Only one week after ushering-in FATCA on Canada Day, Canada’s government is warning the Eritrean consulate to stop harassing Eritrean-Canadians or risk closure of its consulate. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made the announcement today in Ottawa (be sure to watch the video as well):
John Baird warns Eritrean consulate over ‘diaspora tax’
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he has sent a message to the Eritrean consulate to stop collecting a “diaspora tax” from Eritrean-Canadians here or he will order the African nation’s consulate closed.
In response to a question from a reporter in Toronto, Baird said the practice of requiring Eritrean-Canadians to pay a tax at the consulate is “unacceptable.”
“We share the deep concern that Eritrean-Canadians, and others, have for the work that has gone on at the consulate. We’ve repeatedly sent out strong signals that is unacceptable, it’s wrong and will not be tolerated,” Baird said.
“I gave instructions to my deputy minister several days ago to very clearly and unequivocally deliver a strong message that this activity must cease and desist, and if it doesn’t we will close the consulate,” Baird said.
Baird said the messages were sent in “recent days” but did not specify when a shutdown of the consulate might occur.
This is just the most recent action Baird has taken against Eritrean officials in Canada over the practice of requiring expatriates to pay what the UN has condemned as a worldwide “diaspora tax” on its nationals, valued at two per cent of their income. Last year, Baird expelled consul general Semere Ghebremariam O. Micael.
Eritreans here have complained that if they don’t pay the tax, their families back home will suffer consequences.
Fair enough to say that this is certainly one of the most egregiously hypocritical moves the Conservative government has ever made – and there have been far too many to count over the years. I would love to hear Mr. Baird explain to Canadians how it is acceptable for the United States to impose its infinitely more invasive extraterritorial tax laws in Canada but Eritrea’s paltry
amateur-hour 2% shakedown warrants impending closure of its consulate? Could it be that Mr. Baird is in fact preparing a subsequent announcement that he will be ordering the immediate closure of the US Embassy as well? Should we give him the benefit of the doubt?
Unfortunately, it does not appear that commenting is possible with this article. No doubt this story will soon be reported in other outlets so we should all be ready to dig-in.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, in light of recent comments, whatever the relative differences in scope, scale or sophistication between the Eritrean and U.S. versions of citizenship-based taxation; both are repugnant, immoral and indefensible practices. Both countries should hang their heads in shame for even pretending that CBT can ever be justified. The diasporas of both countries should find plenty of common ground here, despite the taunting and ignorance we both have to put up with from so many of our “homelander” cousins.