All posts by schubert

Long-term Canadian expats may still be eligible to vote in the federal election

This may be of interest to Canadian citizens living outside our borders for more than five years. If you are able and willing to travel to the last riding in which you resided in Canada, with proof of your ID, your Canadian citizenship, and of your residence in that riding (an old utility bill or tax assessment from CRA might do that trick), you can in fact vote either in advance poll or on election day.
Maybe bring a printed copy of the above CBC story with you.
Your chance to help vote Harper into the oblivion he and his government so richly deserve. For more reasons than I have space to list here, but we can start with the FATCA IGA for openers.

Why I am not renewing my membership to Canadian Civil Liberties Association

I received an email reminder today from CCLA, telling me my membership is about to expire, and asking me to renew my membership.
I am copying below my reply. I would encourage other visitors to this website who share my views and membership in CCLA, to consider taking similar action, in hopes of kick-starting a so-far recalcitrant and potentially an important ally. And yes, I did write to CCLA about support in our Charter battle, many months ago and to no avail. I am tired of asking nicely; I think the iron-boot-in-the-butt approach is called for now.
The text of my email to CCLA follows:
Continue reading Why I am not renewing my membership to Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Your Canadian FI MUST Contact You Before Forwarding Account Info to CRA Under FATCA

We are indebted to Just a Canadian over at Isaac Brock Society for picking up on this important point.  For the full context of the discussion in which this came up, see this link: Was TD overzealous here?
Under the Bill C-31 as approved by Parliament, a Canadian Financial Institution (FI) MUST attempt to contact you about any US indicia they think they have about you, BEFORE reporting your account information to CRA (which then will forward it to IRS).  That is the law in Canada, and if any FI ignores it, you’d have IMO excellent grounds for suing their bloody socks off.
Continue reading Your Canadian FI MUST Contact You Before Forwarding Account Info to CRA Under FATCA

CBC News article on Harper strategy of confrontation with the courts: excellent comment opportunity

There is an otherwise (see below) excellent article on CBC News webpage today, discussing how the Harper government seems bent on a confrontation with Canada’s legal system by deliberately bringing forward legislation that Justice lawyers advise have only even a 1% chance or slightly higher of surviving a constitutional or Charter challenge.
Harper government’s strategy of confrontation with our courts
I am a retired federal public servant who occasionally worked with Justice lawyers on legal matters and legislation though not in the Department of Justice itself. And I am not a lawyer. But — I do know from personal experience and discussion with Justice lawyers back then, that the Harper government approach, putting forward legislation that career lawyers in Justice doubt has even a 1% chance of surviving a court challenge, is a complete reversal of the standard used by all previous federal governments under which I served, including the three Progressive Conservative governments of Clark, Mulroney and Campbell.
The article lists, near the bottom, several recent pieces of legislation likely to be challenged in court and unlikely to survive court scrutiny. Disturbingly, however, Bill C-31 Section 5 (the FATCA/IGA implementation provisions buried in the omnibus budget bill) is not included in that list. CBC should have known to include that, given past stories and contacts we’ve had with some of their news writers.
This is an opportunity for Brockers and Sandoxers to blog a CBC story and to help raise reader awareness of the Charter and other legal issues that Harper and crowd have patently been ignoring re the IGA and FATCA. It also helps explain the careful choice of words the Finance officials were using in answering Opposition questions about Justice review of the legislation’s constitutionality under the Charter. My suspicion is that the advice that Justice gave Finance is that the probability the legislation could survive a Charter challenge was maybe more than 1% but probably not a lot more, certainly no more than perhaps 10% or so I’d guess.
This raises broader issues of Harper and crowds’ total disregard for “rule of law” in Canada and misunderstanding of the role our courts are supposed to play under our constitution, parliamentary democracy, and the Charter.
I’ve posted my own comment to the above effect in the story, still awaiting CBC moderation though. There are already hundreds of comments, most extremely critical of Harper and Justice Minister Mackay on this point, but I didn’t see any other FATCA related ones than mine, though I don’t pretend to have the time nor patience to wade through all those comments to check.
Another excellent reason to vote ABC (Anybody but the Conservative) in the next election, as well as another opportunity for Brocker and Sandbox bees to swarm and post to raise Canadians’ awareness of the issue.

It's time for Canadian residents to close their bank accounts and move their money to a credit union.

I don’t believe this information has been posted yet on Sandbox, so I’m cross-posting this information from Brock (and from some private emails in the past couple of days).
It is my understanding that under FATCA, credit unions are exempt from reporting any accounts held by Canadian residents, if those credit unions have fewer than 2% of their accounts held by non-residents of Canada. This was stated in a draft publication issued by Credit Union Central of Canada, earlier this month, provided to me privately by someone who managed to get it from CUCC’s website.  The document says it is still a draft, but also says “while final Guidance is not expected until sometime in May, the current version is complete enough to be a reliable source.”  They are collecting comments from member credit unions to provide to Finance Canada by April 4.
With the above qualification, I quote directly the following paragraph in the document provided to me:
“Credit unions which hold less than two per cent of their deposits for non-residents of Canada will qualify for reduced reporting obligations. They will identify and report only accounts of members who are U.S. persons and who are not residents of Canada. Unlike internationally active banks, they will not be required to report accounts of members who reside in Canada. “
Continue reading It's time for Canadian residents to close their bank accounts and move their money to a credit union.

