Sent my letter on the IGA today

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.

Donate Now To The Canadian Charter Challenge Fund!

If anyone has been following on Maple Sandbox or Isaac Brock Society, you’re likely aware that we need a legal opinion on making a challenge to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in response to our government caving to the demands of the U.S. to abrogate the rights of Canadian citizens born in the U.S. (or having some other connection to the U.S.).

Stephen Kish and Lynne Swanson are at the forefront of gathering funds for this. GwEvil has created a website specifically for this: The Canadian Charter Challenge Fund

I’ve made my contribution – I hope many do – as much as you can afford. I think everyone realizes that not everyone can donate large amounts, as most of us caught up in this are of modest means. However, every bit will help.

Joseph Arvay is the lawyer we wish to use for the legal opinion. He is well respected, and quoting from his website,

“He has a very busy litigation practice with an emphasis on public law and in particular constitutional, aboriginal and administrative law matters. Mr. Arvay has been counsel on a number of landmark cases in the Supreme Court of Canada – a court he has appeared in dozens of times.”

I’ve also heard that this legal opinion would usually cost a lot more money, so I believe he’s cutting us a good deal – and that should mean something, coming from a lawyer!

Please, donate!

Blaze’s Maple Sandbox post

Part 1: A Short History of Canada – U.S. Relations

Our Canadian government has a mixed history of standing up to the United States. Some of our prime ministers have pursued a policy of appeasement to the sleeping elephant to the south of us. Some of them have been bit anti-American, others just strongly pro-Canadian. Notable among these are John A. Macdonald, Pierre Trudeau and John Diefenbaker.

John Diefenbaker: We shall be Canadians first, foremost, and always, and our policies will be decided in Canada and not dictated by any other country. (If anyone knows when and where he said this, I’d love to know.)

Pierre Trudeau: Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We’re different people from you and we’re different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.

John A. Macdonald: But if it should happen that we should be absorbed in the United States, the name of Canada would be literally forgotten; we should have the State of Ontario, the State of Quebec, the State of Nova Scotia and State of New Brunswick. Every one of the provinces would be a state, but where is the grand, the glorious name of Canada? All I can say is that not with me, or not by the action of my friends, or not by the action of the people of Canada, will such a disaster come upon us.

This post is a short history of Canada. I’m not a historian, nor any kind of expert, but these are some events that I find momentous regarding Canada, and Canada – U.S. relations.

The next post will be a conjecture on what the future could look like if Canada capitulates to the U.S. FATCA demands. A third post will be a conjecture on what the future could look like if Canada protects her citizens and rebuffs the U.S. demands.

So, a short history:

1812

  • The U.S. declares war on the Great Britain and invades territory that is now Canada.

1815

  • The U.S. invasion of Canada is defeated.

1867

  • The country of Canada is formed.

1878

  • Sir John A Macdonald introduced the National Policy, intended to protect Canada from American competition.

1940

  • Canada and the U.S. form the Permanent Joint Board on Defence

1941

  • U.S. enters WWII.

1960

  • As part of the North American Air Defence (NORAD) agreement, Prime Minister Diefenbaker allows the U.S. to deploy antiaircraft missiles on Canada soil. He refuses, however, to accept nuclear warheads on the missiles.
  • Canada refuses to place an embargo on goods to Cuba.
  • The Canadian Bill of Rights is introduced.

1961

  • After a meeting with U.S. President Kennedy, Prime Minister Diefenbaker discovers a secret memo (The Rostow memo) which makes plain the objective of ‘pushing’ Canada’s foreign policy into line with the desires of the U.S.

1967

  • Canadian government openly disagrees with American policies in Southeast Asia.

1969

  • Canada announces that border officials will not enquire about applicant’s military status, and many Americans opposed to the Vietnam war emigrate to Canada.

1980

  • Canada and the U.S. sign the Canada-United States Convention with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital.

1982

  • Canada achieves full sovereignty from the United Kingdom with the Constitution Act, 1982. This act includes the Canadian Charts of Rights and Freedoms.

1988

  • Canada and the U.S. implement the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA)

1994

  • Canada, Mexico and the U.S. sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

1996

  • Canada and the U.S. create joint teams to patrol the British Columbia/Washington Border – Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs).

1997

  • Canada and the U.S. sign an amendment to the Canada U.S. Income Tax Convention (Treaty)

2001

  • Canada and the U.S. sign the Smart Border Declaration and Action Plan.

