Canada Day Letter Blitz

Back on June 1st, under the ‘Thank you from a Fellow Brocker’ thread, I posted a question to other Canadian Brockers. There was enough interest and response that we decided to make a new thread to make it easier to follow through on the idea. Below is my original question, and then the comments by other Brockers. (Apologies for the format, did not find the copy post plugin here which allows comments to be copied, so have cut & pasted them into the post.)

July 1 is Canada Day. Can we Canadian Brockers take advantage of this date to encourage/demand our government stand up for our rights? To refuse the US attempt to reclaim our citizenship? To refuse the US attempt to invade our privacy? To refuse the US attempt to take our money? To say no to the US bullying? Can, or should, the Society come up with a message that we all send to the Minister of Finance, the Privacy Commissioner, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism?

Imagine if a few hundred emails were all received by them on July 1st, all with the same message. Surely that would have some impact?

I know we get accused of being too Canada-centric here, but with Canada Day coming up, it seemed a perfect opportunity to make a statement to our gov’t. What do people think?

Em – @ outragedcanadian I love your idea. It would be a “Say NO to the USA” e-mail campaign. I’m in and hopefully one of the many good writers here can put the template together for us. I would happily spend the wee hours of July 1st pressing SEND, SEND, SEND.

Outragedcanadian – Thanks, Em! I could even send from my real identity and my outraged identity, and double up! It would be wonderful if one of our more skillful writers could come up with a message that would get attention, and get the point across.

Calgary411 – Absolutely — perfect day to demand further representation from our government representatives.

bubblebustin – I hate to be a wet blanket, but haven’t we been doing this to the best of our abilities all along? Maybe we should stand at the border and burn some Canadian and American flags, but then, er, no one wants to be seen.

Em – @ bubblebustin We have both flags but I kind of like them so I probably wouldn’t burn them. And yes we have been doing this all along but I think the idea is for the e-mails to arrive en masse, hopefully giving them more force. I’m banging pots and pans on “Casserole Nights” (Wednesdays 8PM) for the Quebec students (mostly in protest of Bill 78) BUT we have a cow bell that I could ring every time I press the SEND button on July 1st. Not than anyone would know why but just because it’s fun. :)

saddened123 – @Em,Bubblebustin, I love your sense of Humour!

saddened123 – @all, Best Part of North America!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRI-A3vakVg

Blaze – It would be worth a try, but I have sent four e-mails to Jim Flaherty over the past two months with no response. As Tiger says, Flaherty’s “silence is deafening.”

Outragedcanadian – @Blaze & Bubblebustin, yes, I know we have, but Em’s right. What I thought might – perhaps – maybe – have an impact is to fill their mailboxes on Canada day with the same message from different people on Canada day asking for Canada to stand up for us. Maybe it’s a forlorn hope, but even if no one else does, I think I’ll have to try. The deafening silence IRKS me.

Bubblebustin – (note I did not re-post the video) @saddened, I’ll drink to that! Ok if not flags, how about we burn some effigies? Ok, seriously, I like the letter writing blitz. How about we come up with a message that we agree represents how we feel as a group and send it out en masse? Maybe we can make it from the Isaac Brock Society, as certainly it will get some notice this being the year we celebrate how we burned the white house down in the War of 1812? (Just kidding about the going back and doing it again part)

saddened123 – We need to get more attention..Blaze needs to lead the pack with her Uniform and Sword..

bubblebustin – @saddened, indeed, Blaze the way!

Blaze – “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In this case, it’s actually a computer, rather than a pen–but it reaches more people more quickly.

Here’s are some words I drafted. These are, of course, for discussion, revision or rejection

Two hundred years ago, Sir Isaac Brock fought against the attempted takeover of Canada by the Americans. He lost his life in battle defending what was to become the great nation of Canada.

Today, we celebrate with all Canadians his efforts which resulted in Canadian freedoms, values and independence which are the envy of the world.

On the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Canada is again being threatened with Americaninvasion. This time the United States is trying to accomplish through financial bullying what they could not achieve two centuries ago through aggressive war efforts.

The Americans are attempting to invade the lives of law-abiding, honest tax-paying Canadian citizens and residents.

The United States is further attempting, through monetary threats, to force Canadian financial institutions to become an agent of the United States Internal Revenue Service and to force these financial institutions to contravene Canadian privacy, banking, human rights and charter laws.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) threatens Canadian sovereignty to determine and maintain the laws of Canada in protecting the rights of ALL of it’s citizens and residents to manage their personal financial affairs in privacy and with confidence with their chosen financial institution.

Approximately 1 million Canadians of American origin or heritage are affected by this attempted intrusion into the lives intrusion into the lives of honest, law-abiding, tax-paying Canadians.

While you have responded to some letters or e-mails, many others have gone unanswered. While you spoke out against FATCA publicly almost a year ago, your silence in recent months has been deafening.

It is time for you to stand up for the rights of Canadians of American origin, or those who may simply have had the misfortune to be born in the U.S. due to circumstances of their Canadian parents or hospitals at the time.

Sir Isaac Brock fought for and gave his life for Canada 200 years ago. On Canada’s birthday, I urge you to stand up for Canada now.

Tell the Americans Canada doesn’t negotiate with financial terrorists. Tell the Americans Canada is an independent democratic country which establishes and enforces laws to protect its citizens and residents. Tell the Americans no foreign government dictates what those laws will be.

Tell Canadian financial institutions they must comply with Canadian laws and they cannot violate those laws to meet the demands of a foreign government.

Most importantly, tell Canadians of American origin they and their financial privacy are safe. Assure Canadians that Canadian laws will not be changed meet the demands of a foreign government. . Learn more about how modern-day Canadians are standing up to the Americans as peaceful, modern day warriors at a forum in Sir Isaac Brock’s name. (http.isaacbrocksociety.com) Join us in ensuring Canadian freedoms are not lost. .

