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Old 09-11-2017, 08:51 AM   #1
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Rough Canadian border crossing

I want to share our border crossing experience, hopefully others can learn from our unpleasant experience. My wife and I are full timers with a base in Florida. We planned a late summer 13 day visit to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This was our second trip in to Canada with the RV, so we were fairly ready for the crossing. We reviewed what food was allowed and what was limited along with keeping our amount of alcohol within limits. We carried no weapons and no recreational drugs. We arrived at the nearly deserted crossing with our passports and RV registration ready. Apparently the first rule I violated was not removing my sunglasses, I had thought about it but didn't before pulling up to the officer. This seemed to annoy her and things went way down hill from there. Second was not having the registration of our tow vehicle ready. Next was telling her we were full time and lived in the RV. A series of questions followed, most of which were asking about weapons. Did we own guns? How many? What type? Do you have a carry permit? Do you have any weapons in the RV? Where do you store the weapons? I responded truthfully to all of her questions. Yes we own both long guns and handguns, no I do not have a concealed carry permit. No we carry no weapons in our RV. The officer then made a reference to us being Americans so "You must be carrying a weapon". We knew this was going real bad real fast. After a few minutes on the phone she instructed us to pull into lane seven AND WAIT. So we did, and 15 min later 2 officers knocked on our door. We let them in and handed them our paperwork. First question was "Why didn't you come into the office?" I responded that the first woman had instructed us to wait in lane 7. The immediate response was "NO she didn't" ...Oh boy this was going really bad. They instructed us to open all slides and give them keys to all compartments. Then we were told to wait inside. For the next 1+45 hours both officers opened, disassembled and looked through EVERYTHING! They also searched our tow vehicle. When they were finished, they just handed us our keys and said we were free to go. They found nothing but they did damage a few items and also left numerous items in the middle of the coach for us to put away. I understand they have a job to do, BUT you don't have to treat people in an antagonistic, accusatory and provocative manner. My wife and I are retired from the Federal government and have traveled around the world. We know how to act in border / customs situations. We were very respectful and completely honest when answering questions. It seemed to us once they confirmed we were Americans traveling full-time in a motor home, we must be carrying weapons. The experience was horrible and scary. We won't be a big rush to return to Canada. On our reentry to the US, we discussed this with the US Border Agent. He told us that this summer alone, Canadian Border guards have caught 12 Americans in motor homes trying to bring (illegal) weapons into Canada.

Our advice, Have passports and vehicle paperwork ready. NO sunglasses and be ready to answer very probing questions. And do not try to bring weapons across the border unless you've completed the required paperwork!
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:03 AM   #2
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I also had a problem with the Canada border crossing a few years back and wouldn't you know it, it was a female boarder guard. She seemed to have a problem with me because I was in a big diesel truck with loud exhaust and wearing a business suit. Didn't add up to her. thanks for the heads up
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:11 AM   #3
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This is why I hate border crossings, airport security, and in general being required to deal with any other law enforcement agency. If you’re lucky enough to hit the one officer having a bad day or ticked off at his/her family they can make your day miserable too…and usually do.

Want to have a really bad day? Have something go wrong at security in a country where few if any speak English.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:12 AM   #4
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Be careful not to commit the most heinous of crimes. You will be made to pay the price.

The crime? Contempt of cop.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:12 AM   #5
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I'm in Canada and cross into the us all the time, I'm in a border town. Always take off your sunglasses. I'm sorry you had a bad time but it does go both ways. I was crossing into MI with my sister for a nascar race they pulled me over and I waited in a line for 3 hours for a 2min inspection of my vehicle. Which was totally clean of anything I shouldn't have!! Unfortunately it takes all kinds.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:15 AM   #6
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You never know... just a few months ago we made the border crossing at Detroit into Windsor, also a female agent (which should make no difference), but had no problems at all. We had all the paperwork ready, but only had to show our passports, answer a few questions, and we were on our way. No rhyme nor reason from one crossing to the next. But we had read some horror stories for both crossing into and out of Canada, and were expecting the worse. Just lucky maybe, at least this time.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:56 AM   #7
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SHE works in the Winter also! She could Not figure out why we would bring 4 Snowmobiles and just 3 people,guess she never rode a Snowmobile! They had a Bad track record back then! Anyhow we were told to go to "Lane 2" for a Very Long Search! They went through "Everything"! I know they have a Job to do,But NO reason to Be "NASTY/HATEFUL" while doing it! Youroo!!
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:05 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Oakman View Post
This is why I hate border crossings, airport security, and in general being required to deal with any other law enforcement agency. If you’re lucky enough to hit the one officer having a bad day or ticked off at his/her family they can make your day miserable too…and usually do.

Want to have a really bad day? Have something go wrong at security in a country where few if any speak English.
Airport Security You should have seen the look on their face when they told me to "Step over here,remove your Belt and turn your pants "Inside/Out" My shoes were already off so when I removed my belt and "Took Off my pants" they really started to Shout",What are you doing",my reply was "Exactly what you told me to do"! I didn't care I knew No one in the Airport,and NO cell Camers allowed either! Youroo!!
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:36 AM   #9
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I have been treated with total disrespect at the US crossing as a Canadian entering the USA. Damm near opened our slide into a post. I don't own guns, never end fired one and have clean record. They took our eggs(2) and celery and said have a fine day and welcome to America.

That was one time, been across many others and with no issues what so ever. Just the luck of the draw I guess. Perspective is the country you are not a resident of treats you badly. I have travelled the world and worked with Americans that hide their visible identity to appear as a Canadian or Canadien.

The key problems, sunglasses, that is common sense and mentioning Full Time resident, those two things are trigger points for any guard on either side. When you pull up they already know if you have weapons or other charges that would effect your entry like impaired driving for example.

