Godfrey–Milliken Bill

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American Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Loyalty) Act
(Godfrey–Milliken Bill)
Parliament of Canada
  • An Act to permit descendants of United Empire Loyalists who fled the land that later became the United States of America after the 1776 American Revolution to establish a claim to the property they or their ancestors owned in the United States that was confiscated without compensation, and claim compensation for it in the Canadian courts, and to exclude from Canada any foreign person trafficking in such property
Considered byParliament of Canada
Legislative history
Introduced byPeter Milliken
John Godfrey
First readingOctober 22, 1996
Status: Not passed

The Godfrey–Milliken Bill, also called the American Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Loyalty) Act,[1] was a private member's bill introduced in the Canadian parliament by Liberal MPs Peter Milliken and John Godfrey. The bill was intended as a parody of the American Helms–Burton Act.[2]

The Helms–Burton Act set up stringent punishments on any business or person that profited from property of American businesses and people that had been seized in the Cuban Revolution. The bill included a policy of punishing foreign nations and companies who had profited from this seized property (which in practice means trading with Cuba at all, since everything in Cuba is in some way connected to such property). This included a number of Canadian companies.

The 1996 bill responded by calling for descendants of United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution to be able to reclaim land and property that was confiscated by the American government. The bill would have also allowed the Canadian government to exclude corporate officers, or controlling shareholders of companies that possess property formerly owned by Loyalists, as well as the spouse and minor child of such persons from entering Canada. In total some three million Canadians are descendants of United Empire Loyalists, including Milliken and Godfrey. The current value of the land and property seized during the American Revolution is many billions of dollars.[citation needed]

The bill received widespread attention in Canada and also some publicity in the United States,[2] including a feature on 60 Minutes.

The Godfrey–Milliken Bill did not become law.[3] Milliken later supported Bill C-54 to amend the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act which effectively neutralized any attempt to enforce the Helms–Burton Act on Canadians or Canadian companies.[4] The amendments blocked access to Canadian records for the prosecution of any case under the Helms–Burton Act, allowed the Attorney General to block Canadian courts from enforcing judgments emanating from US jurisdictions against Canadian defendants, permitted Canadian defendants to counter-sue in Canadian courts, and imposed a $1.5 million fine (equivalent to $2.59 million in 2020) to any Canadian entity that aided any prosecution under Helms–Burton.[5]

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  1. ^ Craig, William (2012). Yankee come home: On the road from San Juan Hill to Guantánamo. New York: Walker & Company. p. 148. ISBN 9780802777928. Canada's Parliament even considered a parody bill, the American Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Loyalty) Act
  2. ^ a b Farnsworth, Clyde H. (July 28, 1996). "In Canadians' Retort on Trade, Politics of the Absurd". New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Wylie, Lana (2010). Perceptions of Cuba: Canadian and American policies in comparative perspective. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442685826. The Godfrey–Milliken Bill, though never passed, was written in retaliation for an American measure designed to hamper other countries from investing in Cuba.
  4. ^ Arreola, Antroy A. (1998). "Who's isolating whom? Title III of the Helms-Burton Act and compliance with international law" (PDF). Houston Journal of International Law. 20 (2): 353–378.
  5. ^ Deonandan, Kalowatie (2005). "The Helms-Burton Bill and Canada's Cuba policy: Convergences with the US". Policy and Society. 24 (1): 124–149. doi:10.1016/S1449-4035(05)70052-7. S2CID 153413999.

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