Don’t delay. Do it now. Sir Isaac Brock would expect no less from a Canadian leader.

saddened123 – @Blaze, Yes you are right, the Pen (Computer)is mightier than the sword.. That is a great letter!! Excellent!! Love it!

saddened123 – @Bubble, Love the Video Clip! Great!

bubblebustin – @Blaze, ok you’ve got the nuts and bolts there, but it sounds a little ranty and demanding (but not without passion!) It need tempering, but it could work well as a framework. @saddened, thanks!

Blaze – @bubblebustin’: What do you expect from someone with a Redcoat and a Sword? Unfortunately, I have found being calm and polite doesn’t get Flaherty’s attention.

It’s actually just meant as a draft and is open to changes, additions, deletions or total rejection. I’m a Brocker. I can take it.

Bubblebustin – @blaze, certainly no disrespect intended. I think what you wrote was great, from the heart. I think Flaherty gets it, I don’t know if we give our representatives here enough credit (although who’s to know?) I think there’s a lot of back room negotiating going on and I’ve heard it from a few relatively reliable sources that the Canadian OVDI submissions have been halted in Austin for some reason, and those from other countries are being processed. John Weston, my MP, on last communication said he was working hard on these issues, so I don’t think we’ve been forgotten. I think that these issues, including FATCA have become incredibly sensitive for both countries. Just my opinion, but I think we should approach on the premise that our (Canadian) government is doing what it can. Flaherty said what he had to say last year and at least has not publicly wavered on that.

Em – @ Blaze I think it should be shorter but honestly I wouldn’t want to leave anything out. I like the passion. I think my Flaherty letter was lacking passion because I didn’t want to tick off someone who seemed to be on our side — well not too much anyway. Oh and I think it has to be not specifically for Flaherty because this needs to go to Harper and others tool. EXAMPLE … While you spoke out against FATCA publicly almost a year ago, your silence in recent months has been deafening. COULD BE … While Finance Minister Flaherty spoke out … etc. That would make it easier to send. Knowing me if there was slightly different wording for each person I’d get them mixed up. The idea is to show them we have some numbers now and we are not going to be silent.

bubblebustin – a little music to inspire us all… (bubblebustin posted the Beatles ‘Revolution’, did not copy over)

Em – All right that got me brockin! Thanks bubblebustin. :)

bubblebustin – Looks like I might Brock around the clock tonight… My husband has a suggestion as to who to send the letter to. How about “Dear Canada”?

Em – Thumbs up from me for “Dear Canada”.

Calgary411 – @All, bubblebustin, Bubblebustin’s husband, on the sidelines, has cut through it all to come up with “Dear Canada”.

I like that idea too — simplification (KISS) .

Letters to the Editors of Canadian newspapers — i.e., for Calgary: the Calgary Herald; the Calgary Sun. And, even our little local weeklies — for instance those like “FastForward” in Calgary (http://www.ffwdweekly.com/)?

Outragedcanadian – @All, love it! I do think passion is required, if, as bubblebustin suggests, we can keep it from appearing to be a rant. I’ve found that quickly turns people off, leads them to think ‘okay, nutcase here’, while reasonable discussion causes an OMG, you’re not serious! that’s insane! response. Very nice work, Blaze! And I also love the Dear Canada idea. Out of curiosity, I checked the Calgary Herald rates, thinking what if we took out a banner or half page ad or something, but it appears to be extremely pricey, so I think your idea of the local weeklies, et al, is a great idea. I have 3 papers I can write to locally, although not sure they’d all publish since they’re sort of related.

Blaze – @EM: Loved got your brocking.

@bubblebustin’: Also love Brock Around The Clock. I can hear Elvis belting it out.

I also really like your husband’s idea of “Dear Canada” for a Canada Day letter. Then we could include Canadian newspapers. Many don’t publish on Canada Day, so if we did that, we should try June 30 (a Saturday) for those that don’t.

If we want to explore the idea of a common letter further, we may want a separate thread for it.

Now, I’m going to actually try to take a Brock Break for the rest of the weekend. Let’s see if I succeed. I think even Sir Isaac occasionally needed R and R

Blaze – Ooops! I think it was Bill Haley and the Comments who did Rock Around the Clock. I can still see Elvis belting it out Brock Around the Clock (with apologies to The Comet).

I definitely need that break I promised myself!

Em – I like the idea of brocking local Canadian newspapers (around the July 1st date) wherever possible. I know the editor of our small town paper so I could try to submit our “Dear Canada” letter to him.

badger -I like ‘Dear Canada’ too. Or, Dear, Beloved Canada. Could it say “as peaceful, modern day ‘RESISTERS’ ” rather than ‘warriors’? Might that wording resonate more with people who don’t understand how serious and far reaching the FATCA threat is yet? Don’t want them to turn off or start getting distracted from the main message?

And mentioning US attempts to retroactively reclaim people who relinquished or renounced decades ago when they chose to become citizens of Canada. Plus the ‘accidentals’. That is such an egregious example of imperial overreach and intrusion into Canada.

We should thank Flaherty for his past public statements and efforts, to give credit where it is due. But we need something to hearten us now, and note that the rest of the world is looking to Canada to lead – as Sir Isaac Brock led – as an example in resistance to US overreach – via FATCA (which is likely true given that we’re next door, and have an entwined history – Australia and others may very well be watching what happens here). And say that while there may be efforts being made in private, the Canadian PUBLIC needs to know that they will be protected. As we pay our taxes in full to Canada, and our Canadian accounts are already fully reported and overseen by the CRA and levels of Canadian government oversight – the US demands to implement FATCA are an insult to Canadian sovereignty. Sometimes even the best neighbour needs to be told where the acceptable limits of co-existence stand.

