Today, Lynne Swanson (Blaze) participated as part of a panel on the Finance Committee’s study of Part 5 of Bill C-31 – the Canada-United States Enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement Implementation Act (or, as I call it, the Canada-United States Abrogation of Canadian Rights Agreement’.
Essentially, Lynne was invited to speak about FATCA and the IGA. I, for one, admire her bravery and commitment to our shared cause and her willingness to appear before the committee and not only speak, but answer questions from the committee members.
She only had 5 minutes for her opening statement, and then was expected to answer questions from the members of the committee. At the time of this posting, I don’t have a full report on exactly what was said and asked. We will provide that as soon as we can.
What I do have is the speech Lynne prepared in advance. I most sincerely hope that her very eloquent statement fell on receptive ears.
UPDATED LINKS TO THE VIDEO:
ParlVU site: The original ParlVU video
Isaac Brock Society YouTube channel: The entire meeting with links to Lynne, Allison Christians and Arthur Cockfield
Isaac Brock Society YouTube channel: An edited compilation of Lynne’s presentation and her interaction with the committee
Transcript of Lynne’s presentation:
I come before you as the voice of one million Canadians.
We are Canadians. Many have been Canadian citizens for life or for decades. We chose Canada. We expect Canada to choose us and our rights over foreign bully demands.
“Why do our most heinous criminals have more Charter rights than I do,” asks a Nova Scotia police officer of 33 years. He was born in Maine almost six decades ago because his New Brunswick mother was sent there to give birth.
A Quebec woman who has been a Canadian citizen since birth says her ancestor who came to Canada in 1682 must be turning over in his grave at FATCA.
A widowed Grandma in Vancouver was told by US Consulate when she became a Canadian citizen in 1972 she was permanently and irrevocably relinquishing American citizenship. She insists, “My financial records are definitely none of the business of the IRS.”
An Ontario First Nations husband and father is horrified his Canadian government will help United States seize his family’s financial records because his Native Canadian wife was born there.
An Alberta woman reports her mother who upheld Canadian laws for many years as Justice of the Peace is now medically and physically too frail to deal with FATCA stresses.
They and one million other Canadians were betrayed by FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement. We were offended and insulted to hear Minister of State for Finance call us “American citizens abiding here in Canada” in the House of Commons.
If Canada mandated financial institutions to seek Canadians born in China, India, Iran or Eritrea for CRA to transmit private financial information to those nations, there would be outrage.
Canadians born in United States should have the same rights as all other Canadians. Canada should strongly defend those rights and not sacrifice them to a foreign country.
Two prominent Canadians described FATCA well. In 2011 and many times after that, Finance Minister the late Jim Flaherty said “FATCA has far-reaching extraterritorial implications. It would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.”
Terry Campbell, President of Canadian Bankers Association in 2012 called FATCA “the poster child for the problem of extra-territoriality…It threatens to erode Canadian sovereignty.”
Those statements hold true now. Under threat of economic sanctions and penalties, Canada surrendered its sovereignty to a foreign power with the IGA.
Canadians affected by FATCA were stunned last week when a member of this Committee said “Congress has spoken.”
Canadians expect Parliament to speak for Canada. Canadians expect Parliament to uphold Canada’s laws, rights and constitution. Anything less is an affront and betrayal to Canada and to Canadians.
FATCA is complex. I give you a simple solution. I urge you to adopt an amendment to the Implementation Act:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or the Agreement, for all purposes related to the implementation of this Act and the Agreement, “US Person” and “Specified US Person” shall not include any person who is a Canadian citizen or legal permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Canada.”
I implore you. Do the right thing. Stand up for Canada and for all Canadians.
