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Tom Brokaw Explains Canada To Americans

Tom Brokaw explains the relationship between Canada and The United States, in a pre-recorded short film that aired on NBC, prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Feb. 12th, 2010.

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Canada Meme: Foreign Exotic Land

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Photo: Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

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Canada & The United States: Bizarre Borders

Very interesting video about the border between the USA and Canada.

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Explore a Ghost Town in British Columbia Abandoned in 1983

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Kitsault is a town in British Columbia that was founded by a mining company in the 1980′s to exploit a local mineral. They built an entire planned community and people moved in to work and live there. Then the commodities went bust and the mining company closed the town after 18 months, turning it into a modern ghost town.

This video from the CBC tells the whole story.

What an amazing story – the place looks beautiful!

There are more pictures here.

Top 10 reasons why Canada is the best country in the world

Topping the ‘best reputation’ list in the world by the Reputation Institute for the third year running, Canada proves once again how amazing it is to live there. But, if you still need convincing of how awesome the country is, check out our top 10 reasons why we are the best:

1.     Mounties

The Royal Canadian Mountain Police – or ‘Mounties’ as they are affectionately known as – are both a federal and national police force of Canada. Well known because of their distinctive dress uniform, they put a friendly face on the Canadian police force.

2.     Ties to the monarchy

Canadians are practically royal just through association. With the Queen as monarch, Kate and Wills as the perfect royal couple, and the new addition of Prince George, who wouldn’t want to be associated with the Windsors? A debate last year in Canada, looked into cutting ties with the monarchy, but this was quickly squashed. Good move Canada.

3.     Clean air

Breathe in. Breathe Out. If you’re in Canada that will be fresh and clean air you are inhaling. Continually rating near the top in clean air research – apart from smoggy Toronto – this country welcomes you into its lush green lands and squeaky clean air.

Rocky Mountains

With oodles to see while in Canada, whether you are a local or a first-time visitor, you will always find something to make you awe-struck. The Rocky Mountains have been wowing the public for generations, with the Rocky Mountaineer being one of the best ways to explore them. This world famous train journey is available from My Canada Trips. Click here for more info.

5.     Cuban cigars can be bought here

Not the wisest of health choices, but if you so wish to puff on a Cuban cigar like Hugh Hefner, you can in Canada.

6.     The awesome celebrities

Not only is the country great, but so are its famous offspring. Just skimming the surface of Canadian talent, we have:

  • Ellen Page
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Jim Carrey
  • Bryan Adams
  • Michael Bublé
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Rachel McAdams
  • Pamela Anderson, and
  • Evangeline Lilly

7.     The Canadian accent

Although mocked by most, the Canadian accent really isn’t all that different from the American accent. Taking into account that all regional accents differ slightly from one another, the only difference is that you will find a few more ‘Eh?’s’ and a few ‘aboots’.

8.     Drinking age is 18

In Canada, you can enjoy a beer or two a whole THREE YEARS before Americans, matching the age limit of the UK, Australia and France amongst others.

9.     You can experience two seasons in one day

The weather can go from extremely cold, to blisteringly hot in as little time as 24 hours, giving you a spectrum of seasons to enjoy over a short period of time.

10.  Everyone is polite: Sorry, excuse me, no worries

If you’ve experienced a busy day in New York, or more than ten minutes on the London Tube, you will have experienced horrific rudeness. A blatant disregard for feelings, manners or common decency occurs in areas like this, leaving you feeling just a little deflated and very angry. Not in Canada. Even if you fall into someone and pour your entire Bloody Mary down their crisp white shirt, you can expect a sorry from them, even though you were clearly in the wrong.

Happy Canada Day!

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Link: The 29 Most Canadian Things To Ever Canada In Canada

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Buzzfeed has a hilarious list of pictures that feature things that would only happen in Canada.

Check it out here.

Canada Alert: Win a Trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia

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In Flight Media is offering up the chance to win a trip to explore Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here are the prize details:

One (1) Grand Prize consists of a travel package for two (2) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Travel package includes round trip, coach air transportation on Delta Air Lines for winner and Guest, hotel accommodations (one room/double occupancy) for three (3) nights/four (4) days in a downtown Halifax hotel of sponsor’s choice including breakfast for two (2) daily, and private transfer to/from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport to the hotel. Also included in one (1) dinner for two (2) at the Five Fisherman Restaurant ($100 maximum value and does not include alcoholic beverages), Gray Line Halifax Highlights and Titanic Tour, Gray Line Peggy’s Cove Tour, a Tall Ship Silva Sailing tour, and passes for two (2) to the following museums: Museum of Natural History, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada.