Mentioning that the US efforts are treating Canadian institutions as if they are vehicles for money laundering – might infuriate Canadians – since it is implying that our own domestic oversight is inadequate or negligent, and should be reporting to the US – bowing to US demands as if Canada was a US subject or colony.

bubblebustin – @all, I agree with Blaze that we should move our “Dear Canada” letter to its own thread so others don’t miss the opportunity to participate. She’s taking a well deserved break from Brock, any volunteers for the honour?

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67 thoughts on “Canada Day Letter Blitz

  1. @all, one of the things we need to get clear is if this letter will be from the Society or from us individually. I believe on the newsthread/media post that we agreed that anything coming from the Society must have the approval of the letter and the wording by one of the originators of this site, and I think that was Petros and Just Me. (Calgary411 I know you are an original as well, and you’re in favour of this, but I’m not clear if we have approval to send out as a missive from the Isaac Brock Society.)
    I am in the process of cutting & pasting Blaze’s suggested letter, and adding in the revisions of the comments, and will post it later.

  2. @All,

    Personally, I would like to send my letter individually, composed by those at Isaac Brock but not saying this is from the Isaac Brock Society — just that I am one of the many concerned ‘US Persons’ that participate on the Isaac Brock Society blog.

    Thanks to everyone for all the work being done on this — and your question, outragedcanadian.

  3. @Calgary411, I do think it would tend to have more impact if it comes from individual Canadians. I hate to say this, but if it comes from a ‘society’ it might be marginalized. I know our individual letters haven’t gotten anything but the same tired, routine, response, but I’m not sure the hired help who will be reading our letters won’t just dismiss everything coming from a ‘society’.?? And, if we send as individuals, we can make it clear we’re expecting a response back.

  4. What I like most about this idea is having the same clear, consistent message sent to our gov’t officials, and news outlets. I’m not holding my breath, but if we can get this in some papers, it might open some eyes. I’ve actually had someone say that they want to write to our gov’t about this, once he realized the truth and the impact of what is actually happening. I believe he will do it, too. It gives me a wee bit of hope that others might get engaged, as well.

  5. @outraged, thank you for porting that over. I encourage all Brockers (not just the Canadian contingent) to participate in forming a message that will reflect the many elements we share in our struggle!

  6. I think the best approach would be for each of us to take the draft words above as a very good starting point but then produce our own letters. I agree with other posters that is going to be more effective than having a single letter with multiple signatures, assuming we can all agree on the wording (and setting aside the issue of who decides or speaks for this website; there is no formal rule for that and I’m not about to propose myself or to accept anyone else in that role, in this case).

    I, for one, am not comfortable with the “silence is deafening” phrase, for example — I’d prefer to give Flaherty the benefit of the doubt for now, unless/until we have clear evidence he isn’t entitled to that benefit, and to avoid making this appear to be a partisan attack on a particular party or politician, much as I personally have major reservations about the present government we have in Ottawa and setting aside my personal doubts about their motives and how far they’re going to go in protecting Canadians from these US abuses. If I’m sending an email under my own real name and email address to politicians (which I will be doing), it’s going to be my own wording and something I feel comfortable with. (And I reserve the right to use somewhat different wording when I address the government members than what I use when addressing my NDP MP, for what I think would be best effect.)

    But I think a blitz on July 1 is a great idea, as long as it’s by individuals and not a cut-and-paste text or a formal petition.

  7. Schubert suggested: “I think the best approach would be for each of us to take the draft words above as a very good starting point but then produce our own letters.”

    I agree. Maybe a sentence or two may pop up in more than one e-mail, no problem — as long people only use the model as a jumping-off point, the variety in the content will show that this issue is so important that many people took the time to think about putting their individual thoughts into e-mail – not just a quick cut-and-paste.

    I definitely think that all e-mails should include a link to the Isaac Brock Society, of course. And I really like that reference to Sir Isaac in Blaze’s last line 🙂

  8. @Schubert,

    It is a good point that you will be doing this under your real name. I will be doing that too to any government representatives as I have been doing all along. I may do that as well for a ‘letter to the editor’ type letter or editorial, that doesn’t reflect my personal plight.

    I also do not want to disparage our Finance Minister, especially that I have now received a personal response from him on the concern I highlighted (http://isaacbrocksociety.com/2012/05/23/canadas-registered-disability-savings-plan-rdsp-canadas-finance-minister-flaherty-responds-regarding-this-as-well-as-the-resp-and-tfsa/). I am glad to have confirmation on how and why RDSPs, RESPs and TFSAs are treated as they are, not that I accept the discrimination to those of us (including disabled Canadians and accidental Americans) who are considered ‘US persons’ over any other Canadians in benefiting from such tax-protected accounts. I will continue my idealism and hope that some things truly are being done in the background on behalf of ‘US persons’ of any description in Canada.

    In the meantime, I appreciate that the Finance Minister reiterates that we are protected (though not completely) from US collection of FBAR penalties (for any US persons in Canada) and taxes and related penalties (for Canadian-US dual citizens) by the country we reside in, which closely mirrors our rights in the resident-based taxation laws of Canada.

    Mr. Flaherty has also assured me that my concerns will be addressed the next time there is an opportunity for renegotiation of the Canada-US Tax Treaty. Until that time (and I would like to know when that time will be), I will continue to highlight my specific concerns and hope others will do the same for this and other areas that should be addressed at the time, including the abuse of our Canadian and Universal Human Rights.

  9. @all, whatever it is that you write, you should have this music playing in the background. I have no idea who the inflatable guy with the fru fru dog is, but some may recognize the music from the Jimmy Fallon show during his thank you letter segment.

  10. @all, so I think we have agreement that our letters to the gov’t should be individual.
    There was a 2nd idea expressed of letters to the editor, as many places as we can get them in, where the Dear Canada letters can come in to play. While I am comfortable writing to my govt with my real name, I am not comfortable publishing my name in a letter to the editor. I could, however, (if they’ll accept it), write in as Outraged Canadian. Is this where Blaze’s letter (and re-writes) will be used?

