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Posts Tagged ‘diasporas

[LINK] “‘U.S. persons’ in Canada express fear and loathing of tax crackdown”

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Douglas Todd’s Vancouver Sun article relating to binational American-Canadian citizens and their complaints about controversial new taxation policies is worth reading.

I do have to say that this–at least the mandatory taxation of long-time Canadian residents and holders of Canadian citizenship who are also Americans by birth–sounds bad. Half of my links on Eritrea relate to the Eritrean government’s much less sophisticated shakedowns of Eritrean diasporids. Or am I drawing too much similarity between the efforts of two different governments to tax their citizens abroad?

The sense of outrage, loathing and emotional tumult displayed by people in Canada who have direct or indirect U.S. connections reverberates on at least three major websites devoted to the battle against the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, best known as FATCA.

Americans in Canada have written about experiencing emotional breakdowns, marital discord, depression and alcohol dependence on FATCA-protest websites such as The Isaac Brock Society, Maple Sandbox and the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty. Using pseudonyms, they have called Uncle Sam a “global bully,” an “oligarchy” and a “desperate fading empire.”

Their fury has been heating up since July 1, when the Canadian government brought into effect a complex agreement with the U.S. that requires roughly a million people in Canada who are considered “U.S. persons” to file U.S. income tax statements — or face severe penalties. While many Americans in Canada will not be out of pocket because of FATCA, many will be hit with extra costs, including capital gains on the sale of their Canadian homes.

Upset with what they see as the Conservative government caving into pressure from the U.S. government in its global quest to root out tax “cheats”, a group of Canadian citizens this week launched a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging the legislation is unconstitutional.

Two Ontario women with roots in the U.S. — Gwen Deegan of Toronto and Ginny Hillis of Windsor — took the risk of attaching their name to the lawsuit, which was sponsored in part by the Alliance for the Defence of Canadian Sovereignty and is being spearheaded by noted Vancouver constitutional lawyer Joe Arvay.

Deegan, who moved to Canada when she was five years old and has never had a U.S. passport, called Canada’s complicity with FATCA “a literal betrayal.” She maintained the country in which she was born, but has no meaningful ties, is “plundering” her retirement savings with an “absurd law.”

One Metro Vancouver man has also come forward with how appalled he is by the behaviour of the U.S. and Canadian governments, even though he’s not a signatory to the lawsuit. James Hamilton, a 55-year-old BC Hydro engineer who lives with his family in Coquitlam, joins many in demanding to know how the U.S. can get away with being the only major country in the world that taxes people based on citizenship, not residency. Hamilton believes the U.S. is engaged in “a big money grab” since its inadequate banking regulations helped throw the world into a financial crisis in 2008.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