2002

  • Canada and the U.S. develop joint databases between the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
  • The Integrated Border Enforcement Teams model is expanded across Canada and the U.S.

2007

  • For the first time Canadians are required to present a passport to enter the U.S.
  • Canada Immigration reports that the number of Americans emigrating to Canada doubled since 2000.

2008

  • Canada and the U.S. sign a major amendment to the Canada U.S. Income Tax Convention (Treaty), which includes a mutual recognition of RRSPs and IRAs, as well as a definition of Permanent Establishment (183 day rule).

2010

  • The U.S. Permanent Establishment (183 day) rule becomes in effect.
  • The U.S. passes a law called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) reportedly aimed at catching tax cheats and tax evaders.

2011

  • Canada and the U.S. create the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council to better align regulatory approaches.
  • Many Canadians learn for the first time that the U.S. may consider them a “U.S. person” and should be filing income tax and bank account reports to the IRS.
  • Finance Minister Flaherty condemns FATCA, declaring that Canada “is not a tax haven”.
  • It becomes clear that FATCA is ensnaring honest, tax-paying Canadian citizens, not just rich tax evaders.

2012

  • Canada passes legislation “Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations”, paving the way for the Shiprider program.
  • Canada celebrates the 200 year anniversary of the War of 1812.
  • The Canadian government proposes to modify the Navigable Water Protection Act, deregulating Canada’s waterways, with Bill C-45.
  • Canadian and U.S. media label all “U.S. persons” in Canada as tax evaders.

2013

  • Opposition to FATCA grows throughout Canada, in the general population as well as political opposition parties.
  • U.S. Senator Rand introduces a bill to repeal FATCA.
  • The Florida Bankers Association and the Texas Bankers Association bring a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS over a reciprocal FATCA reporting requirement.
  • Liberal MP Ted Hsu submits an order paper to the House of Commons with numerous questions about FATCA.
  • NDP Leader of the Official Opposition, Tom Mulcair, takes a stand, saying ‘how serious and unfair consequences of FATCA could be for Canadians…”
  • Edward Snowden leaks information regarding US government surveillance programs.
  • CBC News reports that an Edward Snowden-leaked document reveals that Canada has set up covert spying posts around the world at the request of the US National Security Agency.
  • Canada and the U.S. signs policy agreements formalizing Shiprider operations.
  • Shiprider goes into operation in New Brunswick.
  • CBC reports on an RCMP 2012 memo discussing the request by the U.S. for U.S. police officers working in Canada to be exempt from Canadian law.
  • A Canadian Bankers Association representative says in an interview on CBC that banks have no choice but to capitulate to FATCA.

Raging Against the Machine

Whether the phrase ‘rage against the machine’ comes from an 1868 Karl Marx speech, or the name of a rap/metal band, over the years it’s taken on the meaning of fighting the unfeeling bureaucracy oppressing the common person.

That’s exactly what those of us fighting FATCA and US citizenship-based taxation are doing – raging against the machine. In this case, the US government is the unfeeling bureaucracy. And rage, well, some of the synonyms for rage are bitterness, indignation, resentment, passion, umbrage, ire, and vehemence. I think all of those fit how we’ve been feeling these past few years since finding out that the U.S. may be trying to fine us out of our retirement savings. Continue reading

Tried Again with CBC

I decided to start the new year with another attempt to get CBC interested in FATCA. I submitted the following to them. I don’t really expect anything to happen, but had to try again. I tried to keep it on the shorter side, so didn’t go into all of the ramifications.

I would dearly love to see an in depth analysis of the impact on millions of Canadians from the U.S.’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – FATCA. There have been few stories, and those have not dealt with the true impact of an issue that is imperiling the financial health of at least a million Canadians and their families, with a direct impact on millions. Continue reading

Some progress at last?!?

Outraged Canadian - 1st Ever Protest!

Outraged Canadian – 1st Ever Protest!

After more than 2 years of FATCA being ignored, lately there’s been some positive progress made on getting this issue into mainstream media to alert all Canadians about what’s going on.

The FATCA issue is now, finally, hitting the mainstream media, we have some big names on board fighting with us (notably Peter Hogg and Allison Christians), and our government is finally being pressured to stand up for us. Continue reading

Mini-Protest in Canmore on Sunday the 3rd

Calgary411 and I will be on main street in Canmore, in front of the Grizzly Paw pub on Sunday from 12:30 to 2:00pm.