  11. Rivka makes an excellent point that it wasn’t just Sir Isaac and other anglophone British subjects who gave their lives in the war of 1812 — there were also Canadiens (as they then were called) and First Nations people who fought and died, not to mention refugees from the US war of independence now called “United Empire Loyalists.” So I’m a bit uncomfortable putting too much emphasis on Sir Isaac.

    Personally, proud as I am of Sir Isaac, of this website, and of my part in getting his name enshrined in our website name, I will not reference him nor this website in my personal letter. I don’t want my letter to look like part of a campaign organized by the website, for the same reasons I don’t want to copy and paste someone else’s words, much as I may be inspired by them in crafting my own text. However that obviously is everyone’s individual choice to make.

  12. I still like the group letter on masse because if the same letter gets sent out it will get noticed!
    I have an idea as an opener (of course subject to tweaking), that will facilitate this:

    ‘Dear Canada,
    On behalf of a special group of Canadians, those who live as Canadian-American dual citizens in this great country of Canada, I would like to wish all Canadians a “Happy Canada Day”. This year is especially important for our group, as it also marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a war during which the colony of Canada joined forces with the British against the Americans to the south. As representatives of the approximately 1 million of us who enjoy the unique perspective of being citizens of both sides of the battle, we would like to offer you a view of what it’s like to live today as Canadian-American citizens in the country we call home.’

    So enough said about the war, but a good segway into our issues, no?

  13. There are good ideas being expressed here. I can go either way — form letter or individual but I still need a template of some kind so I touch as many bases as possible. I could do something like this for a publication:
    Dear Canada,
    You may not be aware of this group of Canadian residents living in your midst but they need your support. They come to this group from many different circumstances … and so on … still musing.
    I’m not sure what to do for government officials yet because Dear Canada doesn’t sound quite right there and yet I don’t want to abandon it either for those particular e-mails … maybe a short preface and then into Dear Canada plus the template … still musing.

  14. Afterthought on personal emails, arguably they shouldn’t all go on the same day but at around (preferably on or shortly before) July 1, lest it look a bit over-coordinated.

    This thought was prompted by the harsh necessity in my own case that on July 1 I’ll be in the Rockies and far, far away from any electronic connections with the rest of the planet, so I’m going to have to send off my emails a couple of days early. Letter will still reference July 1 and War of 1812 but will not say “today” but rather “shortly” or something like that when referencing the celebration …

    @bubblebustin I like the entree you proposed, other than the “Canadian-American citizen” phrase, since I absolutely refuse to use the second word in that phrase with any reference to myself 😉 But again, different strokes for different folks, and we don’t all come at this from exactly the same perspectives.

  15. @All
    I agree with schubert1975, I absolutely would NOT use the phrase ‘Canadian-American dual citizen’. I renounced my American citizenship in October 1972, when I became a Canadian. As Schubert says, we all come at this from different perspectives. Perhaps for people like myself, it could be something like ‘American-born Canadian citizen’.

  16. what would be a good collective term that we could agree upon, that is if anyone would like to do more of a group letter? I really believe there would be a lot of strength in a letter that speaks of us as a group. Canadian dual American citizen, lol?

  17. My toonies worth re: Can-Am dual citizen — I’m not a dual either. I am a Canadian who got snared by the IRS when I was issued a GC. Would Canadian resident work? It just means we live here, as do all Canadians, or is “resident” more technical than that? I know the IRS sure makes it out to be. This is too sappy I know but I kind of like Canadian heartlander but again it has a different specific meaning than what I am thinking and it isn’t apropos. Don’t worry Brockers there is still time … we’ll get this right if we keep gnawing away at it.

  18. I have to say that I will not and do not call myself American anything. I am Canadian only. I know it’s too long, but if anything I refer to myself as a Canadian who the US is trying to reclaim citizenship of. And, as Em says, we have lots of time to work on this. I have spent so long thinking of myself as Canadian, and paying virtually no attention to the US, I simply cannot associate myself with the word American. That’s where ‘outraged’ came in, I didn’t even now about all the other crap like FATCA and FBAR, at first. I became ‘outraged canadian’ when I learned that the US was trying to reclaim me and my family.

  19. My letter is going to refer to Canadian citizens who are being targetted and extorted by the IRS. I’m not using the word American anywhere in it. I’m not an American, nor are the people who I’m helping to get their relinquishment papers in order, nor are their children or grandchildren, whatever the Excited States of America and the lunatics who govern them might want to think, based on whatever demented “laws” they’ve concocted.

    Obviously those who do consider themselves to be dual/American citizens will word whatever letters they send differently. This is but one example where I really don’t see a point in trying to concoct a “one size fits all” letter, because one size doesn’t fit all of us, though we all do share a common enemy. I think we have a common message to our government about that enemy, but I am not interested in wording my version of that message above my signature the same way some others might word their version of the message, nor would I expect them to word their version my way.

    Same reason why I am only writing to Canadian political figures and not to American ones. They latter aren’t part of my country, they aren’t my politicians, I don’t want anything to do with them, and I don’t want them to have anything to do with me. I no more recognize them or their legitimacy than they recognize me or mine. Ditto organizations that contain the word “American” in their name, however much I may sympathize with or share some of their objectives.

  20. @All
    This is a real tough one to figure out. When I think of all this and the variety of perspectives, it seems even tougher.

    I consider myself an American-born Canadian. But most definitely Canadian through and through. Then I think of my three sons (who heaven forbid could still get caught up in all this sh…t) and I realize that their perspective is different than mine. They were all born on Canadian soil to an American mother and a Canadian father. That makes them truly ‘Accidental Americans’. Certainly my hope for them is they can continue to ignore all of this as their financial institutions know nothing of any ‘American’ connection and certainly their passports have a Canadian place of birth.

    And then there are others here on the site, who are truly ‘dual’ citizens. Some of those plan on keeping their dual citizenship and others may ‘renounce’ at a later time. As long as the US has citizenship based taxation, they have an obligation to file U.S. returns.

