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A cold shoulder fron Canada

 
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  #1  
Old 01-15-2008, 05:39 PM
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A cold shoulder fron Canada

Canada gives cold shoulder at the border to Americans with DWIs
LARRY OAKES, Star Tribune


INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MINN. - Yanks with youthful indiscretions, beware: That faded citation for driving drunk or smoking pot might not keep you from becoming president of the United States, but with post-9/11 border security, it might keep you from visiting Canada.

Americans have traditionally crossed into Canada with just a few friendly questions and a wave. But stricter anti-terrorism measures and Canada's already tougher stance on crimes such as drunken driving have resulted in many average Americans getting the cold shoulder at the border.

Just ask Bob Hohman, 54, a computer network security analyst from Roseville.

Hohman said he quit drinking after two drunken-driving offenses in the 1970s. By 2004, the convictions were such ancient history that he didn't think twice about disclosing them on a questionnaire at the Canadian border station in Walhalla, N.D., where he and his brother tried to cross on the way to an annual goose hunt.

"When the border agent saw these entries, he informed me that I would not be allowed to enter Canada," Hohman said. The agent said it didn't matter that he had crossed annually for at least 10 years or that he hadn't had a drink since 1979.

"I was kind of astonished," Hohman said. "I was like, 'C'mon, all of a sudden I'm not worthy to be in your country?'" Hohman said he and his brother drove to a different border crossing, steeled their nerves, didn't mention his record and crossed "without further incident."

More questions asked

Drunken driving, a felony in Canada, has long been on the list of crimes that can "deem" a foreigner "inadmissible." But in the past, experts say, border agents were less likely to find out about a foreigner's drunken driving record, either because they didn't ask or because they didn't have extensive criminal history databases to check.

That's changing, according to Lucy Perillo, president of Canada Border Crossing Services, a Winnipeg-based company that helps foreigners -- most of them American -- run the gantlet of paperwork required to get permission to enter Canada with even a minor criminal record.

"The number being denied [entry] is increasing, and it's directly related to more questions being asked," Perillo said. "If you have a DUI or you wrote some bad checks or shoplifted or smoked some pot, you're probably going to need a [special] permit to come into Canada."

Despite the heightened scrutiny, the Canadian government denies that it's refusing entry to more Americans. "We haven't seen an increase in individuals found inadmissible," said Derek Mellon, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency, though he said he was unable on short notice to provide statistics supporting his statement.

"The requirements to enter the country have not changed," Mellon said. "We continue to welcome millions of American travelers every year to our country."

A way to rehabilitate

Canadian immigration officials say that in many cases, would-be visitors with minor records are provisionally admitted -- either by paying about $200 in U.S. money for a temporary permit or paying the same amount and following a months-long process to "rehabilitate" their record permanently.

But being held up at the border or in the bureaucracy can be humiliating for the visitors and frustrating for the lodges, outfitters and other Canadian businesses that cater to them.

"Now I do not admit to being arrested when I cross the border, but it is very stressful," said Randy Kutter of Princeton, who had drunken-driving offenses in 1981 and 1986. He was denied entry in the fall of 2005, while trying to cross into Canada at Baudette, Minn., on a fishing trip.

He said he paid about $240 for a one-time visitors permit and later paid a similar fee to start rehabilitating his record -- a process requiring copies of the original charging documents. "I then spent two days running around to different courthouses and found there were no records left," Kutter said. "I eventually gave up."

Kutter and Hohman were among more than a dozen Minnesotans who responded to an inquiry on StarTribune.com about being denied entry to Canada.

They included a woman with a drunken-driving charge that was reduced to careless driving. She was traveling with her boss to a business meeting when she was denied entry. She and most others shared their information on the condition that their names not be used. Several said they had visited Canada many times before without a problem, though they had had the same record.

Some, such as a Twin Cities businessman who had flown to Montreal more than 30 times before being denied entry, said his drunken-driving offense came up when an immigration official ran his name through a computer.

More information shared

That may be happening more often in the future. As part of the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration, a sweeping agreement drafted in 2003, Canada and the United States are developing shared databases of criminal history data on each other's citizens, in the name of anti-terrorism.

In 14 years in the business, Perillo said she has seen minor criminal records delay honeymoons, force fishing or hunting parties to cancel trips and lose deposits, and cause Canadian resorts to lose business. In general, she said, the older and less serious a charge is, the fewer problems a traveler will encounter.

Several times in recent years, Thunderbird Lodge on the United States side of Rainy Lake has accommodated fishing parties who turned around at the border because one of their members was denied entry to Canada, said Mary Jane Haanen, co-owner of the lodge, just outside International Falls, Minn.

"You hate to benefit from the misfortune of a business in Canada," Haanen said. "But at least we've been able to help them salvage their trip."

Larry Oakes 1-218-727-7344
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:24 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,064
HEll! that ain't nothin

I just received, today in the US Mail, the following from the United States of America, Social Security System for validation of information from a meeting with the local office that I had with them last week:

My name is Roy XXXXXXXXXX
My social security number is XXX-XX-XXXX
My Date of birth is XXX xx, 1943
I am not a citizen of the United States. (highlights are mine)

To top that off they think I'm a girl
They want some kind of Documentation of US Citizens born a broad. And that's the only humorous part about this.:mad::mad:

What a helluva thing to find out at this stage of life!!

If I ever got into Canada could I get back?

Just what I always wanted to be. A man with out a country!:mad:

I wonder how I ever got that high level of clearance in Rickover's Navy????

This could make one want to be a Democrat, just to learn how those who dreamed up all this damn bureaucracy did it.

Independence is a good thing. However, it would be nice to do the medicare thing just to be able to buy more booletts.;)

Sorry for the rant.

Maybe this otta be in the Humor forum.



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Last edited by royinidaho; 01-20-2008 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Was cautioned about using actual personal info
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2008, 06:32 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dogpatch, NY
Posts: 698
Cold shoulder

Just received this from a friend of mine.
Last year hunting caribou in Quebec we were three hunters short in our camp. I found out the next day one of the hunters was denied entry into Canada. The other two hunters decided not to travel without the other guy. They all had their 6000.00 paid in full.
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  #4  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:43 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 458
I've been fishing to canada several times and will not go back. With the $50 or so you have to pay to take your gun across the border to hunt and the fact that I hunt with handguns and I can't take them across the border makes me want to just stay home in the good old USA. I do hope to jump over canada and hunt AK.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:12 AM
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Location: Longmont, Colorado
Posts: 325
A long time ago (1985) I did a float plane fishing trip, and the outfitter didn't get us "camping permits". Long story on that, but the fish and game girls, gave us a hefty fines, which we promptly ignored. They swore out a warrant for my arrest, which I actually find kind of amusing. I have managed to avoid several business trips up there with the phrase "I can't go back, there is a warrant for my arrest". No one ever asks why!
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:16 PM
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So is it best to keep your mouth shut and hope they don't look?
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2008, 08:35 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Posts: 325
I don't think they really care that much for minor infractions. They sent me a letter in 1987 telling me that "If I ever decide to return to Canada ..", but that was the extent of it. The ticket was from around Kenora, OR and I did go fishing in Saskatchewan in 1990, without any problems, but as the original poster said, things are a little different after 9/11 up there.
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