Here is the full-day session:
Was up till 3 am watching this remarkable performance and to me this was the start of the end for FATCA and the beginning of a wave of anti-US sentiment that will engulf the whole country and maybe the world. I’m really speechless (a couple people here will not believe it though;-)
If I had my way this would be the start of very public civil disobedience and a rabid anti American campaign aimed at tourists coming to Canada in order to force businesses here that are benefiting from inviting this poisonous plague into this country for profit into complaining to the govt regarding the shabby treatment. Let Canada Tourism go to the Govt and complain that the Canadian economy is being damaged due to 1 million or more Canadians and their friends making tourists miserable. If anyone here can tell me why this isn’t a great idea then go for it. If American tourists complain about rude treatment then tell them to take it up with their leader Stephan Harper as he is the dog responsible for the new anti US attitudes.
I’m thinking of having bumper stickers made saying:
Welcome to Canada
(insert American flag graphic here)
NOW GO HOME!
courtesy Stephan Harper PM
Point being if we don’t have the same rights as other Canadians then we will attack Tourism thereby creating pain for the Government.
We will also need many quartets to sing in front of our finest hotels and restaurants. The BLAZING Grannies (with Tammy Wynette hair styles)
I just made a comment on the Financial Post article – my Disqus name is Gordie N Ott (as in Gordian Knot). FATCA is like the Gordian Knot, and I believe we are well on the way to cutting/untying it, thanks to the relentless efforts of Brockers/Sandboxers. The post is not much, I just don’t seem to have the energy most of you regulars do.
@ Canadian Cop
Way ahead of you. I’ve already up arrowed it. It was direct, clear and compelling. Couldn’t ask for more. Thank you.
These things get buried in a thread with over 100 comments. The Financial Post article Canadian Cop is referring to is this one:
I admire your creativity, Chears.
Critics Mount Constitutional Attack on Dreaded FATCA Tax Regime
Chears: Well at least you are still here with us.
HA HA HA HA…….look what some comedian posted on the FP comments section
“Ian Russell……please post your home address, telephone number, passport number, children’s information and marriage status and their nationalities. Please list all your assets here including real estate, securities including ones traded on any stock exchanges outside of Canada. We will need to know down to the penny the largest amount you had in each calendar year in each of your accounts and we need to know the account numbers as well. Please also provide information on the cost of your mansion and sailboat and any foreign residences you may have as well as the year and make of your many cars. I’m sooooo sorry to have to ask this of you but most here will agree that you are a coward if you don’t disclose your assets.”
Great comments Chears!
Schubert has kindly prepared a highlights reel of Lynne’s presentation and her interaction with the committee. It is now available on our IBS YouTube channel as well as right here:
Lynne was outstanding.
Regarding MP Allen: ” Congress has spoken”: Lynne’s answer was perfect. We need Canada to tell US ‘Parliament has spoken’!
Regarding Con MP Allen’s reply that they were told that by a US Treasury spokeswoman, and he was appalled by the comment. He should have been because US Treasury was in no way telling the truth about Congress speaking , because they have not. The Dem congress and senate did pass the HIRE ACT in which FATCA was hidden, but NO authority was given whatsoever for Treasury to negotiate IGAs with ANY country. They are a work around , forcing countries accept what is illegal and unacceptable totally. Without IGAs FATCA falls , fails and is DEAD.
US reciprocity for one will NEVER be given. Two states are in court RIGHT now to prevent reciprocity anywhere ever.
MP Allen and the rest of the Conservative government seem to be so intimidated by anybody in Washington they failed miserably to do the job they are mandated to do: Protect and Defend Canada and Canadians.
Not to mention IGAs are designed to be a privacy , Charter and Constitution override.
So, says Treasury. We have a gun here called FATCA. We insist you load this gun with a hollow point bullet called an IGa, aim it at your head and FIRE! And our Canadian government said, ‘OK, and fired.
US authorities look on in horror and say to themselves “why did they commit suicide?” Help is on the way!
LOL except that it is just too true.
What a video. Thank you so much Lynn Swanson and all those at IBS so passionately working towards maintaining Canadian rights.
I need to listen to this again, and to get a copy of the transcript, but how wonderful it was to see your presentation, as well as Prof.s Christians and Cockfield.
