DA Canada Leadership:
The issues matter. Getting out the VOTE matters. It all matters because we can’t afford to lose. So much has already been lost, trashed and discredited. The Toronto and Canada Women’s Caucus Groups have an opportunity to have a big impact in 2020. It is also a big job. Sometimes the news and noise from across the border is deafening, but we intend to power on. Our goal is to break some records with the numbers of women registered and voting in the upcoming election.
Most important, we are going to vote our issues and those that impact every American. We know from our Women’s Marches, potluck dinners, actions like #WeBelieveWomen in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, debate-watch events, and fun nights like the Second City all-women show we attended together in Toronto that we have women voters who care. We have to continue to engage them.
These are some of the issues we are fighting for (sadly some many decades old!):
· ERA -- #ERANOW – We’re hopeful the ERA finally passes before the election. We are not yet in the U.S. Constitution and won’t rest until we are.
· ABORTION – Our support of #STOPTHEBANS – is unwavering and consistent with our goals as activists and feminists. Women’s reproductive rights impact all of us. With the wave of legislation criminalizing abortion being passed we need to keep pushing that issue:
· VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – Earlier this month we honoured the 14 young women killed in the Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989. Those women – killed by a young man because they were women and feminists – are a stark reminder of the danger women face in our culture and in cultures around the world.
· CLIMATE CHANGE -- This is the crisis that is everyone’s issue. Many of us are participating in the #ClimateStrike events in solidarity with youth. We need to protect our children and our children’s children.
These issues and many more require that our GOTV efforts be doubled and tripled this year. The impeachment in the House will not solve it. Trump has the biggest pulpit in the world. But WE have the numbers to win. That’s our Trump card.
For more on how to join or start a Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus in your chapter email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The geography covered by Canada’s Capital Region chapter is best marked by the rivers: the Gatineau, St. Lawrence and the Ottawa. “It’s a huge territory,” explains Rachel Eugster, the chapter’s vice-chair, “reaching all the way east to southwestern Quebec, then stretching west to Kingston. We’re trying to hold debate watches in these different areas.” At the hub, of course, is Ottawa and environs, where nearly 80 percent of the chapter’s 860 members live. It’s a challenge, admits David Schellenberg, chapter chair, to organize over such a large area. “We have endless discussions about how much we need to find and bring in more Americans. They’re out there.”
While Eugster was a member of an earlier incarnation of the CCR chapter – organizing events such as inauguration balls after Obama was elected and re-elected – Schellenberg was spurred to join Dems Abroad as Trump’s candidacy was heating up. “I remember sitting on the couch watching TV and realizing he might just win. I knew I had to do something.” Five people, including Lissette Wright, treasury chair for DA Canada, as well as treasurer for DA Global, came together in 2015. “We were all thinking the same thing,” says Schellenberg.
A sign of that collective energy was election night 2016, when the chapter organized an event at the Heart & Crown, an Irish pub in Byward Market. “It became the place in Ottawa to watch the returns,” says Schellenberg. “The entire bar was watching CNN. Both CBC and CTV hosted national shows that night and used our event, with reporters doing live hits back to both networks. It grew from just being a Democrats Abroad thing to being a big, non-partisan thing.”
Media is something Schellenberg, who also serves as communications chair for DA Canada, understands well. As co-host of the Morning Start-Up show on Live 88.5 FM, an alternative-rock radio station, for the past 11 years, he knows how important exposure is and how challenging it can be to get that exposure. Another challenge: how to juggle it all. Like Schellenberg, Eugster works more than full time as a theatre director, musician, actor, writer, choir director and editor. “My professional life is multi-streamed,” she says. “DA got added in as an extra layer.” “We’re all people with full-time jobs already,” Schellenberg says of the chapter’s board. “We don’t have enough hours in the day for all the ideas we have.”
Those ideas will carry the chapter into 2020. “I just want people to vote, to be involved in the political process,” says Schellenberg, a goal he shares with his co-chair. “Canada has this unique challenge, with so many ‘hidden’ Americans,” says Eugster, “but how do we find those people? Most would vote if they knew they could.” Globally, she’s hopeful “we’ll flip the Senate, change presidents and pass the ERA.”
It'll be accomplished through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers across Canada educating Americans on their right to vote. If you're interested in volunteering in 2020 please contact the DemsAbroad Canada Volunteer Manager through this email.