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  • Al Jazeera America argues that depending on cars will hurt Newark’s urban renaissance, notes the emerging Indian-Israeli alliance and the import of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in sectarian communities in Northern Ireland, looks at the slowly reviving film industry of Côte d’Ivoire, chronicles the human rights issues of LGB Ukrainians and of Christian sects in the Caucasus, examines the legacies of German immigration in Brazil, and looks at the shantytowns of Mongolia.
  • Al Jazeera examines Russia’s Eurasianism, notes emergent water shortages in Syria, looks at the reaction of Sephardic Jews to a new Spanish citizenship law that would give them access to Spain, and chronicles the persecution of the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan.
  • Bloomberg notes that sanctions on Russia may hurt the Greek economy, notes the collapse in wages for young people in southern Europe, and looks at Germany’s serious impending demographic issues.
  • BusinessWeek looks at Tinder’s shabby treatment of a female co-founder, examines the stagnant economy of Thailand, looks at hospitals which mine credit card data to predict their future patients.
  • CBC notes with disappearance of anonymous public WiFi in Russia, takes a look at the consequences of the shutdown of the McCain potato processing plant in Borden-Carleton, points out the ongoing collapse of a caribou herd on the Québec-Labrador border, shows the sad toll of the Air Algérie plane crash in Québec, and notes that Vancouver’s aquarium can no longer breed cetaceans.
  • Global News looks at the impact of Air Algérie’s disaster in Montreal.
  • MacLean’s suggests Canada is not immune to an American-style housing crash, argues that the Canadian job market is weaker than it appears, and reports on the claims that restrictive American immigration policies could work to the benefit of Canada.
  • National Geographic notes some surprisingly social cephalopod populations and looks at naming ceremonies for some gorillas in Rwanda.
  • NPR reports that some big data firms claim Snowden’s data release has given terrorists ideas as to how they can be quieter, and notes some Ivoirien cacao farmers who taste
  • The New York Times notes the closure of an Upper East Side restaurant priced out by rising rents.
  • Reuters observes the worsening demographics of Italy.
  • Transitions Online takes a small-scale look on the effects of emigration in Uzbekistan.
  • Universe Today looks at how some Martian canyons were formed by different water releases.
  • Xinhua notes how emigration from Portugal has become mainstream.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait suggests that the ESA’s Rosetta probe may have found evidence for a calving event in its target comet.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Jupiter’s extraordinarily volcanic moon of Io.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird notes a report that Russia plans on opening a new air force base in Belarus.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel describes how Hakodate, the first city of Japan’s Hokkaido island, hosted multiple consulates.
  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad note how parishoners at a Roman Catholic church in Illinois are rallying behind their church’s music director, fired for announcing his impending marriage.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig describes, with maps, the issues of Christians in the Middle East.
  • Language Log explores the complexities of newly popular Sanskrit language programs in education.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money explores the survival of the old South and Confederate ideals in the modern Tea Party (1, 2).
  • Marginal Revolution started a discussion as to what the European Central Bank should do.
  • The Planetary Society Blog hosts a post from Jason Davis describing the innovative online interface for data from the crowd-controlled ISEE-3 probe.
  • The Russian Demographics blog notes the confused population policy of Belarus.
  • Spacing Toronto notes how Logan Avenue in the east end has become an unofficial slow street.
  • Torontoist discusses doorings suffered by cyclists.

[BLOG] Some politics-related links

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  • 3 Quarks Daily links to an essayist wondering why people talked about Gaza not the Yezidis as a way to dismiss Gaza.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly notes how Americans subsidize Walmart’s low wages by givibng its employees benefits.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Chinese plans to reforest Tibet could accelerate the dessication of its watershed since trees suck up water, observes the existence of a new Chinese ICBM and links to a report of a Chinese drone, notes that the ecologies of Europe are especially vulnerable to global warming owing to their physical fragmentation, and notes that Canadian-Mexican relations aren’t very friendly.
  • Eastern Approaches notes Russia’s reaction to the shootdown of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine and observes the issues with Poland’s coal industry.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis calls for American military intervention to protect the Yezidis from genocide.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the plight of the Yezidi, examines the undermining of liberal Zionism, wonders how Russian relations with Southeast Asia will evolve, and after noting the sympathy of some Americans on the left for Russia analyses the consequences of a Russian-Ukrainian war.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Russia’s food import ban is a sign of a shift to a cold war mentality, notes the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, wonders about the strategy of Hamas, and comments on the weakness of the economy of Ghana.
  • The New APPS Blog comments on the implications of the firing of American academic Steven Salaita for his blog posts.
  • The Pagan Prattle looks at allegations of extensive coverups of pedophilia in the United Kingdom.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the decreasing dynamism of the ageing Australia economy.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer doesn’t think there’s much of a crisis in Argentina following the debt default, notes ridiculous American efforts to undermine Cuba that just hurt Cubans, examines implications of energy reform and property rights in Mexico, has a good strategy shared with other for dealing with the Islamic State.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little contends with Tyler Cowen’s arguments about changing global inequality, and studies the use of mechanisms in international relations theory.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy touches upon Palestine’s case at the ICC against Israel, looks at Argentina’s debt default, and wonders if Internet domain names are property.
  • Window on Eurasia has a huge set of links, pointing to the rivalry of Russian Jewish organizations in newly-acquired Crimea, looking at Ukrainian ethnic issues in Russia, suggests that the Donbas war is alienating many Ukrainians in the east from Russia, notes Islamization in Central Asia, suggests that Russia under sanctions could become as isolated as the former SOviet Union, suggests Ukrainian refugees are being settled in non-Russian republics, wonders if Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova will join Turkey as being perennial EU candidates, suggests that Belarusians are divided and claims that Belarusian national identity is challenging Russian influence, looks at the spread of Ukrainian nationalism among Russophones, looks at the consequences of Kurdish independence for the South Caucasus, and notes that one-tenth of young Russians are from the North Caucasus or descend from the region.

