runway23
Posts: 1914
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:12 am

Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:49 am

So it appears, that in my mind Ottawa has the worst Canadian immigration officers. I have gone through 5 times in the past 6 months and been put three times in secondary. Have gone through Montreal 3 times without any problems (although I do know somebody who got deported from there).

It seems that everytime I end up resisting too much to the questions they ask as I believe they infringe my privacy. Note that I don't have anything against them going through my suitcase, and as much as I hate it they do go through my laptop in the hope that in the two weeks since they checked it some child porn has made its way on my pc.

Here is a dialogue from yesterday:

Me -Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.
Customs Lady - Oh yes? Only Ottawa? well we are a small airport so we can go through a lot more people. Besides when you travel to the US, UK/Europe, etc... they will have also gone through your laptop and belongings. We do our job here, and do not sit in the back room drinking coffee all day like other countries.
Me - Actually, I only go through this type of stuff in Ottawa. US Immigration treat me with respect and do not ask me more than two questions. As for Europe, I european country even when having lived there for 15 years. So please, your rights extend to Canadian law and not to what other countries should or do not do, as far as I am concerned they are a lot friendlier.
Customs Lady - Let's see your laptop. How many pictures do you have on it? What folder do you keep them in?
Me - Look at the pictures folder. However, I have pretty much 15k photos, however feel free to go through every single picture.
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.
Her - Oh uh let's see where are you coming from.
Me - I go on to tell her what I did in the past week before getting there.
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.
Me - To be honest, I don't believe that is any of your business. I will let you go through my baggage and computer as the law provides you to do so and help you in protecting the nations borders.
Her - I am treating you with respect and I expect you to do so in return. I don't tell you what you can and cannot do in your job.
Me - I thought you said I am not allowed to fly as I am a student. I really believe that you profiling me is quite insulting.
Her - Profiling is if you are of a certain race or gender. I am simply doing my job.
Me - That is not the traditional definition of profiling. However, I will am not trying to debate this with you as I appreciate you have other people to look after (nobody else was there).
Her - Ok have a nice day sir.
Me - thank you and see you next week again.

I don't believe I treated her unfairly and certainly didn't impede her in her job. And to be honest, the previous time I went through another person was on a table next to me and got treated with no respect at all. For example, arriving at 11PM (-20C outside) the other gentleman wanted to call his wife to let her know he was in secondary. 3 immigration officers started to scream at him and one even took out a gun to threaten him to end his (30 second call). After that, all officers were screaming at him for not following their instructions.

One of the main differences I see with Canada and the US is that most immigration officers here are in their early 20's/30's and believe that they have been given a God-like power to treat anyone the way they want to. The US officers tend to me more aged (and likely to be more experienced) and that really shows. I find them a lot more open and willing to listen than the Canadians who don't listen to your story.

Anybody have any similar experiences?
 
LOT767-300ER
Posts: 8526
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:57 am

Ive never heard of/or personally have been through any kind of immigration that lasted for maybe more than 1 minute. Ive certainly never had anyone boot my laptop and check what I have on it...I didnt even know they can/do do that?

Strange...
 
Newark777
Posts: 8284
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 6:23 am

RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:59 am

I've heard of other stories like this with our frigid neighbors up north.

http://blog.wired.com/sex/2007/03/airport_securit.html
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
csavel
Posts: 1265
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:00 am

The US officers tend to me more aged (and likely to be more experienced) and that really shows. I find them a lot more open and willing to listen than the Canadians who don't listen to your story.

Depends on the place. Customs and immigration in every country have almost God-like power and they can have a chip on their shoulder. The US, especially after 9-11 has an especially infamous, um, "Soviet" reputation. Because I am a US-ian, I have been lucky at airports and have only been treated with respect and a nod, *but* land borders (my wife used to live in Burlington, VT) are another story. I don't know if they truck up the meanest ones on the Mexican border to frigid VT as punishment, but I've had two encounters that was right out of "In the heat of the night." One was *before* 9-11. So the fact that Ottawa isn't YYZ, YVR,or even YUL might mean they get either the ones who have an attitude and therefore cause a lot of complaints at busy airports or are being broken in.

My 2 cents.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
runway23
Posts: 1914
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:12 am

RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:03 am



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
Ive never heard of/or personally have been through any kind of immigration that lasted for maybe more than 1 minute. Ive certainly never had anyone boot my laptop and check what I have on it...I didnt even know they can/do do that?

Canadian customs put quite a few people through secondary. Generally around 5-10% based on my personal experience. It can be quite higher in Ottawa though as it is a small airport.

Unfortunately, the Canadian government are allowed to ask you to open up your laptop (and they do everytime I go there). In fact, she just checked my laptop and none of my bags (kind of surprising I found).

I believe the Australians do the same (i think there was a case with an MH pilot being caught there) and that the US CBP were starting to do the same although the US law remains fuzzy in their rights to do so.

As far as I am concerned, all of this really brings too much power in the hands of an immigration officer who can look through your pc, ask you questions which may or may not be appropriate and treat people the way they feel like.

I'm actually considering writing in to CBSA/ASFC and complaining about the treatment I receive. My only worry is if I do so I will probably be black listed forever and definately through secondary every single time I go through the Canadian border.
 
ZBBYLW
Posts: 1612
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:16 am

Never cleared customs in YOW. However I always find YVR border guards to be very difficult and also find it very difficult to understand how a student can afford to travel as much as I do (as seen by passport stamps). When I was clearing customs in YHZ once I had a bit of an issue, was sent to secondary and they did a swab test on my stuff. Turned up positive with drugs. They questioned me pretty intensely from then on out, I guess because the way I was dressed (non-rev) the expensive stuff I had on me (including my Trumpet) my bags etc.... 10 minutes later they did a re-swab and it came back negative and said sorry for keeping me, I was free to go.
Keep the shinny side up!
 
