This has been cross-posted by Tricia Moon from our ADCS blog.
[This post links to a letter from ADCS-ADSC to Canadian Prime Minister Designate Justin Trudeau and also to a press release to be sent out widely. In addition, we are sending letters to selected individual members of the Liberal Government.
There will be separate communications between our legal team and the Justice Department lawyers representing the new Minister of National Revenue and the Attorney General (the defendants) regarding the status of the lawsuit and intentions of the Government.
You might also wish to send your comments to Mr. Trudeau and to the members of his Government.]
Now that the Harper Government is history, the questions as to how to purge the effects of it’s anti-constitutional policies and laws begin. Certainly the laws that have already been challenged in the courts (C-23 C-24 C-31 & C-51 and COMER ) pose a dilemma for the new Liberal Majority Government.
The litigation regarding the FATCA IGA began in August 2014 and is currently at a standstill. The original Charter component of the case was delayed after the Government claimed some 100,000 documents needed evalution in the discovery phase. Due to the (then) impending turnover of Canadian information to the IRS on September 30, 2015, a Summary Trial took place August 4-5, 2015. As we all know, the judge ruled that the IGA was not inconsistent with the US-Canadian Treaty. A stay was requested; as we nervously awaited the result the IRS announced an extension until September 2016. ADCS requested Canada ask for the extension ; the stay/injunction was denied and the Canadian government claimed the extension was not available to Canada. The first wave of personal financial information made its way south with as-of-yet, unknown results.
With a new government soon to be at the helm, ADCS has
sent a letter to Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau urging him:
To repair the harm already done, we ask that you stand up for all Canadians by:
1) taking immediate steps to seek a just resolution of the costly lawsuit forced upon innocent Canadian citizens;
2) repealing the enabling legislation for the IGA entered into under threat of economic sanctions;
3) advising the IRS to destroy immediately all private banking information sent on or after September 30, 2015 and refrain from
using such data in any legal proceedings against Canadians.
Reminding Mr. Trudeau of past Liberal statements regarding the effect of the FATCA IGA, the following were included:
Ralph Goodale, Liberal MP, Former Liberal Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale website, October 11, 2011.
“After all, Canada is not some illicit tax haven…The Americans are going way too far when they start harassing Canadians….”
“Our government must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with innocent citizens and taxpayers to inform and assist them in fending off abusive
American tax proceedings.”
Scott Brison, Liberal Finance and Revenue Critic, May 14, 2014
Standing Committee on Finance
“Look, this IGA gets Canadian banks off the hook from reporting. It does not get Canadian citizens who happen to be considered American persons off the hook. That’s very important…”
“What about the million Canadians who are affected? That’s the concern. None of us disagree with the idea of negotiating an IGA, but the reality is that you can negotiate a better IGA, given our relationship with the Americans.”
Mr. Trudeau immeditately begins an inclusionary approach
Mr. Trudeau will be sworn in as the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada on November 4 and has promised a smaller cabinet with equal numbers of men and women. He has also invited the head of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, to join the Canadian delegtion attending the environmental summit in Paris at the end of next month (as well as the provincial premiers nd other experts in the field).There’s even a petition to ask Mr. Trudeau to appoint Ms. May as Minister of Environment when he selects his cabinet. A record 10 aboriginal members were elected; hopefully we will see some of them in cabinet in order to deal directly with issues such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (#TRC); an inquiry into over 1200 missing/murdered Aboriginal women (#MMIW and #VAW) and dealing with the horrors of communities such as Shoal Lake, no clean running water for 17 years and the refusal of past government to build a road . Shoal Lake became an island when an aquaduct was built to provide drinking water for the residents of Winnepeg; the result was isolation, impure water and outrageous food costs for Shoal Lake Nation.The Minister of Natural Resources in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Hon. Mr. Greg Rickford (representing the elecral district of Kenora), refused comment in the article and was defeated by Liberal candidate Bob Nault in the 2015 election. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt was also defeated in the election last week.
While these examples are not directly related to ADCS, they offer hope that Mr. Trudeau does stand for Canadian values and the plight of Canadian people, something for which the Harper government didn’t give a damn about.
