I just received an e-mail from a strong Francophone supporter of ADSC from Quebec.
The article is in french but her point is that “we” don’t seem to have the same privacy rights as do traffickers of contraband tobacco.
I know that at least one tax professional firm feels that Canadians who have “obligations” to file an FBAR, and willfully do not, are criminals, but it is really difficult for me to argue that the level of “criminality” is quite the same as that of contraband tobacco traffickers. Others of course might disagree.
Here is her email (reproduced with permission):
“Good morning Stephen,
There was a very interesting article in La Presse this morning, not about us, but about the CRA. I tried looking for a similar article in The Gazette or online, but could not find anything.
Apparently, Canada Revenue Agency has been trying to block Montreal Police from accessing documents about suspects in a Tobacco contraband fraud case. These people are suspected of cheating the federal and provincial governments. The CRA has refused to cooperate and has asked the courts to be exempted from complying.
“D’abord, les avocats fédéraux soutiennent que les renseignements fiscaux obtenus des contribuables dans le cadre de la Loi sur l’accise ne peuvent être transmis à la police tant qu’elle n’a pas obtenu le dépôt d’accusations criminelles.”
Loosely translated, this means, “First, federal lawyers argue that the tax information received from taxpayers under the Excise Act can not be transmitted to the police until criminal accusations have been made. “
“L’ARC affirme aussi que les renseignements demandés font l’objet «d’un haut degré d’expectative de vie privée», mais là encore, le juge de paix s’est dit en «total désaccord», puisqu’il s’agit d’informations d’ordre commercial plutôt que personnel.”
Again, loosely translated, “The CRA also says that the requested information is subject to ” a high degree of expectation of privacy ,” but again, the Justice of the Peace said he was in “total disagreement “, since the information is business related rather than personal information.”
Wow… I don’t even know what to think about all that. People suspected of crimes in Canada have an “expectancy of privacy” but US persons don’t…
Criminal accusations must be made before financial information can be shared, but in our case, financial information can be shared with a foreign government.”