NeilYYZ
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:46 am



Quoting Newark777 (Reply 2):
I've heard of other stories like this with our frigid neighbors up north.

We're envious of you guys packing heat. Seriously, I lived with a Canadian Custom's Agent who worked at the Ambassador Bridge (between Windsor and Detroit) on the Canadian side obviously and she thought she was Rambo in disguise. A nice enough girl in the end, I understand they have a hard job, but some of them are quite the pain in the arse. I've had more problems with Canadian border agent's, whose country I am a citizen of than American ones.
It may be too early to drink scotch... But it is NEVER too early to think about it...
 
misbeehavin
Posts: 607
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:18 am

Of all countries I've been to, Canadian immigration has got to be the worst when it comes to reasons why you're visiting the country. Most of all when you state you're there for work - and they immediately rattle of a list of questions, because they're seemingly afraid that foreigners are going to steal work away from Canadians. I mean I'm making a day trip, to talk to a client. What damage could I possibly be doing?

A long time ago, out travel department sent out a notice instructing everyone travelling to Canada on business to state simply that we were there for a "meeting" as opposed to "work".

I love the country and the people - but can the immigration officials loosen up a bit, please?
 
PanHAM
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:18 am

Canada is one of my favorite countries, but indeed the only two problems I had with immigratikon officers were in Canada.

The first one was at YMX in the seventies. The officer insisted on adressing me in French. I said, je ne parle Francais, speak English please, but he kept on asking his questions in French. That funny game went along until I told him - in English - that from now on I waill speak German only. He then called his supervisor and the matter was finished in one minute.

The other occasion was when I drove from Seattle to Vancouver. Long before they catched that terrorist there, in the late 80s, but they Canadians really tore me apart. Funny thing, the very friendly US officer warned me before of his Canadian collegues.
powered by Eierlikör
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:38 am

i've never had a problem coming back to canada.

and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

Fact of the matter is you never hear about the times when you breeze through with barely a whisper. I mean, just look at the immigration hall in YYZ. there are like 20+ kiosks, and i can't honestly remember seeing people get taken away for secondary. I'm sure there was, but the vast vast majority walked right downstairs to baggage claim.
 
UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:26 am

My laptop shall be running Linux when I come to see you this WE. We'll have fun when they attempt to find the search function  Smile

UTA  checkeredflag 
Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
 
swiftski
Posts: 1837
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:53 am



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
I don't believe I treated her unfairly

If your transcript is accurate, then I believe you indeed did treat her unfairly.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
certainly didn't impede her in her job

Again, I disagree. I have been to Canada only once and I was asked a couple of previously unasked questions however you need to remember that when you go through the border, Canadian citizen or "alien" the officials boss, bosses boss, bosses bosses boss, etc (potentially all the way up to the top) has the right to ask them "So what was going on with that guy? Where has he come from? What is he doing here?". If he/she hasn't asked the questions, how can he/she possibly be doing his/her job properly?

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
And to be honest, the previous time I went through another person was on a table next to me and got treated with no respect at all. For example, arriving at 11PM (-20C outside) the other gentleman wanted to call his wife to let her know he was in secondary. 3 immigration officers started to scream at him and one even took out a gun to threaten him to end his (30 second call). After that, all officers were screaming at him for not following their instructions.

Again, you seem to be missing the point. Rules are rules. If you are not allowed to make calls through security (generally, you aren't) then you don't make calls. If you break the rule you can expect to be reprimanded.

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

I'm getting the same vibe; so ditto to your comment.


A couple of personal examples; I checked in at SYD yesterday and was in the Upper Class line (Flying Club Gold). I travelled however in Economy. How frustrated was I when the employee spoke down to me and said I "Had no right to wait in the UC line whilst other economy passengers waited in their longer line". I wanted to tell her how long it had taken me to earn FC Gold and how loyal I was to the airline; how she was out of line, etc. Easier, and more appropriate however was to say what I did, i.e. "Sorry; should've shown you this" [showed card]. This was followed by a genuine looking apology and a bit of a red face. My angry comments would however have done no favors. Sure, she could have asked me if I was FC Gold, or asked if I knew I was in the UC line, or even looked at my booking on screen a bit closer, to see my status.

I was stopped by police a couple of weeks ago in London, on Regent Street at midnight-ish. I had been walking, alone. They said "we have a suspect matching your description - can you explain where you have been?". This annoyed me, as I am medium build, average looks and average height. A vague description indeed. Nevertheless, far easier than making this point was to show an ID, explain my nights activities, and proceed on home in peace.

As annoying as it is, they are not out to get you. They are out to get the bad guys. I have a very short fuse and can promise you I get as aggravated by things as anyone, but there's aggravation, and justified aggravation, and from what you have written, you have the former, this time around.
 
runway23
Posts: 1914
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:12 am

RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:16 am



Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
Fact of the matter is you never hear about the times when you breeze through with barely a whisper. I mean, just look at the immigration hall in YYZ. there are like 20+ kiosks, and i can't honestly remember seeing people get taken away for secondary. I'm sure there was, but the vast vast majority walked right downstairs to baggage claim.

I don't know how YYZ works. But i suppose it is similar to YOW.

I'm not talking about secondary immigration, I'm a Canadian citizen therefore nothing to do with going into a room like that for an interview.