The Conservatives may forge ahead despite the education they were offered – now even more WILLFULLY abrogating the Charter, Constitution, the democratic process, and the best interests of the assets of Canadian citizens, voters, taxpayers, accountholders, families and individuals, but they do so having been warned. The video record is very valuable in that respect – it shows the constituents of those Conservatives just exactly how they acted and responded and what they said.
Should be of especial interest in Chatham Kent Leamington (and Pelee Island) riding ( http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2013/09/30/pelee-island-eastern-lakeshore-join-chatham-kent-leamington-riding/ ) – where no doubt as a border community there will be many with US indicia or US ties who wake up on Canada’s Birth Day to find their Charter and Constitutional rights were abrogated under the FATCA IGA. Pelee Island is the most southern point in all of Canada.
When Chatham Kent constituents contact their MP, will Van Kesteren address them as Canadians, or as “US citizens residing in Canada”? Does he think of his Dutch immigrant parents ( http://www.davevankesteren.ca/about/ ) as “Dutch citizens residing in Canada” ?
I’m only half way through the video with John Richardson and have made a couple of observations.
I don’t know why Hannah’s being asked anything about how this affects Canadians. First of all he’s dismissed us as being “insignificant”, and suggests we hide if we can, or if we can’t, oh well, you should have known. On the other hand, I can’t begrudge CBA for advocating as they have for an IGA, as the IGA clearly puts them in a better position than without it if you believe that the US would really start withholding. When it was clear that the US wasn’t going to budge, that was the end of any feigned concerns for how this was going to affect their customers, non-US or US alike.
This might be expected from the banks, but what is glaring to me is how the government sought only to appease the banks concerns and none of the citizens the IGA would effect. The Conservatives come across as being insensitive and ill-informed (ignorant) for the most part, IMO. It’s clear the banks don’t like us – they like our money, but government’s are expected to at least show some concern for the people who put them there. Adding insult to injury, they say they fought hard for concessions for us too – which we know is a load.
@BB: “Feigned concerns” from banks about how this was affecting their customers? I don’t recall ever seeing “concern“ from the banks about how it would affect their customers. Right from the beginning, their concern was about the administrative and financial burden to them and the risks to them in breaking Canadian laws.
Their solution? Change the laws. Which is exactly what the Cons are trying to do.
The 286 pages I received through Access to Information from Finance was very clear. Their priority was always the financial institutions. No “concern“ was shown for Canadians or for Canadian laws.
In fact, they gave Peter Hogg`s letter to the financial institutions while they were still “considering“ an Access to Information request from Elizabeth May for the letter.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbrKTe6lvJw — Just at the start of Mel Hurtig’s comments (not current), I can relate to what he is saying regarding about media, Canadian think tanks, corporate concentration in the press.
Hurtig’s comments also shine a light on why Harper has gutted Stats Can.
Absolutely — good deduction!
For posterity and historical purposes I am also posting here at IBS what I just posted at Maple Sandbox on this thread http://maplesandbox.ca/2014/lynnes-opening-statement-to-the-finance-committee/
Thought it useful to post this also at IBS for historical purposes:
Compare statements as archived in FINA member and Conservative MP MIke Allen’s own newsletter of 2011 – for comparison with MP Allen’s later very offensive statements in 2014 in hearty support of FATCAing his own constituents and fellow Canadians in May and June 2014 and with his endorsement of and vote to implement the Bill C-31 legislation enabling the FATCA IGA. Notice that in the Fall of 2011 he repeats basically the same type of tone, wording and message that Finance Minister Flaherty used in his letter printed in the Financial post in September 2011 ( http://business.financialpost.com/news/read-jim-flahertys-letter-on-americans-in-canada ‘Finance Minister Jim Flaherty penned this letter, intended for publication in major newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.’ September 16, 2011 ) . Note that just over a year later in November 2012, they both significantly recanted and changed their tune to “negotiate” and support signing on to and legislating the enforcement of FATCA in Canada via an IGA – see “Negotiation of an Information Exchange Agreement with the United States November 8, 2012”
See his newsletter of Fall 2011
MIKE ALLEN, MP
MP REPORT, page 4
“IRS Requirements for
Americans Living in Canada
Canada and the United States are neighbours and have long been the closest of friends. We share a common border and we share many common values. This is especially true in the riding of Tobique-Mactaquac.