    And there are also others, like three of my clients, who are American citizens living in Canada. They, too, have an obligation to file tax returns in both countries as long as the US maintains citizenship based taxation.

    I wonder if it is possible to find a ‘reference’ that will work for all of us.

  21. @schubert
    You were obviously posting while I was writing. Now that I have read your post, I could not agree with you more. I, too, refuse to refer to myself, in any manner, as an American. I like your reference to ‘Canadian citizens who are being targeted’. That speaks to exactly how I feel about this whole mess.
    Any letters I send will refer to myself as ‘a Canadian being targeted by the US government and/or IRS’.

  22. ‘Dear Canada,
    On behalf of a special group of Canadians, those Canadians who either live or have lived as Canadian-American dual citizens, I would like to wish all Canadians a “Happy Canada Day”. This year is especially important for our group, as it also marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a war during which the colony of Canada joined forces with the British against those whom many of us call our forefathers. As we represent the approximately 1 million who have the unique perspective of having our roots in both sides of the battle, we would like to offer you a view of what it’s like to live today as Canadians with past or present ties with the US.
    Many from the both sides lost their lives in the War of 1812, but history has intertwined our nations into what has since been a friendship that has seen the relatively free movement of people across our borders.
    It is unfortunate that on this anniversary, and through these very people that the US is again threatening its neighbour to the north. It is not a battle being waged for territory, it is a battle that threatens the lives of law-abiding, honest tax-paying Canadian citizens and residents, the very people both governments have encouraged a strong and vibrant cross-border relationship through.’
    Is this generic enough of a start?
    The first sentence is too long and wordy, I think.
    I think American shows up once 🙂

  23. @bubblebustin I hate to keep hammering the same nail, but it’s a very important nail. I like what you wrote except for the phrase “…those Canadians who either live or have lived as Canadian-American dual citizens …”. I’ve never lived as a Canadian-American dual citizen or Canadian-American anything. I was an American citizen until one day in 1975 when I became a Canadian citizen and ceased being an American. I’ve never been a dual and have never thought of myself as one.

    I think the wording reads just fine if you simply delete the qualifying phrase in quotes, i.e. open with “On behalf of a special group of Canadians, I would like to wish all Canadians a Happy Canada Day.” I have no trouble with that. Personally I’m not keen on the warm-fuzzy cross-border relationship stuff later on, since I’ve never felt that way and certainly don’t now, but realistically that seems to ring bells with the people currently in power in Ottawa, or at least some of them, so if that’s what folks want in a group letter, so be it (but I’m still writing my own and it isn’t waxing eloquent about hands across the border stuff, I want their hands to stay on their damn side of the border and we’ll keep ours on our side …)

  24. @Bubble Bustin, some good points there. But it may be hard to be generic enough and concise at the same time, as some of us affected by this never were dual citizens, having relinquished US citizenship upon taking Canadian citizenship.

  25. @schubert, I know. So am I. Ok, we’re only yanks for tax purposes. I seethe most of the time. When I was 12 I got mad when I was called a yankee by Canadian kids. I had to tell them that I was a rebel!

  26. Angry-great idea, count me in. The federal government is negotiating hard on behalf ot the banks, as it should, and letting citizens be picked off one at a time by the IRS. Is not the first obligation of a nation to protect its citizens?

  27. @herb pinder, absolutely it is. I think they need a reminder! Perhaps, as Calgary411 is consistently hoping, they are negotiating behind the scenes to save us, but I can’t put any faith in that. Our govt, and businesses, are so intertwined with the US that I’m afraid that will come take priority. Hence, the Canada day blitz campaign to remind them about us – we’re here, we’re not going away, and we’re vocal (so to speak).

  28. Wow. Lots of great discussion. In reality, there probably isn’t one good letter or any good “one size fits all” term. We are all different and our letters and terms need to reflect that.

    Like Schubert and Tiger, I ceased being an American citizen the day I swore an oath to Canada in 1973. The US Consulate told me that was clearly the case. In my Canadian citizenship oath, (which I now have a signed and witnessed copy), I renounced my US citizenship. I would only refer to myself as a former American citizen.

    Maybe form letters aren’t the best was to go. If we do that, I’m concerned it looks like a petition and too mass mailing instead of each of us expressing out own words and feelings.

    Although I originally liked the idea and may have suggested Letters to the Editor, I know they will only be published with our real names. I hesitate to do that so publicly. It’s like saying “IRS here’s where you can find me. Come get me.”

    I have always and will continue to use my real name when writing to government officials, etc.

  29. @Herb: Exactly. I’m not longer confident our government is looking after our needs and rights. If a recent article in Globe and Mail was accurate, they are negotiating a government to government exchange of information with US, similar to the European agreements.

    I e-mailed the Minster of Finance to ask it that was true and to express my objections. That is one of four e-mails to which he has not responded.

  30. @Blaze, the group letter does seem to be wrought with difficulties. I liked but was hesitant about your guns blazing out the gate, but somehow it was more genuine than my more measured approach. Great experiment though!
    @Blaze/HerbMaybe it’s wishful thinking but I think a demand for reciprocity may just derail FATCA, considering the reaction to DATCA within the US.

  31. Well, we have some good wording that each of us can choose from in creating our letters. And I’m with you, Blaze. I won’t use my real name in a letter to the editor, so I guess that’s out.

    However, if we all send in our individual emails/letters around July 1st, especially if we reference Canada Day, I still think it can have an impact to remind Flaherty et al that we’re here and waiting on our govt to speak out in protection of our rights.

    It does seem to me, after reading all of this discussion, and letting it ferment for a bit, that there might be MORE impact if each one is individualized.

  32. I link to the Isaac Brock Society when I mention it in the text of an e-mail on this matter. Usually it’s not in the text, though … so I put it at the bottom of the e-mail, our society’s name (link), followed by the tag-line, figuring it may pique someone’s curiosity.