What I am however addressing is after having picked up baggage being sent through to have a supplemental baggage check (or secondary). I'd be surprised nobody in YYZ gets put through it as everyone I know who lives in my building who i have talked about this type of stuff to have been through secondary at one point or another.

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

I was not being a smart ass. There is a fine line between what an officer needs to know and what is my own personal business. I have a right to some degree of privacy whilst they have a right to search my baggage. They don't have the right to pass on judgements whether or not I should be traveling or being able to afford a trip. She snapped at me (re child pornography) and I did the same back when she told me "no student has money or time to travel". It happens that I had both just like 25k other students in the city had a week off. The flights were full with students coming back from spring break, so I'd assume some do have money.

Note that I would have been inclined to answer her questions if she had had a tone which was more friendly and not a downright bitch saying what was right/wrong according to her (not the country).
 
MattRB
Posts: 1358
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:29 am



Quoting Runway23 (Reply 12):
I was not being a smart ass.



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.

Try again.

You were. If your transcript is accurate, you were incredibly confrontational during the whole deal and treated the agent with contempt.
Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.
 
scrubbsywg
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:58 am

so you get pulled aside after you give the customs people your little card thing that immigration writes on?

How do you act towards the immigration official? how much stuff do you declare? do you bring booze/cigarettes across? etc etc.?

Sorry, but the vibe you put out is just one of being an asshole, and chances are that is why you get your secondary screening. I have never had that happen to me in when entering Canada. If you follow your transcript, you do put out an accusatory tone.

Quote:
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.

Here she asks a question, and you apparently think she is alleging you have child porn. Do you see how you change the tone of the conversation from a simple question and answer and you become defensive? Why can't she ask a question like that? All you have to do is answer 'no'. What is the difference between a customs official asking 'is there child porn on this computer' and a cop asking you 'are there any drugs in this car?' Sure, the child porn one is direct, but its blunt and to the point. and if they find some on there they have you for lying as well.

You also did this again later :

Quote:
I thought you said I am not allowed to fly as I am a student. I really believe that you profiling me is quite insulting.

She ASKS you how you afford travel as a student. YOU turn this around and somehow think she means 'i am not allowed to fly as i am a student.' Why couldn't you just answer 'i work hard, and its reading week, so i saved up for a trip'.

Also, since you go on about profiling... in the above exchange, you say 'Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC?' and then you go on to talk about how they ARE profiling you about being a broke student. So do you want them to profile you and know you aren't a pedophile, but also be super politically correct to not wonder how you have the means to travel?

I'm sorry, but your whole 'conversation' above sounds incredibly like you were being a smartass. But, your fate was sealed before you opened your mouth as they pulled you aside anyways, which has to do with what immigration writes on your declaration card. Are you a nervous person? Maybe you put out a vibe that causes them to be suspicious of you? Did you ever do something that would cause them to flag you? Believe it or not, there are young adults out there that try and make money by smuggling drugs into this country. Secondary baggage screening is just one way to try and stop the flow.
 
don81603
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:33 pm



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
I didnt even know they can/do do that?

A customs/immigration office can inspect anything you bring across the border. If they so desire, they can disassemble your laptop, and any other mechanical or electronic device to a pile of parts for any reason whatsoever. And contrary to popular belief, they are NOT obligated to reassemble it, either. Considering some of your comments (if true), I'm amazed you weren't hauled off and subjected to a body cavity search

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.

Another wise guy comment that could easily have gotten you strip searched. Whether you appreciate the comments or not, she is just doing her job. From your statements in the allegded exchange, you sound like a smart assed teenager with a chip on his shoulder.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.

She's spot on here. Many people who have been caught with their pants down, so to speak have been those we assumed were fairly normal, including celebrities, law enforcement officers, pilots, and countless others. So the chances of Joe Blow from I don't know aren't outside the realm of possibility.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 12):
I was not being a smart ass. There is a fine line between what an officer needs to know and what is my own personal business.

At Customs and Immigration checkpoints, you have VERY limited rights. They can refuse you entry for any reason under the sun I personally know people who have been refused for absolutely no understandable reason. This person had a spotless criminal record, and all documentation required for the trip. USCBP just didn't like the colour of his hair, I guess. And during an inspection, rights you have under any countries consitution are iffy at best. I don't have the specifics on hand at the moment, but I'll try and dig them up today, there was a truck driver at (I think) the Fort Erie crossing who was denied use of a washroom while undergoing questioning and cargo vehicle inspection. I believe his lawsuit against Canada Customs was dismissed, even though he did end up wetting himself. Bottom line is, while standing at immigration awaiting entry, you are naked in regards to your rights. Customs and Immigration is the one place where you are legally considered guilty until proven innocent.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
ac888yow
Posts: 393
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:26 pm



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
So it appears, that in my mind Ottawa has the worst Canadian immigration officers.

There is probably some truth to the fact that on the whole the airport is quieter and thus they can check more people. However, I am a local who has been through Ottawa customs dozens of times and not once have I had any issue or been put into secondary. Not once.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
It seems that everytime I end up resisting too much to the questions they ask as I believe they infringe my privacy.

And there I suspect lies the problem. "Resisting too much" = acting like a smartass = secondary line. You deserve it.

In the future be polite, answer the questions they ask, and then watch with amazement as you walk on through without any trouble.
 
Fiatstilojtd
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:53 pm



Quoting Swiftski (Reply 11):
I have a very short fuse

Thats probably why you work with/for Apple Big grin.