Legal question: Can CRA report accounts held by Canadian citizens, even under the IGA?

I am not a lawyer, and the following is not legal advice. However, in reflecting on the wording of the Canada-US IGA and the wording of the Canada-US Convention (aka “treaty”) under which the IGA is signed, I pose the following question (which would need to be answered by a lawyer and maybe by a judge).
Given the wordings I have extracted below, can Canda Revenue Agency in fact and in law, and under these agreements, provide account information to IRS with respect to persons resident in Canada who are Canadian citizens (whether by birth or by naturalization)? This may hinge on the interpretation in law of the phrase “subject to the confidentiality AND OTHER PROTECTIONS” provided in the Convention (tax treaty), which Convention specifically EXEMPTS from collection by CRA any US tax liability claims made against any Canadian resident who is, and was at the time period for which the tax liability claims are made by IRS, OR WHO IS AND WAS PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 9, 1995, a Canadian citizen (no matter what time period for which a tax liability claim might be made). My non-legal mind certainly interprets that exemption as a “protection.”
Continue reading Legal question: Can CRA report accounts held by Canadian citizens, even under the IGA?

With FATCA Flaherty and Harper seem to have thrown due process under the bus, too

I have posted below the text of an email that I sent to the opposition parties and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association yesterday. I think the contents and arguments are self-explanatory.
I would urge everyone to write their MPs about this issue. Pay attention to the reply you get, or whether you get a reply. No MP, and no political party, that doesn’t even understand the concept and importance of due process (not to mention failing to understanding concepts of national sovereignty and citizens’ privacy rights), deserves your vote in the next election, nor deserves to sit in our House of Commons. In my opinion at least.
Continue reading With FATCA Flaherty and Harper seem to have thrown due process under the bus, too

Excellent article by Jim Jatras worth forwarding to your friends and family in the US

I am happy to call your attention to an excellent post by our friend Jim Jatras on his Repeal FATCA website. This post, Why Republicans Are Right To Repeal FATCA, is aimed at Americans in the US, and I think it’s important for you to forward this link to any friends and family you might have in the US. Jim’s post is a calm rebuttal of the wild claims the Democrats are making that the Republican National Committee is committed to letting “tax cheats” off the hook, and in the vitriolic political atmosphere in the US, it’s important that calm, reasoned and moderate statements like this get some attention. He makes some very telling points about how this law got through Congress with no debate or committee study. Sounds sadly familiar in Ottawa these days, unfortunately …

Important email from Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier)

The following correspondence is important for several reasons. First, this correspondence was in French and is the first on FATCA that I personally have seen in that language. I think it is vital that Canadians understand the FATCA and IGA issues affect ALL Canadians no matter which of our official languages they speak (and no matter their ethnic or national origin). Second, M. Bélanger is a Liberal MP (from Ottawa-Vanier), and his response makes it clear that, even though perhaps Justin Trudeau either doesn’t understand the issues or can’t articulate them accurately and quickly on his feet, some of his caucus clearly do “get it.”
I am posting the following at the request of “Premier Juillet” and in consultation with him. I have met him in person. I am posting the original correspondence in French, followed by a translation of M. Bélanger’s letter as provided to me by “Premier Juillet.”
Premier Juillet wrote to me (Schubert): “I finally got a reply to my multiple reminders since a letter I sent in June to my Liberal deputé. I think it was worth the wait. They have done their research and I guess they had more to say because of the recent questions by Hsu/Brison. I hope they can now educate their Leader, and fast!
“Merci beaucoup Monsieur le député Belangé!
“Premier Juillet”
Continue reading Important email from Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa-Vanier)

Possible relinquishment route for CLN for some duals-at-birth in Canada

Some persons born dual US-Canadian citizens at birth, particularly those born of even one Canadian parent on US soil and with no adult connections to or claims on US citizenship, may have a viable relinquishment option (as distinct from a renunciation option, open to almost everyone) for getting a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN). Please see other threads of this and our partner website for a discussion of the difference between relinquishment and renunciation and why it might matter to you.
I learned yesterday by private email something I had suspected but had not been confirmed. Some duals-at-birth have, ideally after the age of 18, applied for and received a Canadian Citizenship Card from Citizenship and Immigration Canada at some point in their past. To get such a card, one has to provide evidence (in these cases) that at least one parent was a Canadian citizen at the time you were born, and you also must swear and sign an oath of allegiance to the Queen of Canada.
Continue reading Possible relinquishment route for CLN for some duals-at-birth in Canada