As Canada regroups and rebuilds, it is not difficult to imagine some sort of change regarding the US overreach into Canada!
For more on the issue of Stephen Harper’s court battles that the Liberal government has inherited please see Will Justin Trudeau Keep Fighting Stephen Harper’s Court Battles
Hat tip to Lynne Swanson
See letter sent to Prime Minister Designate Justin Trudeau and our ADCS-ADSC press release.
Excellent post summarizing everything that’s transpired in relation to the lawsuit. I’ll send the press release to my new MP, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, who BTW is rumoured as to being considered for either environment or aboriginal affairs minister.
Well done, and very timely in light of today’s CBC News commentary. Let’s see whether the new government will honour the statements made by our new Prime Minister and his new caucus before the election, as quoted in the attached document.
Quite apart from the issues surrounding FATCA, as a citizen and taxpayer I was angered at the money and energy being wasted by the so-called “Harper government” passing legislation that any competent Justice lawyer could have told them wouldn’t survive a court challenge, making ordinary citizens fork out hard-earned cash to challenge these outrages in court, and then wasting our tax dollars appealing the court rulings against them, which rulings also are unlikely to stand up in appeal.
A far more efficient use of public money would be for the new government to review every piece of Harper legislation that has been challenged in court on Charter or other legal grounds, and subject to that review (by Justice lawyers who don’t owe their jobs as Tory patronage appointments), either introduce legislation to repeal or amend that legislation, or, in the case of treaties or intergovernmental agreements, serve notice to the other parties that the new government has serious problems with the legal implications of these things and does not consider itself bound by the previous government’s signature on them until there has been a legal or judicial review of their legality and consistency with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Yes, Schubert1975, it will be interesting to see how our new government treats these laws that barely passed Charter muster (apparently since 1993), especially those before the courts.
No wonder the Feds responded the way they did during the Standing Committee on Finance hearings when they were asked if the IGA passed Charter scrutiny. It certainly did within their fabricated margin of error, which is <5%!
Great press release and letter, clear, readable, so well conceived and written. Great quotes re FATCA from prominent Liberal MPs. Great job!!!!
Thanks be to you all, as always.
My 2 cents on the 3 requests:
1) “taking immediate steps to seek a just resolution of the costly lawsuit forced upon innocent Canadian citizens”
I’m unsure what specifically is being asked for here. Can someone enlighten? Is there a reason we didn’t ask for the government to immediately refer the IGA to the Supreme Court for a ruling/opinion on its constitutionality (on the government’s dime, of course). Given constitutional expert Peter Hogg’s letter to the Department of Finance, it would seem totally reasonable for the government to do this.
2) “repealing the enabling legislation for the IGA entered into under threat of economic sanctions”
I really don’t see this happening as there is just too much at stake for Canadian FIs, and how out-of-step Canada would be with the rest of the developed countries. IANAL, but wouldn’t a more likely to be entertained request have asked for an amendment of the enabling legislation to exempt permanent residents (citizen and non-citizen). Is there a reason this wasn’t asked for specifically? Heck, the fact that FI’s with a local client base are deemed compliant even shows that permanent residents are apparently not the intended target of FATCA.
3) “advising the IRS to destroy immediately all private banking information sent on or after September 30, 2015 and refrain from using such data in any legal proceedings against Canadians”
We all know what the USG and the IRS would do with such an advisement. So, is there a non-obvious (at least to me) reason for asking for this?
I’m not trying to detract from the massive effort Stephen Kish, John Richardson, Patricia Moon, Carol Tapanila, Lynne Swanson, and countless others have put into this (and, like I said, IANAL). I’d just like to better understand it. FWIW, I really like the inclusion of quotes from Trudeau and various Liberal MPs – we now get to see if those words actually meant something or are followed up by a deafening silence.
One thing we need to do is find out how many newly election Liberal MPs are “US Persons” or related to “US Persons.” Note I don’t believe this data will be easy to find until MPs are sworn in and Parliament is opened weeks from now.
Perhaps each new MP should be given a rating with regards to FATCA.
Hopefully the new Government won’t abide by the thinking when the US says ‘Jump and Harper replied how high.” I hope they can be braver.
