ve seen in the press in my three years of following the FATCA debate.

  7. Thank for the replies, people should know how much I hate fear mongers.
    In addition why should a Canadian Permanent resident (who may be a citizen now) be forced to pay USA taxes under the 1995 USA Canada Treaty.
    Please note the Charter does not have property right.
    It should be noted, that Alberta does have property rights. I do not know if other provinces have these rights.
    There is sold evidence that the Liberals are Democratic ally,
    Former Obama staffers abound at Liberal convention
    They signed an agreement in 1995 that most other western countries ignored, whereas the Conservatives got a lot better deal than the EU.
    What economic sanctions did the USA use to get the Liberals to sign the 1995 USA Canada tax Treaty. The first part of Justin Trudeau comments about FATCA was tax cheats. I believe if the Liberals were in power, they would have signed a European style FATCA,
    I do not trust the Liberals, I think they would sign a terrible tax treaty with USA and that why I think the 1995 USA Canada tax treaty should be overturned due to CBT being unfair.
    Blaze I assume that you will use your swearing allegiance to the Queen over 30 years ago as why you do not have a CLN. In Europe that would be insufficient, in Canada that should do. I doubt the Liberal Party would have gotten that concession. I suggest that you get a letter from CRA confirming when you started being a tax resident and when you started being a citizen in Canada, They can go back to 1978 you may also use your info on CPP contributions. I believe this gets on your permanent records so if a bank send information to CRA they have this information and tell them according to your oath of allegiance you are not a dual citizen.
    Remember that I had a green card (for 1 year ago) 35 years ago who has paperwork from CRA that I have been Canada tax resident for all that time. So now of these effects me. But I still think the 1995 USA Canada tax treaty is a lot worse than FATCA because it does recognize USA CBT.

  8. @GeorgeIII When I became a Canadian citizen 41 years ago, I was required to sign an oath renouncing other citizenship. I obtained a copy of that from my CIC file. I have a copy in my safety deposit box.
    It is witnessed by a Canadian Citizenship official. I don’t see how any Canadian bank could refuse to accept that as proof I am no longer a US citizen or even a “US person.”  I consider it my restraining order.

  9. In Canada even if the bank says you are still an American, it may still be decided by a CRA agent. I am not certain but I thought I read that in the agreement.
    I assume you have a million copy of
    “Does the agreement require Canadian financial institutions to report to the CRA on any individuals who were told that they relinquished their U.S. citizenship when they became Canadian citizens?
    The agreement does not require Canadian financial institutions to report on any individuals who have relinquished their U.S. citizenship and are not residents of the U.S. ”
    I wonder if Great Britan has changed their FATCA.. I think they still require CLN and you did all your exit taxes.

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