One of those values is fighting tax evasion. We believe in fair tax systems. Many Canadians, including a number of folks in the riding, have become concerned about the impact of two proposed pieces of American tax legislation, and I share that concern.
The first is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. Another issue, this one affecting more directly the large numbers of dual U.S.- Canadian citizens and their relatives living in Canada, is the IRS’s Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) filing requirements.
While everyone’s tax situation is different, most of these Canadian citizens, many with only distant links to the United States, have little knowledge of their tax reporting obligations to the IRS. These are honest and law-abiding people, including many senior citizens now caught in a nerve-wracking situation. Moreover, because they worked and paid taxes their entire lives, they generally do not owe any taxes in the U.S. in any event. Their only transgression is failing to file the IRS paperwork they were never aware they were required to file.
These people are not the targets of a crackdown on tax evasion. These are people who have made innocent errors of omission that deserve to be looked upon with leniency.
Faced with the knowledge that they do have an obligation to file U.S. tax returns, they want to do the right thing. But the threat of fines for simply failing to file a return they were unaware they had to file, is a frightening prospect that is causing unnecessary stress and fear among law abiding hardworking dual citizens.
We appreciate efforts to combat tax evasion. But FATCA would turn Canadian banks into extensions of the IRS and would raise significant privacy concerns for Canadians.
Canada respects the sovereign right of the U.S. to determine its own tax legislation. But quite frankly, people do not flock to Canada to avoid paying taxes. We have existing ways of addressing these issues with the U.S. through our Bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreement.
I support efforts to crack down on legitimate tax evasion. These measures, however, do not achieve that goal.”
Compare and contrast Allen’s statement in the Fall of 2011 with his comments unreservedly supporting the FATCAing of his fellow Canadian citizens and constituents in May 2014;
” ……….. would like to spend a little time on the enhanced Canada-U.S. tax exchange agreement and cover a number of topics under this. First is a bit of the history of where we are and how we got here, a bit of what FATCA is and what it is not, and what the repercussions would have been if we had just let FATCA happen as opposed to taking the initiative to sign an intergovernmental agreement with the U.S.
I would also like to talk a bit about the due diligence processes that are going to be in place for the banks, as well as the exceptions from reporting for the banks. I maintain that the changes and the intergovernmental agreement that we have negotiated is a good agreement to protect as many Canadians as we possibly can.
The U.S. has had a taxation on citizenship since 1913. It is one of only two countries in the world, the other being Eritrea, that has that kind of taxation. Most, like Canada, tax on residence, but the U.S. does not.
In fact, that was challenged in the early 1920s, through the Constitution, in the U.S., as being unconstitutional. That constitutional challenge was actually defeated. Here we are with U.S. citizens required to pay taxes in the U.S.
We all agree, and I do not think anybody in our committee disagrees, that FATCA is overreaching, on the part of the U.S. There is no question about it. We are left with the situation where, as a government that deals with the 28 other countries that have signed intergovernmental agreements, and there are about 33 that are actually working toward agreements in principle now, we have to learn to deal with this in order to protect as many citizens as we can.
In the discussions we had with the U.S. Treasury, this spring, in Washington, it was pretty evident that the U.S. Treasury, in spite of some of the lobbying we did, was not hearing any of it and that FATCA was still going to exist. The fact that FATCA was passed in 2010 means that is how the U.S. was going to apply that law.
With that in mind, we have a choice. Do we just let FATCA happen, as it is and as it was passed by the U.S.? Or do we try to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement in the best interests of Canadians based upon what we are going to have to deal with? Because it is a false choice to say that we can opt out of FATCA. We cannot opt out of FATCA. There is no way we can opt out of FATCA.