    As for this project, I like the idea that people will compose their own e-mails (not a form letter), but I think putting a Brock link is a good idea, indicates that there is an organised force out there.

  33. When I first called the office of my MP, the first thing I was told was “but you ARE an American”. I got angry and said NO I AM CANADIAN! Imagine that a fellow Canadian calling me an American. That in my mind is a big hurdle to jump, to make our fellow Canadians realize that we are not US citizens, we are Canadians! Once the fact that we are Canadian can be established in their minds, things start to make more sense to them. Going back to that first conversation with my MP’s office, they seemed to think this was all something between me an American and the US government, not really the business of Canada or the MP at all.

  34. @True North: If we can’t get our elected officials to accept we are Canadian (how do they think we manage to vote?!?) and not American, how can we ever win this battle.

    In all the letters I have sent, I have stressed that I relinquished my US citizenship 40 years ago. Most of the responses I have received back referred to me as a dual citizen (I’m NOT dual!). My own Conservative MP e-mailed me information on my obligation to file FBAR.

    This was after I chided him for not responding to me, while Don Davies,NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, whose riding is 3000 miles from me phoned me personally to reinforce that the NDP would continue to speak out on behalf of Canadians regarding FATCA. Mr. Davies did not refer to me as a dual or as an American.

    A few minutes ago, I received a reply to a letter I had sent in January to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (more than five months after my letter was sent!) “regarding Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative.” Hello?!? I didn’t write about OVDI.

    I don’t think any of them get it because they don’t want to get it! And, we wonder why “quiet diplomacy” isn’t working?!?

  35. @Blaze

    I wish I could tell you something more positive. One problem is you are dealing with a very complex area of tax law unknown to all but a few people. Its not just Flaherty’s fault to speak its long running problem that every Canadian Prime Minister since Pearson should have dealt with.

    If you really want to get in touch with someone in the Canadian government dealing with FATCA every day try calling Pascale Dugre-Sasseville at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC(Dugre-Sasseville is Flaherty’s person in DC and meets with the IRS and Treasury Department on a weekly basis). As a civil servant I don’t know whether he will talk to you but it might be worth a call or a letter. His phone number is 202-682-1740.

    Mailing Address is:
    Embassy of Canada
    501 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
    Washington, DC 20001

  36. Thanks for the suggestion Tim. I’m getting really tired of writing letters which no one seems to read or care about. That includes politicians, Canadian Bankers Association, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (four months and counting since I contacted them), government officials, etc., etc. etc.

  37. @Blaze

    What type of response did you get back from the Privacy Commissioner? My sense if want to do some type of Canada Day blitz perhaps if someone like Pascale Dugre-Sasseville who deals with the likes of Shulman, Emily McMahon, Manual Corwin, and Jesse Eggert on daily basis was bombarded with 50 emails one morning all related to FATCA that might shock the system so to speak(And we definately have her email address). I might type up a draft email to work that others can modify.

  38. @Tim: At first, I got a phone call from the Privacy Commissioner’s Office that FATCA was “not a privacy matter” and it was a result of a trade agreement with the U.S. When I asked about my rights as a Canadian citizen, I was told by the employee that I am still a US citizen (which I am NOT and which the employee had no qualifications to determine). She also told me I should consult a lawyer. It was a lawyer who suggested I write to Privacy Commissioner.

    After Hijacked posted a very different response, I wrote again, requesting the correct information in writing. I then received a telephone call from the Director General of Communications for the Privacy Commissioner.

    She first apologized for incorrect information, assured me this is a privacy matter and advised the information which Hijacked received was the correct information. She told me two employees in the Privacy Commission Office are monitoring FATCA closely. She further assured me I would receive a letter with the correct information.

    Five weeks later, I had no further correspondence, so I contacted them again. A letter was sent to me by courier a couple of days later. The Communications Director again apologized for the incorrect information I received.

    The letter also says “We note that many of the Canadian organizations that my voluntarily enter into FATCA agreements are subject to Canadian private-sector privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Accordingly, organizations seeking to comply with FATCA requirements would also be expected to comply with their obligations under PIPEDA. Among these obligations are organizations’ requirements to limit the amount of personal information they collect about individuals, obtain consent for collections, uses and disclosures of individuals’ personal information, and safeguard the personal information in their care. For further information on PIPEDA, please consult our website.

    The letter went on to discuss draft regulations and said “Until these regulations are finalized and in force, we will not be in a position to fully assess what their impact will be on the privacy and personal information of account holders in Canada.” She then mentioned the fact Ministry of Finance is “engaged in this issue and has undertaken discussions with appropriate U.S. government officials in this matter.”

    Just after I received the letter, you posted the TD Waterhouse information and form. I immediately sent it to the Communications Director. She quickly responded that she had forwarded to other officials for review and comment.

    I find a word in the letter I received especially intriguing: “voluntarily.” She refers to organizations that “voluntarily” enter into FATCA agreements–and their obligation to comply with PIPEDA in doing so.. My reading of that sentence is that privacy laws trump “voluntary” FATCA agreements. I don’t know if that is just wishful thinking on my part or if that is reality. It makes sense to me that it would be reality because I continue to believe Canadian laws in Canada far outweigh demands of a foreign government. I can’t imagine IRS or a Canadian bank trying to tell a Canadian judge any differently. So, let’s hope the law isn’t changed. If it is, then we have the Charter to fall back on.

    I also understand Tiger received a telephone call today about the misinformation she had received by telephone on the same day (and possibly by the same employee)as I did. I understand Tiger should be receiving a letter with the correct information.

  39. It’s one thing to allow a Canadian bank to collect information on a client if that information is necessary. It is completely unacceptable for any information on a Canadian citizen to be sent to a foreign government. The Privacy Commissioner should not allow any information about a Canadian citizen to be sent outside of Canada and its laws by any organization for any purpose period.