Maybe the customs/immigration officers are reading/lurking in here and are pissed of by all the rhaaing comments from the Rhaat aka Runway23.  Wink

Personally I have been through many customs/immigration borders worldwide. I always treat(ed) them with respect even when they pissed me off like the one TSA Guy in BOS back in Oct. 2002. I think I could have only made the situation worse, miss my connection flight to ATL etc.
 
ACFA
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:08 pm



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.

I once went to a Canada Customs office in my FA uniform to register a laptop I was bringing on my trip. The Customs officer asked me "How can you afford a laptop like that on your salary?". I said nothing.  sarcastic 
 
AirCop
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:25 pm



Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):
and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

Considering how you behaved, I think you're lucky that you're still not in customs, will that attitude you're just asking for them to tear everything apart, give you a strip search,etc. I've read on this bulletin board that customs in PDX coming from Asia can be a bear also.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC?

Could you tell me what a person would look like if they have child pornography on their computer? Is it tattoo on their forehead?
 
ronglimeng
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:18 pm

Brothers and sisters:

My text this morning comes from the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us"
 
LOT767-300ER
Posts: 8526
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:19 pm



Quoting Don81603 (Reply 15):
A customs/immigration office can inspect anything you bring across the border. If they so desire, they can disassemble your laptop, and any other mechanical or electronic device to a pile of parts for any reason whatsoever. And contrary to popular belief, they are NOT obligated to reassemble it, either. Considering some of your comments (if true), I'm amazed you weren't hauled off and subjected to a body cavity search

Sorry but what comments are you talking about? I didnt say squat.
 
LH423
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:33 pm

I, personally, have never had any problems on my countless trips through YOW. I've discovered the best of both worlds is to be a US citizen and a resident of Canada. Whether I'm passing through to the US or Canada, I usually get one question "How long will you be/were you in Canada?" When I explain that I'm a student, I get asked if I have any tobacco or alcohol. When I say no, I'm on my way. I don't think I've spent more than 25 seconds in an immigration booth for the US or Canada in YOW, YYZ or YUL.

I did have a friend visiting Ottawa once get asked if he had child porn on his computer. He said that was the first time that had ever happened to him and he's travelled to close to more than 50 countries.

That said, to the OP, some of your answers seemed unnecessarily confrontational. I'm not going to pass judgement because I wasn't there and I don't know what the officer's tone was like. I do know that for whatever reason, Ottawa is sort of a start-out point for CBSA agents. They're all young and thorough because that's what they were trained for. Older officers had different training and, over the years, have learnt how to better look out for suspicious people.

That said, while there are limits to how abusive the agent can be in his/her questioning you usually do yourself no favours by giving back attitude. Remember, they're the ones with the power. They're the ones who can flag you every time you enter Canada if they so choose.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:48 pm

Couple times in ORD coming back from Poland the Immigration officer was confessing to me how much he missed his grandmas Pierogis hehe.
 
Arrow
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:51 pm



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Customs Lady - Let's see your laptop. How many pictures do you have on it? What folder do you keep them in?
Me - Look at the pictures folder. However, I have pretty much 15k photos, however feel free to go through every single picture.
Her - (She doesn't go into my folder I tell her and sticks with Mypictures which has 20 pictures at most). Sir, (do you [gets lost]) have any child pornography on your PC?
Me - Do I look like I have that type of crap on my PC? I really don't appreciate those allegations.
Her - What do I know, law abiding citizens and criminals don't have signs on their foreheads.
Her - Oh uh let's see where are you coming from.
Me - I go on to tell her what I did in the past week before getting there.
Her - That is suspicious, how do you pay your travel as a student? Students do not have any money.
Me - To be honest, I don't believe that is any of your business. I will let you go through my baggage and computer as the law provides you to do so and help you in protecting the nations borders.

If that's an accurate transcript, I'd say you are lucky they didn't detain you longer. If you are going to be a smartass, you are going to get hassled. They have no way of knowing -- just by looking you over -- that you are an innocent traveller. I'm guessing that they eventually decided you were just a smartass, and concluded that a real crook probably wouldn't act like a smartass.

My modus operandi when going through customs in any country is to be as polite and cooperative as possible, regardless of how invasive the questioning might be. They all have tremendous power and they will use it if they are suspicious of you in any way. They can cause you some real grief, and hold you in detention for a long time before finally letting you go. And that's true of ALL customs agents -- not just Canadians.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
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alberchico
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:52 pm



Quoting MattRB (Reply 13):
If your transcript is accurate, you were incredibly confrontational during the whole deal and treated the agent with contempt.



Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 14):
Sorry, but the vibe you put out is just one of being an asshole

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

One rule about talking to cops or immigration officials is to always be polite and just answer the questions that are asked of you, not give smartass remarks or get defensive....

Quoting MattRB (Reply 13):
Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.

See. You started the conversation off with a smartass remark
 tapedshut   tapedshut   tapedshut 
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PacNWjet
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:59 pm

One of my colleagues was at one time a Canadian immigrations officer. This was quite awhile ago, probably twenty years, long before 9-11. Indeed, he tells me that he and his fellow immigration officials delighted in tormenting people at random. He also said they regularly confiscated pornography that would have been legal in the United States or in any of the democratic countries of Europe. And, yes, they kept the pornographic materials in the office instead of destroying them. He insists he is telling the truth. I might add that his ancestry is from the Indian subcontinent but that he freely engaged in what amounts to racial profiling as most people would define it.
 
slider
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:21 pm



Quoting Alberchico (Reply 25):
You started the conversation off with a smartass remark

Yes he did, and that's what snowballed the conversation....I'm surprised they didn't give you more crap the way you acted. The perception was that of a petulant child, really. JMO.



