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Old 11-07-2014, 01:32 PM   #21
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There are measured and reasonable agents...and the suspicious, nasty kind...on both sides of the border.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:48 PM   #22
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I've entered Canada from the US a total of about 20 times, once for work, and all of the other times as a tourist. I've entered Canada multiple times each by bicycle, car, ferry, & plane. I've traveled to over 3 dozen countries. The ONLY country I've ever had a problem entering was Canada, and it has happened twice. The first time was fairly innocuous, I was 21 years old and had just graduated from college. I was taken to a room and an agent politely asked me reasonable questions. I wasn't searched at all.

2 years ago, however, I was interrogated for an hour by a very nasty border official while driving a rental car from northern Maine into New Brunswick. I was told to park and go inside. They asked me which states I had lived in during my life and proceeded to initiate police checks on me for each of those states. I was put in a closed, small windowless room with the agent who asked me increasingly ridiculous questions. He searched every file on my netbook (I was not allowed to watch), and looked at every photo in my camera. I hadn't gotten around to erasing the photos I had taken in Mexico the previous winter, and he was treated to looking at lots of photos of a cloud forest in the mountains of Oaxaca where a friend & I hiked for 2 days, photos of the fabulous food markets there, and photos I had just taken in Acadia Nat. Park.) At one point, he started yelling at me, demanding to know who a certain person was for whom I had created a directory on my netbook. He and another agent also did a thorough search of my empty rental car, which only contained my small carry-on suitcase.

After an hour, he marched me back into the main room, tore off a sheet of paper which he stapled to my passport and told me, "I think you're lying, but you don't have a police record and you have money, so I'm letting you in. But you can only stay until the day of your flight home (from Manchester, NH), and you have to stop at the border before you leave Canada and turn in this document. If you don't leave by that date, there will be a warrant for your arrest." I just wanted to get out of there, but before I walked back to my car I said to him, "I didn't lie to you about anything." I had no reason to lie to him about anything. Since my intention was to go to NH & VT after leaving Canada, the shortest way to get there from northern Maine was via Canada. Otherwise, I might have turned around and re-entered the US immediately.

I only stayed in Canada one night, which was 1 or 2 nights less than I had anticipated. I just wanted to get the hell out after the treatment I had received. I really mainly wanted to re-visit Quebec City, which the agent found bizarre for some reason. When I was leaving Canada, I stopped and entered the small Canadian border post (in Quebec province) to turn in the document. The 2 agents there were very nice. I told them what had transpired the previous day. One of the agents had never even seen one of those documents before. They had no explanation for why I was given the third degree.

I then drove across the border to the US side. The friendly agent asked me a couple of questions and said, "you can go". Since nobody was waiting behind me, I told him what had happened entering Canada 36 hours earlier. When I quoted the guy saying to me "I think you're lying...", the American border agent said to me, "Wow, that's different." His reaction made my day.

I told a Canadian friend of mine about this, and he was somewhat surprised because he had only heard stories from his Canadians friends who were hassled at the US border. If you search online, you will find a huge number of much worse tales by citizens of both countries being hassled while trying to enter the neighboring country.
The last time I was in Canada on business, I was watching a TV show in the hotel room in Toronto and ran across a TV program showing interviews by security guards of incoming people at airports. The show(s) were 30 minutes in length and the message at the end of each horrendous session was be careful entering Canada and abide by the rules. They were doing the same types of interview that you mention above. Pretty bazaar program.

I was hassled once coming into Calgary by a guard. He insisted I needed to be carrying the original diplomas I received in college 30 years ago (undergrad and masters) since I claimed I had a Masters in Business and undergrad in ME when he was questioning me about my visit plans. I said it is not something I would usually carry, and he has the option to pay my way back to Texas to get them if he won't allow me in the country. Never the less, he agreed to let me in.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:05 PM   #23
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When I worked for MegaMotors, I had to travel to Toronto for extended periods to launch new vehicles. The last few years became a bit of cat and mouse, as the Canadians didn't want me to be "working" there or carrying any parts. Of course, MegaMotors couldn't magically hire a Canadian with my specialized skills and knowledge nor could I waste time sending parts through the system when we were in an urgent mode.

So, I lied at lot and never got totally shaken down.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:25 PM   #24
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We have entered Canada several times over the years, and never had problems. It's absolutely no-no to bring firearms into Canada. And because booze is more expensive in Canada due to higher taxes, they tend to ask about that, but I think they pay more attention to repatriating Canadians sneaking booze back from the US.

About re-entering the US, I have faced a bit more questioning. In both cases where I drove my motorhome, they boarded the RV and looked inside the fridge. The rule about bringing back meat is fairly strict, so we cooked and ate all the meats prior to crossing. They also looked for fruits and veggies. In contrast, the Canadian border guards never searched our vehicles.

About anethum being hassled, I wonder if it was because of a mistaken identity. It's too bizarre.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:35 PM   #25
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Food, no problem?

We drive over to my sisters in Ontario all of the time with a car load of groceries and a couple cases of beer. They ask "do you have any alcoholic beverages" (yes, 2 cases of beer), "do you have anything that you will be leaving in Canada" (no, since we'll either eat it, or bring it back with us), "ok, have a great time".
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:36 PM   #26
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I just realized we broke some serious laws going to/from Canada. We smuggled in 4 bottles of wine I think (for 2 adults to deal with 3 kids). And then brought back some frozen steaks in the cooler. I can't recall if they asked me about either substance at the crossing, but I'm sure I told the truth if asked. Maybe they said "do you have anything to declare" and I said "no".

