Since we're on the subject of our friendly neighbors to the north, I
was banned from Canada this weekend. Unique experience, really, being
banned from a foreign country, suddenly and without warning.
Especially when my mothers entire family is French Canadian. I guess
this means no more road trips for weddings and funerals.
My wife and I were on a bus trip from Burlington VT to the Chambly
Fest du Bier in Quebec with about 35 other people. We had driven to
Burlington from Boston the night before, and were really looking
forward to this. As the bus started north, the driver asked if we
were all US citizens and had ID, we all said yes (there was actually
one Canadian on the bus as well). When we got to the border, instead
of the usual happy Canadian officer coming on the bus and checking
IDs, we were all ordered off the bus and into the station. Our IDs
were checked one by one. Some people were asked their nationality,
occupation; I was asked <Maurice Chevalier> 'Ave you evair been
arrested? </Maurice Chevallier> Being the good citizen I am, I was
honest. "Yes." "Step ovair zere please" Then the Worlds Smallest
Canadian Woman started asking all the questions. I explained to her
that I was arrested 10 years ago for DUI, but never convicted; it was
continued without finding. I lost my license, paid a fine and court
costs, went to drunk school for three days, and was placed on
probation for 7 years, wherein I could not even have a BAC of .03 or I
would go straight to jail. At the end of the 7 years my record was
sealed, so, I have no criminal record.
DUI is a felony in Canada, she explained. Regardless of the fact that
it was 10 years ago, not committed in Canada, and I had been punished
for it and rehabilitated, she could not let me in, because Canada now
considers me a felon. My wife is thrilled to be married to someone so
dangerous. The officer then gave me the speech about how it is not a
right to be let into her country, but a privilege, and she did not
want to allow me that privilege. Unless I paid her $200 cash. No joke.
She said that for 200 American, she would give me a day pass into the
country. I guess a felons danger in Canada is equally proportionate
to his wallet size. The other folks started a collection for me, but
I refused. There was no way in hell I was going to give her the
satisfaction. If they don't want me in their country, I am certainly
not going to beg and bribe my way in! Goddamn moose jockeys!!
Fortunately, I wasn't alone. Another person on our bus used to live in
Kentucky, but left before having his car inspected. He ignored the
letters they sent him in Vermont, because he no longer lives in
Kentucky, or owns said car. He found out Saturday there's a warrant
out for him in Ky. I guess not having your car inspected is an even
bigger felony in Canada, because she didn't even offer him the $200
option. So he and his two friends (one the Canadian citizen) joined us
on our walk back to Vermont. One couple was fortunate enough to get on
this womans good side. A just-barely-20-something couple of hippies
and their baby were detained from our bus. Their crime? Baby
smuggling! You see, theres a *huge* black market in Canada for
American babies. Gotta increase the IQ of the general populace
somehow. They had no birth certificate for their 2 month old baby
(the nerve)and Ms. Gestapo practically had the mother in tears,
interrogating her, insulting her. It was pretty awful to watch. Then,
she gave them a lecture on the importance of carrying your
documentation with you at all times, and let them on the bus. Now I
know where all the unemployed Berlin border guards got new jobs.
So, I can now, if I decide I so desperately want to be able to enter
Canada a free man, and enjoy all the wonderful....Umm. Okay, someone
help me out. What is it again that Canada has, that I can't get in the
states? Besides a population who secretly wish they were Americans?
Oh, right. Nothing. So, If I decide I want to be able to enjoy Canada
again, I have to send them between $200 and $1000 (depending on my
crime) processing fee (it costs more to process the really bad ones
like uninspected car owners), all the paperwork relating to my crime
(there isn't any), and hope that they decide that I am rehabilitated.
Then, if that happens, I can apply for the right to visit again.
Screw that. Who are they to decide if I have been rehabilitated, when
they crime happened outside their country, outside their laws, a
decade ago?? They're not getting another cent from me. No more
tourism from my wife and I. Anything tagged Fabrique en Canada,
labeled with a maple leaf or smelling faintly of moose, stays on the
Buy American!! Jay.