I've never had any problems with Canadian immigration officers. In fact, last month in YVR, I think the girl was rather flirty. At least more than professionally courteous. Love Canada.  Wink
 
don81603
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:29 pm



Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 21):
Sorry but what comments are you talking about? I didnt say squat

My appologizes, I was refering to Runway23's comments.
 ziplip 
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
skyservice_330
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:43 pm

I have never had any over the top troubles with Canadian immigration officials. Everytime I have had to deal with them they have either been pleasant to deal with or stand-offish (not rude, just guarded and trying to do their job). Bottom line: they control the border, they are our first line of defense, and they have the power. I have nothing to hide so if they want to tear apart my suitcase, go through my laptop, ask me random questions or make me do the hokey pokey, I don't really care. Granted it would be a pain, but I would rather them be over cautious then not cautious enough and allow something or someone dangerous into the country. At the end of it, just smile, be polite, answer their questions, and don't do anything to provoke them or give them a reason to bother you or haul your into secondary. They are doing their job.
 
ACDC8
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:38 am

I agree with most of the responses in this thread, best thing to do is just answer the questions and be on your merry way. However, this one ...

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 14):
She ASKS you how you afford travel as a student. YOU turn this around and somehow think she means 'i am not allowed to fly as i am a student.' Why couldn't you just answer 'i work hard, and its reading week, so i saved up for a trip'.

... goes over the line for me. Honestly, it's none of their business. However, if it were me, I'd just tell them that I can afford to travel, simple as that.

Personally, I've flown into Canada countless times and have only gone through passport control, answered 2 or 3 questions (if any), grabbed my bags and off to my cnx flight. Only once have I had to go through a luggage check and that was back when they changed the tobacco duty allowances for Canadian residents. We used to be able to bring back 200 cigarettes duty free, however it changed to 0 back in 2001, even though the immigration card wasn't changed at the time, it still stated the 200 allowance.

I've never gone through YOW, only YYC, YYZ and YVR. I'll be going through YUL next week from FRA, but I've always found Quebecers to be quite friendly, so I'm not expecting any difficulties.
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IFEMaster
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:47 am



Quoting Runway23 (Reply 12):
I would have been inclined to answer her questions if she had had a tone which was more friendly

Starting a conversation with...

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
Hello madam. It is a pleasure to see I am in secondary once again in Ottawa.

...is likely to be the catalyst for any "tone" you receive in reply.

When dealing with customs and immigration, you'd do well to just shut up, don't say anything unless asked a question, and answer only the question. Sarcastic comments and combative responses will only garner the same and delay your transit through the sterile area.
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N1120A
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:12 am

In my experience, Canadian customs/immigration agents have been the most difficult to deal with. Well, that is other than the time I was blatantly racially profiled on an outbound from Heathrow. Then again, it was really only one annoying experience and my issue arose more with the agent's attitude than the actual secondary questioning.

Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):
So it appears, that in my mind Ottawa has the worst Canadian immigration officers.

I haven't dealt with customs in Ottawa, but I definately got a thorough immigration secondary at the road crossing from I-89 to QR-133 in Phillipsburg, PQ.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 8):
That funny game went along until I told him - in English - that from now on I waill speak German only.

Now that is a good one.

Quoting ScrubbsYWG (Reply 9):

and what point is there in being a smartass to the customs/immigration officials?

I don't think the OP was necessarily being a smart ass, particularly after the first line.

Quoting Don81603 (Reply 15):

At Customs and Immigration checkpoints, you have VERY limited rights

If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the country, that is true. If you are, particularly if you are a citizen, you are significantly more protected.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
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yowza
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:23 am



Quoting Runway23 (Thread starter):

Anybody have any similar experiences?

The only time I ever got a secondary screening by Canadian customs was in Ottawa. That said I don't think it was worth chirping at her. Nothing you say or do during the course of a secondary inspection is going to change the fact that you are there. Just be polite and concise and get on with it. I know it can be a pain in the ass but the reality is that there is nothing you can do.

Quoting LOT767-300ER (Reply 1):
ersonally have been through any kind of immigration that lasted for maybe more than 1 minute

Then I will assume you're not brown and t have a Christian name.  Wink


YOWza
 
AF340
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:25 am

The only time I've been taken aside for Secondary screening was at YYZ by US Immigration. They were very straight and to the point. No conversations only saying that a similar name was on the no-fly list. The were, however, very professional.


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CanadianNorth
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:58 am



Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 5):
However I always find YVR border guards to be very difficult

I've been through YVR customs several times, and I have to say each time it was basically a case of hand in the sheet, show the passport, answer a few basic questions, grab my bag and off I go. Went through a few times at YYZ and same thing: if I don't count the lineups and waiting for the bags to come out, the process probably took an average of about three whole minutes...


CanadianNorth
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YVRLTN
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:50 am



Quoting Arrow (Reply 24):
If that's an accurate transcript, I'd say you are lucky they didn't detain you longer. If you are going to be a smartass, you are going to get hassled. They have no way of knowing -- just by looking you over -- that you are an innocent traveller. I'm guessing that they eventually decided you were just a smartass, and concluded that a real crook probably wouldn't act like a smartass.

My modus operandi when going through customs in any country is to be as polite and cooperative as possible, regardless of how invasive the questioning might be. They all have tremendous power and they will use it if they are suspicious of you in any way. They can cause you some real grief, and hold you in detention for a long time before finally letting you go. And that's true of ALL customs agents -- not just Canadians.

 checkmark Im on a work permit, so I always get a ton of questions. But I have nothing to hide, so theres no harm in an honest answer, thats all they are looking for - they are trained to ask questions that will maybe unearth something they want to know about. I think they can generally tell if you are being honest or not. And yes, Canada is bad, but is better than some African countries I have been to and all of my experiences transitting through the US.