NY-26 Voters invited to join DemsAbroad meeting with Rep Higgins staff to discuss Residency Based Taxation [RSVP Required]
Dear NY-26 Voter --
Democrats Abroad Canada is reaching out to our members who vote in New York Congressional District 26 served by House Representative Brian Higgins of Buffalo / Niagara Falls.
DemsAbroad has a meeting scheduled with Rep. Higgins’ staff in Buffalo on Friday, January 24 at 1:30 PM. We invite you to join us by RSVP'ing to this event. For transportation coordination and the Congressman's office protocol, an RSVP is required. We will be coordinating from a meet up point at the Aldershot Go station for those who would like to carpool.
Our delegation plans to tell the Congressman our tax stories about the discrimination, unfairness and burdensome demands that the present Citizen Based Taxation (CBT) system has on us Americans who live abroad.
We are seeking Rep. Higgins support for reforms to the current system of Citizenship Based Taxation (CBT) by an adoption of Residency Based Taxation (RBT) system. If you live outside the region or are otherwise unable to join us, we invite you to send a letter of support for RBT to the Congressman's Buffalo office. Ask Rep. Higgins for his support for Congressional hearings on RBT before the House Ways and Means Committee of which he is a member. A sample letter is below this message for your use.
“Americans abroad face a range of laws and regulations that discriminate against us for living outside the U.S. U.S. tax laws are foremost among them, causing us serious personal and financial harm, jeopardizing our ability to arrange even ordinary banking services, threatening to crush our small to medium-sized businesses and obstructing our ability to save for the future,” reports the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force.
By enacting a switch to Resident Based Taxation (RBT) Congress would sweep away the vast majority of the problems we face. Click here to download our policy paper “Making the Case for a Switch to Residency Based Taxation.” The attached policy paper was prepared for our use in reaching out to Rep. Higgins and other members of Congress.
Yours for taxation reform in 2020,
Democrat Abroad, member to Democratic National Committee
Democrats Abroad Canada, Chair
Sample letter to send Congressman
Congressman Brian Higgins
726 Exchange Street
Buffalo, New York 14210
Dear Representative Higgins
I vote absentee in your District. I live in Canada and like other Americans living abroad I am required to file taxes both in the US and in Canada. There are 6.5 million Americans like me, living outside the United States, suffering serious personal and financial harm because we are subjected to taxation both in the US, even if I have no US income, and Canada where we live.
Filing from abroad is more complex and is very costly, even for ordinary earners like me. Tax code provisions as recently passed lacked consideration for their impact on overseas filers. One example is the recent “transition taxes” in the 2017 Tax Act that is forcing many American small business owners abroad to close their companies.
There are many issue of discriminating taxation from which Americans abroad need relief. We want the US to switch from our current system of Citizenship Based Taxation (CBT) to Residency Based Taxation (RBT). If the US had a system of Residency Based Taxation (RBT), like nearly every other nation, then I’d still be required to report my US-based income if I had any, but not the income I make and pay taxes on in Canada.
A bill to enact Residency Based Taxation (RBT) is in development stage in the Ways and Means Committee. Democrats Abroad is calling for hearings on RBT taxation before this Committee of which you are a senior member. I urge you to support RBT legislation when it is introduced. It will provide much needed relief to Americans living abroad.
I am also asking for your support to HR 4362, the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act. It would exempt Americans living abroad from disclosures on their financial accounts in their countries of residence – accounts from which they pay bills and save for the future. I encourage you to contact Rep Carolyn Maloney to become a co-sponsor of this important legislation. I am glad to hear that you are also a member of the Americans Abroad Caucus.
Thank you very much for your service to the voters of your district, including us who live abroad.
[Your name and address]
Meeting room will be posted at the main door.
Hello, my name is Ben Miller and I need your help to plan a Super Tuesday event when Democrats Abroad members may vote in a Global Primary. We will need volunteers to help facilitate this event that is planned to occur at the Confusion Corner Drinks + Food restaurant on March 3, 2020 from 6-9 PM. Should be a fun event with the media invited.
I will be running a Provisional chapter as Provisional Chapter Chairperson (if there are no objections) until 2021 when we can form as a chapter, vote for officers, etc. A viable chapter will need at least a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson (of opposite sex). A secretary for minutes would be nice to have. We will also need membership committee members to help keep our membership up-to-date. These chapter officers would need to commit to at least monthly or perhaps quarterly meetings during slow times, face to face, or Webex.