  40. @ True North (3.15 pm), re: “When I first called the office of my MP, the first thing I was told was “but you ARE an American” … That in my mind is a big hurdle to jump, to make our fellow Canadians realize that we are not US citizens, we are Canadians!” and @ Blaze (4.02 pm) re: your reply to True North.

    This is very disturbing. MPs and their staff should know better. No one has ever questioned my citizenship until recently, since this US mess got in the news. Recently my husband’s accountant and a colleague were certain I was a USC (interesting, that’s not what the US Dept of State told me). Journalists also make this erroneous assumption about US-born persons.

    I think it’s because the US-DOS administrative presumption on loss of citizenship changed so long ago (1986) to the current presumption that a person intends to *keep* their US citizenship, that too many people here in Canada today are now seeming to assume that anyone born in the US is a dual citizen.

    [Even leaving aside the fact that prior to 1975 one took an oath of renunciation at the citizenship ceremony in Canada, until 1986 it was presumed by US law (no matter what country one became a citizen of) that the USC intended to *terminate* their US citizenship … And the fact that, even though the current presumption is that one intends to *keep* US citizenship, it remains a rebuttable presumption – eg, Petros – one rebuts the presumption by taking the non-US citizenship with the voluntary intent to relinquish the US citizenship.]

    If a person wants to be a dual, that’s fine. But we’d better nip in the bud this erroneous assumption that everyone born in the US is a dual.

    I recall a few months ago several Brockers were disturbed by a Globe and Mail article and e-mailed the G&M and G&M made some changes to it. I recall in particular where the author had referred to one’s “home country” … we got the G&M to change that to “country of birth.”

    Before this FATCA mess started, we lived normal lives. I was a citizen the same as everyone else. I realise that many US politicians and the press there are demonising US-born persons whose lives brought us to other countries. We can’t stop that … and why should we? It’s not our country. It’s not home. But, man, it’s creepy if Canadian officials (or their staff) actually think you’re not-exactly-a-Canadian. This is our country. This is home. We have to nip this in the bud.

  41. @Blaze

    I am bit tired today due to family medical issues so I am not posting like my usual self. The fact that the communications director responded back quickly to the TD Waterhouse info was a good sign. Perhaps Tiger when she gets contacted by them should mention TD Waterhouse too. My sense is your email to the Privacy Commissioner is enough to get enforcement action started which is a good thing.

  42. @Blaze

    The privacy commissioner comments about “voluntary” agreements are quite correct and this is a key legal sticking point notwithstanding what TD Waterhouse is doing which I don’t believe is legal under Canadian law(although might very well be probing the reaction of the Privacy Commissioner).

  43. @Pacifica: The really terrifying thing is I began all my many letters with these words: Let me be clear. Like Prime Minister Steven Harper, “I am Canadian and only Canadian.” Like Mr. Harper, I have only ever had a passport of one nation. That passport is Canadian.

    I went on to say “I have been a proud Canadian since 1973,” I explained the USConesulate told me clearly, directly and firmly I was “permanently and irrevocably” relinquishing US citizenship,

    I further said, “Since then, I , my employers, colleagues, friends, neighbours, bank, lawyer, accountant, physician and even my American family have considered me, like Prime Minister Harper, to be Canadian and only Canadian.’ I have lived, studied, worked, earned a living, owned a home, saved, invested, shopped, voted, volunteered and contributed here. I have diligently and faithfully paid taxes in Canada. Those taxes are higher than what I would have paid in United States. I have happily done so, knowing quality of life is far superior to the United States.”

    I quoted from my citizenship certificate which guarantees me the full rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. I made polite but firm suggestions that the Canadian government should advise US government that FATCA is a violation of Canadian privacy, banking and human rights laws, etc.,etc., etc. and outlined other issues in my two page letter.

    The response back? Bob Rae called me a dual citizen. When I e-mailed him, insisting I an NOT a dual citizen, he didn’t respond or acknowledge. Elizabeth May and Jason Kenney didn’t respond at all. Steven Harper sent the letter to Jim Flaherty. John Baird (almost six months after my letter) sent the letter to Flaherty and acknowledged my concerns about OVDI (which I didn’t even mention in my lettter!). My own MP sent me a fact sheet on my obligations as a US citizen to file FBARs (with not even a mention of the fact CRA won’t collect FBAR penalties.)

    As you’ve read above, the first person I dealt with in Privacy Commissioners office told me I am a U.S. citizen.

    Don Davies, Foreign Affairs critic for the NDP called me personally and stressed NDP will continue to lobby the government to ensure the rights of Canadian citizens are protected under FATCA.

    Can you imagine the public outcry if elected officials were ignoring letters from Canadian citizens born in India, Iran, China or Russia or were telling them they were still citizens of those countries (or calling them dual citizens.).

    I have since sent four follow-up e-mails to Flaherty. I get a robo-letter response to each telling me my concerns will be brought to the Minister’s attention as soon as possible. It is now going on three months. Rae, May, Kenney, Baird, Davies and my own MP were copied on all of them–No response.

    I won’t even get into the response from Canadian Bankers Association here. There is a whole separate thread for that.

    So, that is why I’m so frustrated and ticked off–but still trying to be firm but polite (the Canadian way!).

    @Tim: Thanks for being so prompt to respond today, especially when you are dealign with family medical issues. I’m glad you share my views on the “voluntary” issue. I hope that “sticking point” makes things real sticky for the banks and the government.

    Now, I’m going to follow my own advice on OMG’s anxiety thread. I’m going to read a good book and have a great night’s sleep.

    Don’t Brock Around The Clock tonight, everyone.

  44. @Blaze

    As difficult as it may seem I would take a few days “off” from “Brocking.” This issue will continue to play itself out and there will be many opportunities to fight, write letters, push for action, etc. Save your energy for the future. You have done the right thing in putting all of the relevant officials on notice. I think your communication with the Privacy Commissioners Office has been quite useful for all IBS members. I would continue to focus on that angle. If you don’t hear anything about TD Waterhouse in a few weeks follow up with your contact.