When I got my first work permit, I drove from YVR to the Canadian Consulate in SEA to get the authorization (and I got total HELL from the US immigration officer southbound, who threw my passport across his office and made some fictional phone call to some superior about some joker of an English guy) but when I got to immigration at the border northbound to have my work permit printed, the female officer was fantastic, she joked about my passport picture, welcomed me to Canada and chatted about some cool things she liked about YVR.

However, in YYZ a fews years back I returned for xmas holidays to stay with a girl I met on vaction 2 months earlier and i was interrogated why I was coming back 'on vacation' just two months later. They went through all my xmas presents - ripped the wrapping paper open!! - and bitched about a bottle of Scotch I didnt declare on my card. I said I was not carrying more alcohol than the limit stated, so no need to declare it. I booked with AA from LHR via BOS, but my onward connection to YYZ was cancelled, so I took an additional flight via LGA, so they questioned why I had been in 4 cities in one day. They finally let me go after 2 hours, full searches of my person and baggage and intense questioning and cross examination by three different officers in three different rooms.
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bhmbaglock
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:52 am



Quoting NeilYYZ (Reply 6):
I lived with a Canadian Custom's Agent who worked at the Ambassador Bridge (between Windsor and Detroit) on the Canadian side obviously and she thought she was Rambo in disguise.

This is the only place I've ever had trouble with immigration.

Quoting Misbeehavin (Reply 7):
I mean I'm making a day trip, to talk to a client. What damage could I possibly be doing?

That's how it started. The 6 hours or so it took for them to arrange a temporary work permit allowed them plenty of time to disassemble the vast majority of the interior of my vehicle. Luckily they were a bit intimidated by the seal on my reserve parachute and didn't make me dump it out on the ground. It was a fresh pack job and I would have been pretty pissed if I'd had to re-pack it.

Quoting Misbeehavin (Reply 7):
A long time ago, out travel department sent out a notice instructing everyone travelling to Canada on business to state simply that we were there for a "meeting" as opposed to "work".

I've been told it's even safer to simply tell them you're visiting a friend and give the name and number of the main contact at your customer. Of course, you should make sure they know their part of the story.
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don81603
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:47 am



Quoting N1120A (Reply 32):
If you are, particularly if you are a citizen, you are significantly more protected.

No, you have no more rights in your home country than tourists do. When you are standing at customs, be it in your own country, or any other country, you have practically no legal rights whatsoever, as you are not yet officially, and therefore legally in the country until you pass through customs and immigration checkpoint(s)
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:23 am

I never had a problem with any Canadian/US/other Customs agency before and as I keep my big mouth shut at Customs (however hard this can be) I don't think I will in the near future.

However if I ever encounter an agent on a powetrip, there shall be some fun to be had (I have a blue passport  Silly)

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runway23
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:07 am



Quoting Don81603 (Reply 38):
No, you have no more rights in your home country than tourists do. When you are standing at customs, be it in your own country, or any other country, you have practically no legal rights whatsoever, as you are not yet officially, and therefore legally in the country until you pass through customs and immigration checkpoint(s)

A country cannot refuse entry to its own citizens. Therefore you do have legally more rights in terms of immigration. In terms of customs, the rights vary (in terms of quantities and duties). In Canada, both customs and immigration are run by the same authority which makes it less clear what they search you for.

Left out was the fact that that officer attempted to speak to me in French for over a minute. One of the first rights in Canada is that an officer must reply to you in the language you address them in if they are bilingual (in YOW they all speak English, most French). Whether or not me having to talk to her in a language which she didn't master that well had anything to do with her getting slightly annoyed or me not understanding what she saying (and her subsequent tone) had anything to do with our less than curteous encounter.

I am going through the Canadian immigration next Tuesday. It is a simpler visit back to Canada which won't fall under the same terms as what did this week. I intend to speak to a manager/director and put through some of my rights to information if I see the customs inspection room again.

Quoting UTA_flyinghigh (Reply 39):
I never had a problem with any Canadian/US/other Customs agency before and as I keep my big mouth shut at Customs (however hard this can be) I don't think I will in the near future.

Canada is the first and only country I have trouble with. Bizarely, it is also one I hold citizenship from. The reasons for me going into secondary were left out (I won't explain this on a public forum) but certainly a reason for my annoyment as the same stuff was told to the US immigration officer (no reason for secondary there in fact I had a nice laugh with him as I do with most CBP officers) the day before who just sent me on my own way and wished me a good return to Canada.

Quoting UTA_flyinghigh (Reply 39):
(I have a blue passport )

That's funny we have done a lot of trips together and in all the years I have yet to see a blue passport. Unless, purple counts as blue for you.
 
JoshSixtySeven
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:15 am

I've been through YYZ customs many times, it always seems to be worse walking from the aircraft to the desk where you know what's coming. It never get's any easier.

Those of you that read my last trip report will have picked up on my customs guard when I went out back in December. He was generally rude, arrogant and questioned me for far too long, but, as has been said herein, if you aren't polite, concise and generally as courteous as they aren't, you'll have a nice, degrading secondary search.

It never ceases to amaze me how Canada does this to citizens of the common wealth, let alone Canadians themselves.

Take the UK for example,if you'er a UK citizen you land back at LHR after a nice snooze across the pond, wait in line for a few minutes, say "good morning" to a guard, present them with your passport and that's it. No questions, no interrogation.