MP Blake Richards has invited Conservative party members to a tour of the brewery and lunch at the Iron Goat restaurant. (We may have to drive up there, don’t really know, it’s hard to know what the real schedule is.)

As I’ve said over on Isaac Brock, I don’t have high hopes for the politicians to notice and read our signs, but I do hope that regular folk take notice and ask questions. It can be an opportunity to inform and educate people on what’s happening in our country – and what the impact will be for all Canadians.

We can’t block the sidewalks or streets, and we must carry the signs; other than there are no restrictions.

Come join us if you can!

 

FATCA Protest at Conservative Convention in Calgary This Week

There are a few of us (yes, a very few, but I hope more will join us), who plan to protest against FATCA at the Conservative party convention in Calgary this week. I’ve NEVER done anything like this, ever, but I feel strongly enough about this to get out there. I’ll make some big posters and stand out in the cold hoping that someone actually notices us and pays attention. Although, even if they don’t, I’ll feel like I’ve done something positive.

The convention runs from Thursday, Oct 31 to Saturday, Nov 2 at the BMO Centre. The address is 20 Roundup Way, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1

Calgary411 has been instrumental in setting this up, and I’m linking to the post and comments on Isaac Brock Society:

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/10/24/are-there-any-who-will-be-a-part-of-a-calgary-protest-to-fatca-outside-the-october-31-november-2-conservative-convention/#comments

Calgary411 is creating FATCA sheets to hand out.

She says,

“My plan at this moment is:

Thursday, October 31: by 11:30 a.m. at spot suggested by Calgary Police Service, across the street from Victoria Park / Stampede LRT Station (west side of northbound Macleod Trail). Convention registration starts at noon.

Friday, November 1: arrive early enough to get a parking spot nearby and be on above spot sometime before 8:00 a.m. / tentatively going to one or more hotels to try to catch delegates to hand out information.

Saturday, November 2: arrive early enough to get a parking spot (should be easier than on Friday)and be on the above spot sometime before 8:00 a.m. — then play it by ear for Saturday afternoon.

I also made a trip past the recommended place for demonstrations for the Conservative Convention. This is a link for the LRT Station, Victoria Park/Stampede. http://www.lrtincalgary.ca/VictoriaPark.html. You can actually see the “grassy spot” recommended as the best place by Calgary Police Service. I will try to nab the southeast corner of the grassy spot as close as possible to the overpass over Macleod Trail (northbound), which is public property. The Stampede Grounds where BMO Centre is = private property — so we’re not allowed there.”

And a bit more,

“One option is for you to park at the north end of the LRT — Crowfoot (Crowchild Trail) on map at this link: http://lrt.daxack.ca/Cities/Calgary/. You get off Highway 1 at Cochrane exit, travelling then on Highway 1A, through Cochrane, which in Calgary will be Crowchild Trail, to Crowfoot Station parking lot (I wonder how fast he parking lot fills up?) — that LRT leg is the one that goes past the Stampede Grounds. Then, you wouldn’t have to navigate through the city and into downtown.”

COME JOIN US! The more who show up with big ‘Say NO to FATCA’ signs (or whatever wording takes your fancy) the more likely someone will take notice.

The Amygdala or Common Sense?

Have you ever:

  • Stayed in a place where you found cockroaches in the cupboards and that night you were afraid to get into bed, convinced there were cockroaches in the sheets?
  • Had a shower after a walk in the woods to find ticks embedded in your skin, and even after inspecting every square inch of your body still felt bugs crawling all over you?
  • Walked out of your house in the morning straight into a thick spider web, and spent the next several hours brushing away imaginary spiders?
  • Gone swimming in deep water, felt something brush against your leg and practically walked on water to get out of there?

I had that icky feeling during the June floods when we were under a boil water advisory. My logical mind knew there weren’t really nasty bugs in the water when I showered, but the irrational part, ruled by the amygdala, wouldn’t believe me. (The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a large role in our survival instincts, as well as our anger, fear and pleasure.) While showering, I had a strong feeling of déjà vu and it took me a minute to figure where it was coming from. I had felt the same way when I found out that the IRS could consider me a US citizen and the dire consequences if they did so.

Continue reading