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Author Topic: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?  (Read 5321 times)

49er

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Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« on: Feb 22 07 11:30 »
 [H1]Going to Canada? Check your past[/H1] [H2]Visitors with minor criminal records turned back at border[/H2] [P class=byline][A href="mailto:cnevius@sfchronicle.com"]C.W. NEVIUS[/A]

 [P class=date]Friday, February 23, 2007

[SPAN id=articlebody] There was a time not long ago when a trip across the border from the United States to Canada was accomplished with a wink and a wave of a driver's license. Those days are over.  Take the case of 55-year-old Lake Tahoe resident Greg Felsch. Stopped at the border in Vancouver this month at the start of a planned five-day ski trip, he was sent back to the United States because of a DUI conviction seven years ago. Not that he had any idea what was going on when he was told at customs: "Your next stop is immigration.''  Felsch was ushered into a room. "There must have been 75 people in line," he says. "We were there for three hours. One woman was in tears. A guy was sent back for having a medical marijuana card. I felt like a felon with an ankle bracelet.''  Or ask the well-to-do East Bay couple who flew to British Columbia this month for an eight-day ski vacation at the famed Whistler Chateau, where rooms run to $500 a night. They'd made the trip many times, but were surprised at the border to be told that the husband would have to report to "secondary'' immigration.  There, in a room he estimates was filled with 60 other concerned travelers, he was told he was "a person who was inadmissible to Canada.'' The problem? A conviction for marijuana possession.  In 1975.  Welcome to the new world of border security. Unsuspecting Americans are turning up at the Canadian border expecting clear sailing, only to find that their past -- sometimes their distant past -- is suddenly an issue.  While Canada officially has barred travelers convicted of criminal offenses for years, attorneys say post-9/11 information-gathering, combined with a sweeping agreement between Canada and the United States to share data, has resulted in a spike in phone calls from concerned travelers.  They are shocked to hear that the sins of their youth might keep them out of Canada. But what they don't know is that this is just the beginning. Soon other nations will be able to look into your past when you want to travel there.  "It's completely ridiculous,'' said Chris Cannon, an attorney representing the East Bay couple, who asked that their names not be used because they don't want their kids to know about the pot rap. "It's a disaster. I mean, who didn't smoke pot in the '70s?''  We're about to find out. And don't think you are in the clear if you never inhaled. Ever get nabbed for a DUI? How about shoplifting? Turn around. You aren't getting in.  "From the time that you turn 18, everything is in the system,'' says Lucy Perillo, whose Canada Border Crossing Service in Winnipeg, Manitoba, helps Americans get into the country.  Canadian attorney David Lesperance, an expert on customs and immigration, says he had a client who was involved in a fraternity prank 20 years ago. He was on a scavenger hunt, and the assignment was to steal something from a Piggly Wiggly supermarket. He got caught, paid a small fine and was ordered to sweep the police station parking lot.  He thought it was all forgotten. And it was, until he tried to cross the border.  The official word from the Canadian Border Services Agency is that this is nothing more than business as usual. Spokesman Derek Mellon gets a little huffy when asked why the border has become so strict.  "I think it is important to understand that you are entering another country,'' Mellon says. "You are not crossing the street.''  OK, but something changed here, didn't it?  "People say, 'I've been going to Canada for 20 years and never had a problem,' '' Lesperance says. "It's classic. I say, 'Well, you've been getting away with it for 20 years.' ''  A prior record has always made it difficult to cross the border. What you probably didn't know was that, as the Canadian Consulate's Web site says, "Driving while under the influence of alcohol is regarded as an extremely serious offense in Canada.''  So it isn't as if rules have stiffened. But what has changed is the way the information is gathered. In the wake of 9/11, Canada and the United States formed a partnership that has dramatically increased what Lesperance calls "the data mining'' system at the border.  The Smart Border Action Plan, as it is known, combines Canadian intelligence with extensive U.S. Homeland Security information. The partnership began in 2002, but it wasn't until recently that the system was refined.  "They can call up anything that your state trooper in Iowa can,'' Lesperance says. "As Canadians and Americans have begun cooperating, all those indiscretions from the '60s are going to come back and haunt us.''  Now, there's a scary thought. But the irony of the East Bay couple's situation is inescapable. Since their rowdy days in the '70s, they have created and sold a publishing company, purchased extensive real estate holdings and own a $3 million getaway home in Lake Tahoe.  "We've done pretty well since those days,'' she says. "But what I wonder is how many other people might be affected.''  The Canadian Border Services Agency says its statistics don't show an increase in the number of travelers turned back. But Cannon says that's because the "data mining'' has just begun to pick up momentum.  "It is too new to say,'' he says. "Put it this way. I am one lawyer in San Francisco, and I've had four of these cases in the last two years, two since January. And remember, a lot of people don't want to talk about it (because of embarrassment).''  Asked if there were more cases, attorney Lesperance was emphatic.  "Oh, yeah,'' he says. "Just the number of calls I get has gone up. If we factor in the greater ability to discover these cases, it is just mathematically logical that we are going to see more.''  The lesson, the attorneys say, is that if you must travel to Canada, you should apply for "a Minister's Approval of Rehabilitation" to wipe the record clear.  Oh, and by the way, if you don't need to travel to Canada, don't think you won't need to clear your record. Lesperance says it is just a matter of time before agreements are signed with governments in destinations like Japan, Indonesia and Europe.  "This,'' Lesperance says, "is just the edge of the wedge.''  Who would have thought a single, crazy night in college would follow you around the world?
 