I feel if the UK can do simplify the process to this extent, with our current level of paranoia/terror threat level then surely the Canadians can too.
Speed has never killed anyone, it's suddenly becoming stationary that gets you...
 
runway23
Posts: 1914
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:29 am



Quoting JoshSixtySeven (Reply 41):
Take the UK for example,if you'er a UK citizen you land back at LHR after a nice snooze across the pond, wait in line for a few minutes, say "good morning" to a guard, present them with your passport and that's it. No questions, no interrogation.

Absolutely. And even then, the UK does check a lot more than other countries. Yet I find the system is effective and have never received anything but good and polite service.

Take Switzerland who have strict immigration and customs in theory. The number of times arriving at GVA/ZRH where the immigration officer has not looked at my ID/passport is amazing. One bonjour/gruezi sufficed. That's doesn't make the country any less safe.

The problem with most country's immigration is that their thought process is not in line with that of a criminal. Look at how far the US-Canada border stretches, if somebody really wanted to bring in alcohol/drugs/etc... there is a large scope to bring stuff in. An airport is one of the last places to smuggle stuff through if you have half a brain. That said, with the high Canadian dollar shopping in the US is a lot less advantageous as it used to be and i'm fairly sure customs have excise targets to meet which is why more people will likely go through secondary in order to make up for the lost revenue there (but increased domestic spending).

I've long advocated that Canada and the US should share a common border system similar to schengen or UK/IE. Most of the immigration policies are close enough (Canada offers a stay of 6 months to most foreign citizens, US 3 months. No reason why Canada would not align themselves with the US). One border would also help in sharing information and being more effective in controlling people arriving in either country. One other aspect would be even easier trade between both countries. Right now is the ideal time to negotiate something like that seeing the growing importance of Canadian Oil and the US continual need for it. Likewise, if you gave bilateral-work permits i'm sure there wouldn't be that big of an exodus from one country to another as some may predict.
 
IFEMaster
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:09 pm



Quoting JoshSixtySeven (Reply 41):
Take the UK for example,if you'er a UK citizen you land back at LHR after a nice snooze across the pond, wait in line for a few minutes, say "good morning" to a guard, present them with your passport and that's it. No questions, no interrogation.

That's not strictly true. It may be true for passport control (although I had a lengthy Q&A session one time after flying to the States and back 4 times in 9 days several years ago), but not for customs. At customs, anyone, including British citizens, can be stopped and investigated.
Delivering Anecdotes of Dubious Relevance Since 1978
 
don81603
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:30 pm



Quoting Runway23 (Reply 40):
A country cannot refuse entry to its own citizens.

I never said they could, but until you have cleared customs, you have no more rights than a tourist. Even if you are a Canadian citizen but lack the documentation to prove it, they can still deport you back to your country of origin. The bottom line here is, don't be a smartass, don't get lippy, and just answer the questions politely.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 40):
I intend to speak to a manager/director and put through some of my rights to information if I see the customs inspection room again.



Start demanding rights at customs? I can see a REAL intense search coming. I had a student get cocky with a customs officer (who had a reputation for being a class 1 power tripper) in Sarnia back in 97 or 98. She asked him what he had to declare, and he said "None of your damned business". That was good for a 6 hour search and interrogation, and even though he was a Canadian citizen, he was almost sent back to the U.S. for lack of proof or citizenship, as all he had was a birth certificate.

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 42):
That said, with the high Canadian dollar shopping in the US is a lot less advantageous as it used to be

You're joking, right? With the dollar close to par, outshopping (as it was once called) is even more prevalent than ever, as the price difference is easier to calculate for the average consumer. Many Canadian businesses have had to adjust their prices to compete with US pricing, especially in the border cities. To make matters worse, fewer Americans are coming to Canada to shop due to the near par dollar, and American companies and businesses are buying fewer Canadian goods. There is no longer a big savings on the purchase price, and the costs of transportation and importation (taxes, duty, import licences, and brokerage fees) only add to the expense. As an example, the company I work for hauls Alberta beef across the border. 5 years ago, we had about 150 loads a day cross the border. With the higher dollar, that number is down to about 50 or 75. In that same time, meat loads from the US to Canada have risen from about 5 a day to over 100 from various plants across the midwest. Why? Simple. It's less expensive to buy the product in the US, pay the shipping, duty and all associated fees than to buy it here

Quoting Runway23 (Reply 42):
One border would also help in sharing information and being more effective in controlling people arriving in either country

The USCBP already has ready access to everything in your file. When I applied for my FAST card back in 2003, they knew about my being charged with Grand Theft Auto (the charges were dropped when I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt it couldn't have been me) in 1979. Now remember, I was only charged, never convicted, and they case never even went to court, and I was never arrested, as the issue was wrapped up within 5 hours of my being notified, but the charge and subsequent reasons for dismissal are still on file some place, and it came up during my USCBP interview.
If you had a record as a minor, and those records were sealed, customs might not be able to access the information, but they will see that the record was sealed, and question you at length about it. While fully within your rights to refuse to answer, they can still hold your legal refusal against you and if they so desire. It can become a catch 22 situation. We have a few in my industry as well. A good example is if we drive less than a 100 mile radius, we don't require a logbook. But how do you prove the distance you drive? The only way is with a logbook, so basically you have to run a logbook to prove you don't need a logbook.

Sorry, I got a bit off topic there, but the bottom line remains: The more you pull attitude with any law enforcement official, that harder your life gets. And there is no law prohibiting them from making your life a living hell. And there are other issues these delays could cause. Keep getting sent to secondary inspection, and you'll get flagged, and start dealing with more intense USCBP inspections. If you travel for work and get delayed at customs too often, your boss might consider it too risky to send you as you might get delayed and miss an important meeting. As you said you're a student, the delays could cause your grade to slump (missed classes due to immigration delays) and affect your education, and future employment prospects.

