I live on two continents. Not physically, that would be impossible, unless my ice cream taste-testing spurs new horizons of bodily expansion.
That has not happened. Not yet. But I am going to give it a try. In the meantime, while I am physically here in Switzerland, I am still a resident of Canada, according to the government. I’ll say it another way: So far as the pencil-pushers in my nation’s capital city of Ottawa are concerned, I am there, even when I am here.
The government offers four kinds of residency: Factual, deemed, non-resident or “deemed non-resident.”
I would like to see what it is like to be a “deemed non-resident.” I bet it means I can stand at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg and spit at passersby without getting arrested for it, because I am “deemed,” to not be there. That is, the actual physical fact of my location will not in any way correspond to my government’s view on my whereabouts.
This is why it appears politicians lie – they are living inside a “deemed” reality, constructed by bureaucrats hidden deep within the bowels of Ottawa, and I mean it when I say bowels. Bureaucrats certainly give off that bowel-ish odour.
I would shy away from making such a sweeping pejorative statement about an entire group of humanity, but who will attack me for saying it? Nobody. Does this not support my point?
I meet the requirements of the first residency status, that is, I am a “factual” resident, when in fact, I am not there. How do the bureaucrats do this? It is a marvel. They are building their own virtual world as far as Canada’s citizenry is concerned.
Why does the government want to say I am there when I am here? Here’s why: So they can tax me.
It gets more complicated. While I am factually in Canada under its tax definitions (I half expect my Victoria neighbour Dan to look out his window right now to see if I am doing anything about the weed growth in my front yard), I am also a resident in Switzerland under its tax treaty.
This means Switzerland gets to tax me as well.
See all the fun the bureaucrats are having, picking me apart, tax-wise.
While bureaucrats blur the lines around reality by penning amazingly long and complex guidelines, they are eloquently articulate about getting money from me. They say “we tax your income.” A wonderful statement in its brevity and clarity.
Things have improved somewhat since we last lived outside of the country (not factually, just physically). At that time, the government was equally clear that they would tax us, however, we were not allowed access to any government-funded programs.
We don’t use a lot, so it didn’t bother us much until we returned and discovered that we would have no health care for four months.
It created a bit of a fuss at the Canadian doctor’s office when I tried to pay cash. I felt like the fictional Jack Donaghy of NBC’s sitcom 30Rock when his wife delivered a baby in Canada and the staff told him the health services were free, only in this case, the situation was reversed.
I was still paying for the health services; I just wouldn’t get any.
That has changed apparently, and we will be able to get healthcare when we return to Canada, but then that is what the bureaucrats say today. We won’t know factually for sure until we get back home.