Luckily I left the AK at home, so sounds like I dodged a bullet there.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:39 PM   #27
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We used to have a team of consultants come down to Raleigh NC from Toronto. I wonder if they were violating our immigration laws since they were "working" while here. I didn't realize it was that strict.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:43 PM   #28
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We used to have a team of consultants come down to Raleigh NC from Toronto. I wonder if they were violating our immigration laws since they were "working" while here. I didn't realize it was that strict.
They probably had H1-B visas.

Canadians in U.S.A. - Working in the U.S.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:44 PM   #29
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They probably had H1-B visas.

Canadians in U.S.A. - Working in the U.S.
The guy flew down for an afternoon meeting and didn't even stay the night I don't think. He has clients mostly in Canada but I think he also consulted some in Europe and S. Africa (toll road industry).

Would that require an H1B? I never thought about that requiring an H1B. We may have had an illegal immigrant on our payroll... Maybe we can get his $250/hr rate refunded.

I'm more familiar with long term salaried workers getting H1B's to work for a year or two in the US. That's pretty common in the tech, engineering, and pharma industries around here (cheaper workers that work longer hours due to fear of deportation).
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:11 PM   #30
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The time that I was interrogated at the border in the 1970s is amusing in retrospect. I had gotten a shared ride from California to Vancouver. There were 4 of us in a decrepit van which broke down twice in Oregon. None of us knew one another. All of us were American. The van owner intended to drive to Alaska for the summer. (I'd be shocked if the van made it.) By the time we got to the Canadian border, 2 of the other 3 passengers had consumed all of their illegal drugs. One of them was returning to B.C. where he was living illegally in the Gulf Islands. When we reach the border, the agents, in their wisdom, decided they wanted to interrogate me but not the other 3 passengers. I was taken to a room where the polite agent asked me a bunch of questions. The questions all concerned me, not the other passengers. I answered all of her questions but didn't volunteer any information about the others. When she told me I was free to go and could re-join my friends, I made sure she understood that the others weren't my friends. When I got back in the van with them and we drove away, I found out that they had been scared to death about what I might say to the Canadian authorities.

The van broke down a 3rd time when we were a few blocks from where I was going to be dropped off in Vancouver. I got out and walked.
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:14 PM   #31
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They won't let you bring your own firewood either. Yep, someone we know tried that....
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:24 PM   #32
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They won't let you bring your own firewood either. Yep, someone we know tried that....
There's bug transport potential in fire wood.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:03 PM   #33
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I'm in Winnipeg so if you need Manitoba specific info let me know (though from a Canadian perspective). I think the border procedures are adequately covered already.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:17 PM   #34
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I traveled to Canada over 30 times in the last 40 years. A few business trips to Montreal, Moncton, Toronto, Quebec and Edmonton and the rest were driving trips to Montreal to visit DW extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles). I only had one incident where my luggage was searched in Edmonton for 10 minutes or so and I was asked a few questions by an extremely polite officer.

My brother on the other hand was returning from Montreal with his girlfriend once and the US customs agents in Vermont detained them for over an hour and thoroughly searched every inch of his car only to apologize later and send them on their way.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:19 PM   #35
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There's bug transport potential in fire wood.
Of course! I don't know why anyone would thnk to bring it. But some RVers.....
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:31 PM   #36
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No pepper spray either. If you go camping and a bear knocks on your door, just yell.
Pepper spray clearly marked for defense against bears is allowed. We carried it into Canada this summer, identifying it at the border both ways with no issues.
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:52 AM   #37
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I traveled to Canada over 30 times in the last 40 years. A few business trips to Montreal, Moncton, Toronto, Quebec and Edmonton and the rest were driving trips to Montreal to visit DW extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles). I only had one incident where my luggage was searched in Edmonton for 10 minutes or so and I was asked a few questions by an extremely polite officer.

My brother on the other hand was returning from Montreal with his girlfriend once and the US customs agents in Vermont detained them for over an hour and thoroughly searched every inch of his car only to apologize later and send them on their way.
So true. I live within 35 miles of the border but rarely go to Canada anymore because I hate returning through US customs. Ever since 911, these orifices think they have a right to be thuggish to anyone and everyone.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:00 AM   #38
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So true. I live within 35 miles of the border but rarely go to Canada anymore because I hate returning through US customs. Ever since 911, these orifices think they have a right to be thuggish to anyone and everyone.
You're assessment agrees with my sister and BIL. They each go across the bridge several times a week (from Canada to the US and back home to Canada). They know every one of the agents, but the agents pretend not to know them, and act thuggish. Weird that you see the same guy twice a week for 20 years, and you're not allowed to say "Hey Bill, how are the wife and kids?"
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:14 AM   #39
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You're assessment agrees with my sister and BIL. They each go across the bridge several times a week (from Canada to the US and back home to Canada). They know every one of the agents, but the agents pretend not to know them, and act thuggish. Weird that you see the same guy twice a week for 20 years, and you're not allowed to say "Hey Bill, how are the wife and kids?"
The only time I've seen some friendliness in a US customs agent is back in 2004 upon returning from Montreal he asked where I lived in MA then cracked a smile and said "Home of the Superbowl champs". He apparently was a big Patriots fan.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:15 AM   #40
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You're assessment agrees with my sister and BIL. They each go across the bridge several times a week (from Canada to the US and back home to Canada). They know every one of the agents, but the agents pretend not to know them, and act thuggish. Weird that you see the same guy twice a week for 20 years, and you're not allowed to say "Hey Bill, how are the wife and kids?"
I'm sure it is what they are trained (ordered?) to do.

The minute you start building relationships/friendships....that's when you set yourself up for possible collusion, etc.

This can be very problematic, depending on the type of work.

I've heard that UPS drivers are constantly rotated thru different routes, simply so they cannot get into "cahoots" with the customers, for example.

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