Sounds like an awesome chance to explore maritime Canada.

This sweepstakes is open to persons residing in United States who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

Limit: Limit one entry per person per email address, regardless of method of entry.

You have until May 31st, 2013 to enter.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ENTER!!!

Expat Life: Will FATCA Affect British Investment Overseas and QROPS?

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The purpose of the United States’ recent Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is a noble enough one- seeking out tax cheats hiding assets with no-questions-asked foreign financial institutions (FFIs). Estimations of FATCA vary markedly, of course, with some hailing it as a much-needed and long-overdue overhaul of a broken system that nurtures greedy tax frauds. Its critics condemn it as the ultimate in pointless, overreaching, ineffectual and economy-poisoning government bungling. What the eventual effectiveness, result, staying power, fallout and legacy of FATCA will be remains to be seen. For our purposes though, the question is: how will FATCA affect British investment in general and QROPS in particular right now?

In an interview with the expatriate investment site iExpats, former American diplomat and US Senate staffer turned human rights lawyer and anti-FATCA lobbyist James Jatra fervently criticized the legislation. One of his chief beefs with the Act was the legitimacy of the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) between the US government and the foreign governments which are necessary for FATCA’s success. On the list of current and probable future IGA cooperators (a list he disparages as “bald-facedly padded”) are three Jatra dismisses as “tiny British Crown Dependencies”. Presumably those three are Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

By most international/political/world market standards- size, population, trade, resources, GDP, political clout- those three Dependencies don’t carry a lot of weight, it’s true. However, if they were to be measured according to their importance with regards to expatriate investment, particularly British Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) investment, the three would be major players if not superpowers. Guernsey in particular, reigned for several years as the unequivocal QROPS world heavyweight champion, with a third or more of all QROPS under their umbrella.

In 2012 Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC), UK equivalent to the American Internal Revenue Service, enacted legislation that razed 99% of Guernsey’s Crown-endorsed QROPS economy, precipitating a flood of pension investors to seek (tax and pension) shelter elsewhere. Malta quickly emerged as their preferred destination for QROPS reinvestment.

In an investment-growth calculated decision, Malta formatted their tax and investment policy to conform both to HMRC standards and to withstand the attentions international scrutiny (like FATCA). They likewise aggressively sought double taxation agreements (DTAs) to eliminate redundant taxation with a number of other states, landing 60 of them (so far).  Included in that 60 are virtually all of those popular with British pensioner-retiree-expats. This arrangement allowed UK retirees to invest their pension (and sometimes other assets) in a Malta QROPS while living in Spain, the United States, Ireland, etc., without being taxed by both governments. A number of other nations have been working to set up similar systems, Gibraltar being a notable example.

The top ten most popular expat retirement destinations for British pensioners are Australia, the US, Spain, Canada, Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany and the UAE. Since the options has been available, the most popular places to establish a QROPS are Guernsey, New Zealand, Australia, Cyprus (less so recently), the Isle of Man, Hong Kong, Malta and Jersey, with comers like Gibraltar catching up fast. The nations that the US has either signed IGAs with or is in a dialogue about doing so include- Guernsey, The Isle of Man, Jersey, France, Germany,Spain, Ireland, Canada, Malta, New Zealand, Australia, Gibraltar, the UAE, South Africa, Cyprus and… you get the picture.

The US government is also pressing some of the traditional asset-sheltering hubs like the Caymans, Switzerland and comparable offshore havens to sign on. So, at long last- as the FATCA push is obviously targeting those nation-states most active in banking and investment, foreign and domestic, legitimate and dodgy, how will QROPS be affected?  The good news for QROPS-holders is: they probably won’t be affected much at all. FATCA is primarily designed to seek out American tax cheats and most of those investing in QROPS aren’t Americans, obviously.

With the FFIs of so many QROPS hotspots being compelled, or so the US government hopes, to open their books, there is always the possibility that peripheral QROPS information will be revealed. It’s pretty universally presumed, however, that the US government doesn’t have the time, inclination, manpower nor fervency for the hassle that putting any legitimate investments under the microscope would entail. So long as one’s followed the proper steps, gone through the proper channels and has established and maintained a legitimate QROPS through a knowledgeable and legitimate QROPS and investment specialist, they should have little to worry about.

Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and Latin/South American economic policy and QROPS pension schemes. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography and appreciates the rest of the Vitanelli family’s endless patience with his football dependence.