Devjyot Ghoshal’s article at The Atlantic profiles one of the few growth sectors of American journalism, in the ethnic press.

As commenters note, the barebones nature of these operations don’t bode well for even their future, never mind larger mainstream organizations.

There are close to a hundred ethnic newspapers in New York City with a combined readership of 2.94 million, almost a third of the city’s total population, according to the New York Press Association.

Together this collection of monthly, weekly, and daily newspapers are part of a larger ecosystem: More than 270 community and ethnic publications in 36 languages that are published in New York. In the last two years alone, at least 21 new ethnic newspapers have been launched. In contrast, the number of daily newspapers in the United States has dropped from 1,480 in 2000 to 1,382 in 2011.

But these small publications, often run out of basements such as Rehman’s, are surviving—and occasionally even thriving, riding the coattails of the city’s burgeoning immigrant population. More than 3 million of New York’s 8.2 million residents are foreign-born, the city’s planning department estimates—the highest percentage of immigrants since the European influx of the 1930s.

Javier Castaño is among them. The Colombia-born journalist started out as a reporter for the United States’s oldest Spanish-daily, El Diario La Prensa. Eventually, he rose to become the editor-in-chief of Hoy Nueva York, a free Spanish-language daily. In 2008, Hoy’s print edition was shuttered, and Castaño fired.

Instead of finding another job, Castaño decided to turn publisher. He started the Queens Latino, an online news outlet focusing on Queens’s Spanish-speaking community. It’s a huge demographic bloc: More than 27 percent of the borough’s 2.3 million residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin. A few months later, he launched a monthly newspaper.

“They say that Latinos use the Internet in a strong way and they go to see videos all the time,” explained Castaño, sitting at his home-office in Jackson Heights. “But I don’t think they are getting the news still via the Internet. So you need that newspaper.” The Queens Latino currently prints about 15,000 copies every month.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

[LINK] “Expat voting: Court denies Ottawa’s fight for 5-year rule for voters abroad”

This news reported by CBC earlier this week is quite good, I think.

Canadians living abroad, regardless of when they left the country, will be able to cast ballots in next week’s federal byelections in Ontario and Alberta.

An Ontario Court of Appeal judge made the ruling today, denying the federal government’s request for a stay of a lower court ruling that would have extended voting rights to anyone who had lived outside the country for more than five years.

Monday’s decision comes just days before voters were to head to the polls on June 30 for four byelections — two in Alberta, two in Ontario.

It paves the way for about 1.4 million longtime Canadian expats to vote alongside others who moved abroad more recently.

An amendment to the Canada Elections Act passed in 1993 barred citizens abroad from voting in Canadian elections if they were out of the country for longer than five years.

But last month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny found the five-year rule arbitrary and unconstitutional.

“The [government] essentially argues that allowing non-residents to vote is unfair to resident Canadians because resident Canadians live here and are, on a day-to-day basis, subject to Canada’s laws and live with the consequences of Parliament’s decisions,” Penny wrote in the May 2 decision.

“I do not find this argument persuasive.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Posted in Canada, Politics

Tagged with , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • James Bow mourns the loss of the Northlander train route connecting northern Ontario with the south.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a Saudi Arabian announcement that it will be boosting military spending by 20%.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World blog notes growing Brazilian confidence in the outcome of the World Cup.
  • At A Fistful of Euros, Alex Harrowell notes the complexities of governance and procedure in the European Parliament.
  • Language Hat notes the long and changing history of ethnic identity in the Crimean peninsula.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair notes from first-hand experience the complex language and script situation in Macau and Hong Kong.
  • The New APPS Blog features suggestions for institutional reform in the European Union.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that, to ingratiate itself with the European Union, Albania won’t accept transit fees for the impending Trans-Adriatic pipeline.
  • Spacing Toronto remembers the time when Toronto’s subway network was the best in North America.
  • Strange Maps’ Frank Jacobs notes how a steamship disaster helped erase the Manhattan neighbourhood of Little Germany from the map of New York City.
  • Torontoist fact-checks an Olivia Chow speech, finding it boringly accurate and unambitious.
  • Towleroad notes how a Dutch town proposed setting up a gay ghetto to call out local homophobia.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Ukrainian Orthodox Christian leaders are rejecting the Russian church’s authority, and observes that the Ukrainian government is now demanding that ethnic Ukrainians in Russia receive good treatment as an ethnic minority.
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