  45. @Tim: A few days off?!? Yikes! I’ll go through withdrawal.

    Actually, now might be a good time with Brock in transition. Yet, I want to see what the new site looks like and how it works.

    Actually, I’m not that tired of writing letters. Like Just Me, writing actually helps me. I am frustrated at the responses I’ve been getting and the fact it often seems no one is reading or cares about the letters or worse wants to call me a U.S. citizen or a dual citizen.

    But, I will put it on hold for a few days. I have some new ideas to write to now–FACA, CARP and your recent contact. All of that can wait. I’ve actually been planning on writing to CARP for a few weeks and FACA for a week, but they can wait a bit longer.

    Reading about stress-busters on OMG’s anxiety post and knowing how some others are coping (or not), I count myself among the calm Brockers. And that probably says it all–so I’ll take your advice and check out of here and try to Get A Life for a few days.

  46. I used to despise the term “dual citizen” and avoided the use of it, as I find it a misnomer. But lately I’ve been using it more and more (wrongly) I think to be expedient. Blaze’s frustration about being referred to as one reminded me of why I don’t like the term. It implies that one can have a dichotomous citizenship, to be both Canadian and American at the same time. This is false and I should be discouraging others from using the term. I am an individual with two citizenships, both US and Canadian—at least for the moment. But the ironic part about having a citizenship to both the US and Canada (or anywhere else) is that because of US citizenship based taxation, I in fact do have a status different from those who are just solely US or Canadian. In this hybrid, I am a second class citizen where I pay the higher of the two tax countries’ rates and get the lesser of the two countries’ deductions. I pay capital gains on fictive gains from the decline of the US dollar. I am subject to the whims of either countries’ policymakers whose policies often conflict with each other. I am in double jeopardy and I cannot thrive in this kind of environment and it’s causing me no end to my anxiety.

  47. @bubblebustin: Considering this is my second post in two hours since I said I was going to follow Tim’s advice and take a few days off from Brocking, I don’t think I’m doing very well.

    My concern about “dual” citizenship is two-fold. The first is I had every reason to believe US Consulate who told me I was “permanently and irrevocably” terminating US citizenship by becoming Canadian in 1973. I had every reason to be committed to the oath of renunciation I signed and swore at my Canadian citizenship ceremony. I think and hope Tim is right that I and others in my situation will be OK under FATCA.

    More importantly, dual citizenship to me is like a bigamous marriage. How can one be faithful to more than one partner?. Last time I checked, bigamy was illegal in both countries.

  48. @Blaze, I understand completely. Myself, I did the opposite from what you did. I didn’t take my Canadian citizenship when it would have meant US expatriation, as I did not yet see US citizenship as a liability. But I won’t be moving to Bountiful, BC any time soon, LOL!

  49. @bubblebustin, good luck with the time away. I haven’t been able to last more than a day since I found out about all this! Reading this site has almost become an addiction.
    My problem with being identified as a ‘dual’ is that it hits me at the core of my identity. I have thought of myself as Canadian since 1976, maybe even longer since I was a small child when we moved here. Getting my Canadian citizenship was only confirming what I already felt. To have someone tell me I am an American citizen feels wrong and is wrong. Since 1976, when the few people who found out where i was born said, ‘oh, you’re a dual citizen then’, I responded with no, I’m not, I became Canadian at a time that dual citizenship wasn’t legal. They accepted it, but it’s more than a little disheartening to learn that our own government workers are buying into the IRS propaganda and refer to us a dual.
    At any rate, I will be writing and sending a whole new set of letters around July 1, and whether anyone reads them or not, whether anyone does anything or not, it will do ME a world of good to have spoken out (again).

  50. @ bubblebustin’, outraged, Blaze. This is the damage done of the US being able to change tax law retroactively as was done for us who came to Canada so long ago and is again attempted based on Eduardo Saverin’s case. And, we have to defend / justify / prove ourselves innocent — not the US who has gotten away with this. We certainly should have had choice in the matters that so affect our lives.

  51. Yes, Blaze and outraged, bubblebustin’, it certainly IS stealing the identity that we had and lived our lives as in the countries of our residence.

    And, the perception of others in our countries (who are not us) regarding “dual citizens” is indeed difficult to turn around.

    (Blaze, maybe you should start tomorrow — staying away from Brock for a few days is like quitting smoking or starting that diet.)

  52. @All

    I, proudly, became a Canadian in October, 1972. I did not perform the act lightly. I went into that citizenship ceremony so that I could fully become a Canadian and participate in Canadian society. Over the years, I have on occasion been referred to as ‘dual’. Usually, I would correct the speaker. Now I would be vigorous in correcting the speaker.
    I have many friends here in Vancouver, who were born and raised in other countries – South Africa, Ireland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Iran, the UK, to name a few. I do not think they are referred to as ‘dual’ citizens. I do not believe they are afraid to return to their countries of birth. I do not believe they are afraid to have their financial institutions know where they were born.
    There is something so wrong with this whole situation.

  53. @Calgary: I certainly haven’t done very well since I said I was going to take a few days off about four hours ago, have I?

    I did manage to stay off Brock last weekend, so maybe there is hope for me yet! One day at a time.

  54. @blaze, I’m really turning into a sick puppy-I check for Brock posts on my iphone while I’m on my walks, and I’ve taken to bringing my reading glasses. We need help, LOL!

  55. @bubblebustin’: Obsess: 1. preoccupy, fill the mind of (i.e. a person) continually 2. be continually preoccupied with

    Sound familiar?

    I really am going to take Tim’s advice and take a break for a few days (well, maybe just one or two days!). Now that I’ve declared it to the Brock World, I have to do it, right? (Of course, I declared it a few hours ago, too and we know how that worked).

    Time to reclaim my life!

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