Rules for getting  into Canada  For more information on offenses that prohibit entry to Canada, go to the Canadian Consulate's Web site at [A href="http://geo.international.gc.ca/can-am/seattle/visas/inadmissible-en.asp"]geo.international.gc.ca/can-am/seattle/visas/inadmissible-en.asp[/A].  For more information on visiting Canada, go to [A href="http://cic.gc.ca/"]cic.gc.ca[/A]. [/SPAN] [P id=url]http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/02/23/NEVIUS.TMP

 [P id=pageno]This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Russ

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 22 07 11:48 »
LOL, I have to laugh at this. You know that its worse for us to get into the US for YEARS right? we are starting to match your laws at the request of your homeland security
Mercy to the Guilty is Torture to the Victims

tenkani

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 23 07 12:03 »
LOL.
Say goodbye to your tourist dollars Canada.
What a clusterf*ck     :)

One more reason not to consider immigrating I'm afraid to say.
 
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And I will dwell in the house of coffee forever.

Russ

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #3 on: Feb 23 07 12:07 »
Too true Tenkani, theres lots less tourism already due to the confusion on both sides of the border.

  It will cut back on tourism, as well as cross border shopping, which places like bellingham and white rock like.

    I have a passport and travel alot so its not that bad for me.. but I know of alot of friends that vacation within canada now. I am sure its the same for many where you are.
Mercy to the Guilty is Torture to the Victims

Devil

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #4 on: Feb 23 07 05:29 »
That is too funny. I agree with Russ, that story is joke! Is it from a Mad magazine? The States have made it pretty difficult for Canadians to come down.

Do what many Canadians are doing, go to Europe or the Carribean instead!  


Devil

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #5 on: Feb 23 07 07:27 »
I guess my last post didn't come out right? I was being sarcastic about going to Europe, a great place to go, but maybe not for a weekend getaway.

The USA is a beautiful place to visit. Convenient too for day trips and generally friendly.

On the plus side, kids under 17 won't have to get a passport to go across by land after 2009.

My favorite thing about the USA, cheaper clothing and food!!

P.C.

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #6 on: Feb 23 07 09:05 »
 My favorite thing about the USA, cheaper clothing and food!!

  .......and selection.  I'm always amazed at the choices there.  What's regular stock there is often considered 'special order' here.....complete with the extra fees to order it.  [/DIV]
Sir Isaac Newton invented the swinging door....for the convenience of his cat.

Lise

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #7 on: Feb 23 07 10:08 »
Hey, the Yanks are far worst. They can turn you away based on your religious belief!
Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.
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Sportsdude

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #8 on: Feb 23 07 10:15 »
I'm sorry you had to deal with that Lise. I know its a sad fact of the country.  
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Lil Me

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #9 on: Feb 23 07 10:16 »
 or place of birth.
 
 My friend was born in Iran, but he's a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport.  Always goes through Secondary Screening and is often held up for hours in US Customs.  totally sucks.
   
"In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it."  Robert Heinlein

Sportsdude

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #10 on: Feb 23 07 10:19 »
Yup, my friend has been racially profiled before.  
"We can't stop here. This is bat country."

49er

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #11 on: Feb 23 07 02:43 »
Try turning away this American at the border after he had plumped down $$$ for a hotel reservation..

