THE INTENDED FOCUS OF THIS POST IS THE ALLIANCE FOR THE DEFENCE OF CANADIAN SOVEREIGNTY (ADCS) FATCA IGA LEGISLATION TRIAL IN CANADA HELD ON JANUARY 28, 2019.
The Government of Canada (who we are suing), together with some commenters on this site, strongly emphasize that Canadians should thank their lucky stars because they can easily get out of any FATCA-related “problems” (e.g., Canada won’t collect on behalf of the IRS at the present time, IRS at present time is not prosecuting all those turned over by FATCA, American interference is only hypothetical, “US citizens in Canada don’t seem to have much to fear from America or Canada, apart from the pointless automatic reporting. Canada may in fact be the last remaining country in the world where dual citizen status isn’t risky.” etc.). Why then did our Plaintiffs put themselves personally at financial risk with this lawsuit?
One reason for this trial is that Plaintiffs Gwen and Kazia want Canada’s FATCA IGA legislation, infringing on their privacy (Charter section 8) and equality (section 15) rights, declared unconstitutional by Canada’s Federal Court — and that a lawsuit is the way to achieve this specific objective.
Do privacy and equality rights matter? Should we care?
Plaintiffs also say in their court submission: “Canada effectively maintains that it enacted the Impugned Provisions under duress from a foreign state. The Court should be very slow to accept this as a justification for infringements of the Charter. Canada is expected to defend the constitutional rights and freedoms of its citizens and not bargain them away or capitulate to threats from a foreign bully state.”
Is it important that Canada be a sovereign nation and not bargain away Charter rights because of a threat from a foreign bully? Does standing up to a foreign bully matter?
The CBC tells us that information on 600,000 accounts/year has been turned over to the US IRS during the past years. Even those who do not support Plaintiffs’ lawsuit would likely admit that at least “some” of the accountholders did not give consent for the turnover — meaning that the loss of Charter rights is not hypothetical.
Gwen and Kazia believe, and shouldn’t this really be obvious to all Canadians?, that the loss of our Charter rights, the loss of Canada’s sovereignty, and the loss of dignity of a subgroup of Canadian citizens, are more than, as some commenters argue, just “a relatively abstract sort of harm”.
Canada argues no harm caused by the FATCA IGA, but does acknowledge that if Charter rights are infringed, it had plenty of justification to do so — Canada had no choice but to comply with United States FATCA demands and could not have said “no”.
The lawsuit began during the time of the Harper Conservative government. We had hoped that when the Liberals came to power, there would be no need to continue the lawsuit, because of statements made on June 25, 2015 by Justin Trudeau to ADCS (“The Government of Canada has a responsibility to stand up for its citizens when foreign governments are encroaching on their rights. We believe that the [FATCA] deal reached between Canada and the U.S. is insufficient to protect Canadians.”) — but this was not to be, and the lawsuit continues even with the change in government.
When reading the diverse comments below on a variety of topics please try to consider what Plaintiffs’ Gwen and Kazia want to achieve, on behalf of all Canadians, with their lawsuit.
More discussion of the lawsuit below: