Emailed my letter today. Here’s what I said.
The Department of Finance announced the signing of “An Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States for the enhanced exchange of tax information under the Canada-United States Tax Convention”. The announcement could just as easily have read, “Canada submits to United States’ financial blackmail”.
Historically, Canada has been known for standing up for human rights. In June 1999, the Canadian Human Rights Commission boasted, “When it comes to protecting human rights, Canada is prepared to take on the world.”
With the signing of this IGA, and the accompanying proposed changes to our laws, the CHRC will have to update their website with two caveats, “unless it negatively affects the profits of the banks and big business”, and “unless another country claims the person for tax purposes”.
The Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website states, “Canadians expect their government to be a leader in the field of human rights by reflecting and promoting Canadian values.”
Our government now needs to be clear on what those Canadian values are, and just what is meant by human rights. Have Canadian values become profit, greed and appeasement? Does place of birth now determine the rights of a citizen?
February 5, 2014 will be remembered as the day when Canada submitted to financial blackmail. It is an unsettling precedent, to say the least. What will happen in the future when the gaping maw of hunger that is the United States has finally used all of its resources, and starts demanding more of ours? How much is our water worth? Our lumber? Our diamonds? Our fish?
The departments of Finance, Justice, and Citizenship and Immigration must be transparent about the deliberation around, and implications of, this IGA and proposed legislation changes.
Canadian citizens and residents have the right to see the cost/benefit analysis produced during the investigatory phase of the IGA. What were the considerations? Did they include the cost to the average Canadian who will bear the brunt of the banks’ implementation costs? Did they include the loss of Canadian savings and disposable income of the million or more people who would have to pay for specialized lawyers and accountants, and to pay fines and penalties? Did they include the cost of changing Canadian legislation to appease a foreign government?
By signing this IGA, Canada has shown that we are vulnerable to financial blackmail. We have shown that we care more about big banks and profits than human rights. What does this bode for the future? Will Canada protect our natural resources? Will Canada protect her sovereignty? Will Canada stand up for her citizens? Will our government continue to change legislation to suit other countries’ agendas?
Canadians should know the value placed on the proposed abrogation of our rights as Canadian citizens.
If our government passes legislation to allow FATCA implementation it will forsake Canada’s long history of upholding human rights around the world, and will betray the rights of every Canadian citizen and resident.
Canadians need to know there is a line that our government will not cross, and just where that line is.