As Blaze pointed out on Sandbox, and as I don’t at the moment see elsewhere here on Brock, the House of Commons Finance Committee met today from 3:30 through 5:30 today. Most of the second half of the meeting was taken up by the FATCA IGA, with questions of Finance officials (Shoom and Ernewein) mainly by the NDP, with softball lobs by Conservative members.
I’ll repeat here the comment I posted on Sandbox. I’m not going to subscribe to or respond to any replies to this; I just want to call everyone’s attention to the meeting, how to download a video clip of the entire meeting, and how important it is for Canadians affected by the IGA to watch, listen carefully, and reflect carefully.
I was able to download the two-hour video clip of this meeting at this web link
It isn’t quite obvious, but at this link directly under the General Information tab slightly down the page, there is a little link named “Play, Download or Subscribe.” If you click on that, a box pops up which lets you download an audio clip, a medium-res video clip or a high-res video clip in English or French, of the entire meeting. You can also view it on screen without downloading, but I recommend downloading to your desktop and then double-clicking the file once downloaded; in Windows, Windows Media Player will launch the clip. The FATCA (“Part 5″) discussion begins at 1 hour 5 minutes into the meeting (slightly more than halfway through) with Ernewein and Shoom as Finance witnesses (the former did most of the talking). The remainder of the meeting focused on FATCA. The meeting adjourned until, if I understood correctly, next Tuesday when the committee will reconvene with the Minister of Finance for an hour and then a resumption of questions on Part 5 (FATCA IGA) and then eventually some issues in Part 6 of the omnibus bill.
I think it is important to pay attention to this video, because it makes very clear how the government will reply, both in Parliament and I suspect in court if it comes to that, regarding the privacy and charter issues. The NDP pressed these issues very persistently, but the Conservative and Finance spokespersons responded in a way that gave me an inkling of some of the reservations that I suspect Joe Arvay may have raised in his legal opinion about how this might unfold. I’m not convinced the charter issue is going to be a slam dunk; it certainly is going to be an intricate and prolonged debate.
I won’t presume to summarize what was said, everyone can view the video and draw their own conclusions. Listen carefully to what is said, and how it is said, in particular in contemplating how you want to proceed for yourself and your family if you’re an affected so-called US person.
Also note that the Finance spokespeople made it very clear (once again) that CRA is NOT going to be collecting IRS penalties or tax liabilities against Canadian citizens. They made it VERY clear however that Canadian residents who are US citizens and who are not Canadian citizens may very well be collected against as a result of information provided under the IGA, if the IRS comes back to CRA with claims against them for specific tax liabilities (not penalties however).
I think all affected persons need to pay attention to the video I link above, and reflect carefully on what is said in it. Also it’s important to tune into the committee’s next meeting, which I THINK the chair said is next Tuesday, though it’s not on the meeting schedule yet.