Like so many have said before, when dealing with customs, just answer their questions fully and truthfully, but keep your inflammatory comments and remarks to yourself, or one of these days, you'll really find out what a customs delay can be like.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 
LH423
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:19 pm



Quoting Runway23 (Reply 42):
That said, with the high Canadian dollar shopping in the US is a lot less advantageous as it used to be

Completely the opposite. Canadians are going across the border in DROVES to cash in on the deals to be had in the US. Consumer prices in the US have traditionally been lower than in Canada but with the Canadian dollar as recently as 2002 only worth about 60¢ US, those lower prices were eaten up by the exchange rate. Now with the US dollar at roughly par, those prices (which can be about 15-20% cheaper) are now much lower than the comparative prices in Canada.

If anything, you're seeing a spike in people going to secondary because they know that Canadians are shopping more than ever in the US and many might be trying to bring back more than their personal exemptions.

Quoting JoshSixtySeven (Reply 41):
It never ceases to amaze me how Canada does this to citizens of the common wealth, let alone Canadians themselves.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that Canada shares a border with the US. Canada used to be somewhat more lenient in terms of its immigration policies but after 9/11 the Americans wanted a more secure border and felt that the Canadians were too lax on who they let into Canada and that Canada was being used as a port of entry by terrorists wanting to get into the US, because, let's face it. Once you get west of Thunder Bay, there's a WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING and many of the border crossings aren't manned. They're just a phone booth that links directly to a call centre for the country you're entering. There's little that can be done to stop people. So, it was either the Canadians start clamping down or face longer line-ups heading into the US, which would have a negative effect on Canadian imports to the US.

So, it's nothing personal to the Commonwealth. But when you're so closely linked with your neighbour you have to make some changes. Oh, and the UK isn't that kind to foreigners coming in, at least in my experiences though not as bad as Canada or the US can be.

LH423
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ACDC8
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:34 pm



Quoting Don81603 (Reply 44):
The bottom line here is, don't be a smartass, don't get lippy, and just answer the questions politely.

Agreed, and I would do the same. But, not that I am saying that it was in RWY23's case, the immigrations/customs personal also have to play fair too. If they are asking inappropriate/irrelevant questions, being a smartass or as RWY23 suggested, on a power trip. I would definitely get their name and take the appropriate action after. I wouldn't bother asking for a supervisor at that time simply because they would probably behave the same.
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seb146
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:04 pm

I have been to Canada many times. Well, okay.... just YVR, but still, I have had to go through boarder crossings. I get more attitude coming back into the US than going into Canada. I have used three different crossings and have been pulled out a few times. I never thought it was a big deal. They are doing their job. My job is to be as transparent as possible.

Last June, we went to YVR for a few days and were pulled out at Peace Arch. I think we were pulled out at random. Other Americans ahead of us were let through. We handed over our information, they ran all checks, the dog sniffed around our car, we were given back our papers and told to enjoy our stay. Coming back, the radio said there was a 2 hour wait at Peace Arch going into the US, so we drove to Abbotsford. The American customs agent was not amused. He grilled us as to why we were there instead of Peace Arch if we were returning to PDX. He didn't call us over to be searched or anything, but he was rude.

The time before that, I took the bus to YVR. The only ID on me was my drivers licence, voter registration card and copy of the hospital birth record. The Canadian agent told me the hospital birth record was not a valid form of ID because it was not issued by a government agency. It is "just a pretty piece of paper." They let me in anyway. Coming back, that same trip, I had some cans of Bob the Builder canned spaghetti. The agent ran test on them to make sure there was no meat in them, put them back in my bag and told me to have a nice day.

As for the OP: lay off the agent. She was trying to do her job.
Life in the wall is a drag.
 
slider
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:36 pm



Quoting CanadianNorth (Reply 35):
I've been through YVR customs several times, and I have to say each time it was basically a case of hand in the sheet, show the passport, answer a few basic questions, grab my bag and off I go. Went through a few times at YYZ and same thing: if I don't count the lineups and waiting for the bags to come out, the process probably took an average of about three whole minutes...

Yeah, it's pretty laid back. Although the times I've been there the lines have been long due to other arrivals (mid evening). They are rather expeditious, however.
 
ronglimeng
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RE: Canadian Immigration Officers On Powertrips

Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:32 pm

Hi Runway 23:

I have been following your thread with interest for the last day or so. The consensus here seems to be that you didn't do yourself any favours with your attitude at YOW. However none of us were there to witness what happened, and even if we were, there might have been a range of opinions about what had transpired?

There were a couple of anecdotal references here supplied by others to some Canadian border personnel being jerks. I am typing this in sight of the Bluewater Bridge, connecting Sarnia Ontario to Port Huron Michigan, and I hate to think that I paid a civil servant over there for 6 hours just to hassle some kid who was obnoxious to her.

When we give people powers of search and interrogation in a democracy, they have to be accountable and reasonably consistent with their peers in how they treat the travelling public. I wonder if there is enough accountability in Canada? I notice that on the US side of the bridge there are advisory signs as you proceed up to the primary inspection kiosks, inviting you to report or discuss problems or issues you may have with the US Entry process. I don't think most Americans accept bad treatment by their government.

I hope you follow through with your intention to take this issue further. Feed back is always a good thing. Maybe they will decide that you were indeed the problem, but I think your enquiry will help me in the long term.

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