If we let FATCA happen, then we are going to be faced with up to a 30% withholding tax on the transfers coming in, not only to banks, but also to individuals. As we know, there are a lot of investments that are U.S.-denominated and there is going to be a 30% withholding. As we heard in committee, that is not just a withholding tax. It is not a withholding against tax. It is a withholding tax. Essentially, there is potentially double taxation.
There are also potential privacy issues if we just let FATCA go the way it is because, then the IRS is going to negotiate individual agreements with every bank. That is what is going to have to happen. And every bank that wants to continue to do that is either going to have to suck up the 30% withholding or it is going to have to come up with an agreement to actually transfer this information to the IRS.
Also, it could get so crazy, to the point where banks would actually have to turn down clients if they ask them, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” They would have to turn them down, under the way FATCA is worded.
With the IGA and the intergovernmental agreement that we have, there is no withholding tax. The transfer of information that is going to be transferred between Canada and the U.S. will actually go through existing tax exchange agreements. It will go through the CRA, to the IRS, and it will be used very strictly within the rules and regulations of that information transfer. That is a very important concept.
Also, it would ensure that we have that privacy kept and it would also allow the banks to take on U.S. clients.
I want to talk a bit about due diligence. When we talk about due diligence, Canada did really well in the negotiations of the due diligence of this agreement because accounts under $50,000 are not even reportable. Accounts between $50,000 and $1 million are done through an electronic scan. If there do not happen to be any U.S. indicia on the account, such as a U.S. tax identification number, a U.S. address, or some other U.S. identifier, then that account is not reported. All of a sudden this million people we are starting to talk about in Canada might be impacted. When we take out the underage people who might not even have a bank account, we are squeezing this down to a very small number of people. If the account is over $1 million, then, in addition to the electronic scan, there will be a manual search in case of U.S. indicia.
I would suggest that the individuals with accounts over $1 million do have the wherewithal, in that case, if they happen to be U.S. citizens, to deal with that and its challenges and to actually ensure that they do the proper filings. It is important to understand that those are some of the things in there. Not only that, we filtered out the RRSPs, the RESPs, and even the agriculture accounts.
Furthermore, there is a favoured nations clause in there so that if a better deal comes around, as time progresses, Canada will be able avail itself of better clauses.
I have heard a lot about FATCA. Most of what I have heard is that there is a lot of mix-up between the filing of taxes, which has been an obligation for U.S. citizens since 1913, and this obligation, which is on the transfer of information through the CRA to the IRS under existing processes. They are two separate things.
Furthermore, I would maintain that the deal that was signed, the intergovernmental agreement between Canada and the U.S., is the utmost best we can do from the standpoint of protecting taxpayers. We have done very well when we compare ourselves to the 28 other countries that have agreements with the U.S.”
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1
June 11th, 2014 / 8:55 p.m.
and for further comments from Allen, see;
Minister Jim Flaherty penned this letter, intended for publication in major newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.’ September 16, 2011
Very early days that was. Flaherty’s flounder was no wise exercise. Even at the time his stumble was an embarrassing sign of the major fail that was brewing. When a senior minister of a government publicizes as a “stand” an ineffective attempt to wangle a diplomatic-channels case through hostile foreign media, that minister has just lain down in the road and said please put your tire tracks up my back. Flaherty was a muddled fool who maybe got tired of being the Conservative tool he had willingly become. Flaherty goes down in history as literal self-roadkill. A Harperite politician his own mortician. O Caca-nada-dada, we bend our knee and flee.
Let them hang on their own words.
How ignoble of you to take Flaherty’s initial principled stand and call it a flounder.
Ignoble? Oooh. Here I was, looking toward a knighthood, if not a solid gold crown. Drat.
Well, not really. All statism stinks.
Can’t help noticing how you went straight for the name-calling. That’s so rational. Wrapped up in that verbal nacre was a real argument cast your way.
If you don’t like flounder, try red herring? Pretty clear that Flaherty went flauntily fishing up the wrong creek.