On November 4th PM Trudeau will announce his Cabinet. We’ll know at that point who our new Minister of Finance and Minister of National Revenue are.
I like your MP rating suggestion. Then we’d know who to focus on with our effort. How would you rate them? I wonder how many Conservatives would still be willing to continue toeing Harper’s Party line with him gone and considering how he lost the election for them.
@Tdott, if the new governemet would strike out the “supremecy clause” of the enabling legislation and allow Canadian Law to interact with the IGA the IGA would be badly crippled.
“the Government claimed some 100,000 documents needed evalution in the discovery phase”
Isn’t it 155,000? That’s the number of documents the government had to inspect before assuring the court that the plaintiffs’ names aren’t in them, right?
Meanwhile, does anyone know if CRA really turned them over? All we know is that they said they were going to do so, but their statement preceded the anticipated date.
“we ask that you stand up for all Canadians by:
3) advising the IRS to destroy immediately all private banking information sent on or after September 30, 2015 […]”
Yes! They should put Lois Lerner on the case. Maybe with assistance from whichever IRS employees purged my file.[*] They can even use my employer’s machines to do it.[**]
[* Yes that’s right. My file has been in litigation continuously since 2010, but a few weeks ago an IRS employee told me they had purged my file. Spoliation of evidence. Now which embezzlers would want to do something like that?]
[** The IRS was on my employer’s customer list before I joined the company. I’m in software, but machines designed by my co-workers are certified to sanitize hard drives classified up to the level of Top Secret so the drives can be disposed of.]
So far this guy seems like the real deal, an actual head of state that is not a flaming SOCIOPATH? I am very jealous and happy for Canada. Here in NZ our PM is a rabid sociopath that is turning us into a Harper gov as well. When he was a currency trader his nickname was “The Smiling Assasin” as apparently he smiled as he destroyed people’s lives. He has everyone fooled and distracted on silly non-issues while they destroy our country. We are in a terrible situation as he is a total US lapdog too and to make matters worse our opposition leaders are completely uninspiring pieces of cardboard who don’t stand a chance defeating our PM (who sheeple would “like to have a beer with”). I like our Green party a lot, but as usual they don’t have the numbers. Our PMs party is also largely in power due to racism against islanders as well. Anyway.. To see Canada come out of a Harper gov, gives me hope!
@Pukekonz. Harper’s biggest mistake was underestimating Justin Trudeau and dismissing him as “Nice hair.”
Instead, he turned into Nice Heir, following in his father’s footsteps to become Prime Minister.
Only time will tell as to whether he will live up to his father’s tenacity and determination. I am skeptical, but he is a far better option for Canada than HarperMan.
On election night, in talking about Canada’s place in the world, Truduea proclaimed “We’re back.”
Now I just wish JT would utter three words to Barack Obama which were perhaps the most famous words his father ever uttered. “Just watch me.”
No. The 155,000 were the “information slips” CRA was to forward to the IRS.
The 100,000 documents is what delayed the start of the first filing a year ago, before the Summary Trial
Thank you again Stephen and every single person who works very hard at ADCS-ADSC. I certainly will be continuing my work towards the protection of innocent Canadian citizens from a foreign country’s enforcement of their law in Canada. I am proud of every one of you, again, Thanks from my family.
I think many of us on this website identify with and feel your pain. We just succeeded in dumping our own sociopathic dictator-wannabe. Canada dodged a bullet, no in fact an artillery barrage, by dumping Harper, his dictatorial and unelected PMO, and much of his cabinet and caucus.
Take heart. I’m sure, or at least hope, that New Zealand has plenty of decent, sane voters, as does Canada, who eventually will come out of the woodwork and come to their senses and dump the unfortunate crowd you’re still saddled with in your national government. As someone once said, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing to stop them. Work away at this, and I hope you and others like you can succeed.
I’ve been busy with another anti-FATCA/CBT project and haven’t read Brock for a couple of days. The efforts being made by ADCS on behalf of us all are truly stupendous. Thank you!
Have you received any reply from Mr. Trudeau’s office yet?
What absolutely initiative by ADCS in drafting and submitting this letter. Hopefully Canadians faith in the Liberal party and Justin Trudeau will not have been misplace