         [H1]Tourist Kills Mugger With Bare Hands[/H1] [P class=byline]By MARIANELA JIMENEZ, Associate Press Writer

 [P class=date]Friday, February 23, 2007

[SPAN id=articlebody] (02-23) 13:42 PST SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) --   An American tourist who watched as a U.S. military veteran in his 70s used his bare hands to kill an armed assailant in Costa Rica said she thought the attempted robbery was a joke until the masked attacker held a gun to her head.

  "I thought it was a skit. But then he pointed the gun at my head and grabbed me by the throat and I thought I was going to die," Clova Adams, 54, told The Associated Press by telephone Friday from the Carnival Liberty cruise ship.

  The assault occurred during a ship stopover Wednesday in Limon, 80 miles east of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital.

  Adams was with 12 American tourists who hired a driver to explore Costa Rica for a few hours. They were climbing out of the van to visit a Caribbean beach when three masked men ran toward them, she said. One held a gun to her head, while the other two pulled out knives.

  Suddenly, one of the tourists, a U.S. military veteran trained in self defense, jumped out of the van and put the gunman in a headlock, according to Limon police chief Luis Hernandez.

  Hernandez said the American, whom he refused to identify, struggled with the robber, breaking his collarbone and eventually killing him. Police identified the dead man as Warner Segura, 20. The other two assailants fled.

  Afterward, the tourists drove Segura to a hospital, where he was declared dead. Sergio Lopez, a Red Cross auxiliary, examined Segura's body and said he died from asphyxiation.

  Lopez also treated Adams for a panic attack.

  "She was very nervous after the assault, but she had not been physically hurt," Lopez said.

  The U.S. Embassy confirmed the account, but refused to release the name of the American who defended the group, citing his right to privacy.

  Costa Rican officials interviewed the Americans, and said they wouldn't charge the U.S. tourist with any crime because he acted in self defense.

  "They were in their right to defend themselves after being held up," Hernandez said. He said Segura had previous charges against him for assaults.

  The cruise ship delayed its departure until the group boarded the ship, The Carnival Liberty, which was set to return Sunday to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

  Adams spoke freely with the AP until a man who identified himself as her fiancee said they didn't want to talk to the media. He said the group might release a joint statement later and hung up the telephone.

  Officials on the ship refused to pass an AP reporter on to other members of the tourist group, and another attempt to reach Adams' room failed.

  Costa Rica has struggled with growing violence and crime in recent years. University of Kansas student Shannon Martin, 23, was stabbed to death in 2001 after she left a nightclub in Golfito, 105 miles south of San Jose.

  Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed in a statement that one of the ship's guests had killed the Costa Rican assailant, but refused to name those involved.

  "All of the guests involved, who had booked the cruise together as a group, have opted to continue with their vacation plans. Carnival is providing full support and assistance to the guests," the statement said.

  ___

  Associated Press writer Ioan Grillo contributed to this report from Mexico City.

[/SPAN]

tenkani

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #12 on: Feb 23 07 03:02 »
America, f*ck yeah?
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of Juan Valdez
Thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of coffee forever.

Lise

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #13 on: Feb 23 07 03:56 »
Uhm.... so what is Sir 49er trying to say?

  Costa Rica is one dangerous place to visit. A pity because I've heard so much good stuff (along with the equally negative stuff) associated with this place.
Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.
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Devil

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Re: Hey Canada! When Did You Get so Picky?
« Reply #14 on: Feb 23 07 07:14 »
Times have changed,
our kids are getting worse
They won't obey their parents they just wan't to fart and curse

Mrs. Marsh: Should we blame the government? Ms. Cartman: Or blame society?

 Or should
we blame the images on TV?


No,blame Canada, blame Canada
With all thier beedy little eyes have packed thier heads so full of lies, blame Canada, blame Canada,
we need to form a full assault its canadas fault

Don't blame me for my son Stan he saw the darn cartoon and now hes of to join the klan

 And my boy Eric once had my picture on his shelf but now when I see him he tells me to f*ck myself

 Well? Blame Canada, blame Canada, it seems that everythings gone wrong since Canada came along, blame
Canada, blame Canada
They're not even a real country
anyway

My son could have been a doctor or a lawyer rich and true instead he burned up like a piggy on a barbeque
 Should we blame the matches? Should we blame the fire?
Or the doctors who allowed
him to expire

Heck no, blame Canada, blame Canada, with all their hockey hollabaloo

 And that bitch Ann Murray too Everyone: Blame Canada, shame on Canada, for the smut we must stuff the
trash we must stash the laughter and f*ck must all be undone we must blame them the cause of fuss before
somebody thinks of blaming us


~South Park

 

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