If you mention you are friends with Youroo that will result with a full search .
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:42 AM   #10
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Did you have underwear on? Similar experience to yooroo, except only unzipped. (think it was the button on the jeans). Maybe my guy was unnerved by the ostomy............
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:12 AM   #11
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Well there are other alternatives as taking there badge number and name and send the complaint letter to the appropriate authorities along with a copy to your congress man. There is no reason for these folks to give you a hard time unless you did something wrong. I hav only crossed once never had a problem but I sure will not be going there any time soon. Later RJD
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:26 AM   #12
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I have never crossed a border(except states)...may not. I don't want to be a police officer...never have. People are ALL guilty of something.
I know how the employee pool can be so I understand how the "best available" can be. Many US companies(especially government) have so many rules, meetings and updates to do and and keep up with and try to comply to. I dunno as I am rambling. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but some people should not be working with the public.
Watching police shows on TV lets me know there are lots of thugs out there and you cannot be too careful.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:26 AM   #13
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On the south end, I've been to Mexico through the Lukeville station several times. Have never had a problem with Mexican Customs. US Customs? A freaking nightmare. Last time, pushed to secondary for carrying fruit that I had previously purchased in the US. People starving and begging 200 yards south, and they tossed the fruit in the bin. I even offered to hand-carry it back, US Customs, no way.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:31 AM   #14
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DW and i crossed without our camper last week. I both wear prescription sunglasses, so when the border guard asked me to remove my glasses, I asked if i could put my other clear glasses on. She was fine with that.

She asked me if I had any weapons, i informed her that I removed them. the only issue she had was when she looked in the bed of my truck, i had a piece of firewood that I sometime use as a cheap chock. She asked me to throw it away in a special dumpster.

overall our experience was good. Our agent wasn't friendly, but very businesslike. She was doing her job
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:59 AM   #15
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I always get a chuckle out of these cross the border threads. If you cross the border regularly you know the routine and even then it might be just that your number came up that day and you have to go through a search. The littlest things can trigger a red flag to the border agent. There might be a watch out for certain things that day. Maybe they're looking for someone and you fit the suspect's description. Who knows.

Don't get wound up if they aren't friendly. They have their techniques and look to see your response - verbal or body language. If they see something that suggests you're not being truthful, you'll get pulled over to secondary.

I cross the border about 2 or 3 times a year to pickup parcels that I've ordered on Amazon.com and have shipped to the border. Be respectful and polite. Always be truthful - everything matters. Do not try to joke with them. Take off your sunglasses. Have all your paperwork ready including purchases, tow vehicles and pets. Roll down the back windows if they have any tinting so the officer can see in the back.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:12 PM   #16
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Haha...sunglasses.

I crossed from Detroit to Windsor (pre 9/11) when wasting some time before getting on a plane back to home in Ohio. This was my first time trying to leave the country. When i got to the Canadian side, same deal, female officer and she immediately asked "Don't you have respect for authority?" I said while certainly i do, at which time she said to take my sun glasses off. I looked around at other lanes of traffic and just about all other drivers had their sun glasses on.

Long story short, they put me off to the side, tore through my rental car only to tell me i couldn't go into Canada (with no reasoning other than you just can't). Remind you, i've never had a single run in with the law...not even a parking ticket. At this point i didn't care as i needed to get to the airport. So back over the bridge i went to the american side (with sunglasses off).

Here's where i screwed up. The agent ask, what were you doing in canada...i said i never made it. Up goes the flag! So she asked me to explain it and i did...what did that get me...pull over to the side please. DOH! So off they went through the car again and in the office i went. After several rounds of questions of which i barely knew answers to, she said it "appears" your an american citizen. So i ask, why is this happening to me. She said when my name gets entered into the system it flags them for some reason unknown to her and therefor they must initiate the search and such.

Now here's the best part. As i am walking out, she goes, "well you know, now that i look at you more, you kind of do look like a terrorist" WTF!!! A 6'5" 250lb white guy with dark hair who's from Wisconsin looks like a terrorist?!

I had a few more similar issues with security points at airports after 9/11 but the incidents seemed to have tapered off. I've been out of the country (not to Canada) a few more times since then with no issues. I'd love to find someone on the inside who could give me more details to the reasoning i was flagged all those times!
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:26 PM   #17
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Taking off sunglasses is a given at any legal check point, they have to see your whole face!! I cross a lot since I'm in a border town and I can tell you there are lots of them that are rude, I'm not sure why but I answer their questions and stay polite because they can make your life miserable. On the other hand there is way more nice ones than grumpy ones, and I have experienced both. Ps most of them male.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:27 PM   #18
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I don't wear sunglasses(they give me a headache) so I guess I am safe if I ever cross....
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:28 PM   #19
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Well there are other alternatives as taking there badge number and name and send the complaint letter to the appropriate authorities along with a copy to your congress man. There is no reason for these folks to give you a hard time unless you did something wrong. I hav only crossed once never had a problem but I sure will not be going there any time soon. Later RJD
US Congressman has ZERO effect or authority on a Canadian Officer.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:52 PM   #20
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I have never crossed a border(except states)...may not. I don't want to be a police officer...never have. People are ALL guilty of something.
I know how the employee pool can be so I understand how the "best available" can be. Many US companies(especially government) have so many rules, meetings and updates to do and and keep up with and try to comply to. I dunno as I am rambling. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but some people should not be working with the public.
Watching police shows on TV lets me know there are lots of thugs out there and you cannot be too careful.
Watching Police shows on TV will give you a VERY warped image of law enforcement. In fact, watching the nightly news will do the same!
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