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Canadian Border Tightens Due to Info Sharing 448

Posted by Zonk
from the helpful-tech-making-life-more-annoying dept.
blu3 b0y writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that new information sharing agreements have made it as easy for a Canadian border officer to know the full criminal records of US citizens as it is for their local police. As a result, Canadian officials are turning away American visitors for ancient minor convictions, including 30-year-old shoplifting and minor drug possession convictions. Officials claim it's always been illegal to enter Canada with such convictions without getting special dispensation, they just had no good way of knowing about them until recent security agreements allowed access. One attorney speculates it's not long before this information will be shared with other countries as well, causing immigration hassles worldwide."
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Canadian Border Tightens Due to Info Sharing

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  • WOW (Score:5, Funny)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768NO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:56AM (#18121468) Journal
    And people say the US is a police state. At least here people with 30-year-old shoplifting and minor drug possession convictions can aspire to become a senator!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by abscissa (136568)
      Or president, if, like Bush, you were born with a silver spoon.. in your nose.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Southpaw018 (793465) *
      A 30 year old minor drug conviction with a completely clean record since then, like the guy cited in the article, can be safely discounted. Senator or anything else, it's usually safe to say that the person in question has cleaned themselves up. Only in rare cases might that be untrue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by xtracto (837672)
      FTFS:
      causing immigration hassles worldwide."

      WOW I say, USA _*IS*_ far worst than Canada. My Grandmother went on vacation to USA around the 1970s, twenty years after that, an Aunt went on vacations and just when she was returning (at a USA airport) they detained her *and* interrogated her (with the typical 'yo-muthafucka' Yanki bad ass mood) about my Grandmother. According to *their* records my Grandmother was *still* in the USA, as an Illegal and they in some way found (how much information can the USA ga
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by yogurtforthesoul (1032362) on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:57AM (#18121476)
    I guess the border patrol will switch over to the string tied sweatpants.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:57AM (#18121482)
    So that means that Bush won't be traveling to Canada any time soon, due to his DUI conviction?
    • by MarkRose (820682) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:08AM (#18121574) Homepage
      British Columbia's Premier, Gordon Campbell, got a DUI while in Hawaii [cbc.ca]. Bush would fit right in.
    • by garcia (6573) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:13AM (#18121648) Homepage
      I crossed the border on a geocaching trip to Winnipeg [lazylightning.org] and we were stopped and held for an hour by the Canadian border agents. After we waited for them to stop standing around chatting and deal with us (which was 35 minutes of the hour we were there) they began to interview a group of three men that were waiting before us. The conversation with the border patrol agent went something like this:

      Agent: "Sir, according to our records obtained from the Minnesota State Patrol, you were stopped for DUI in April 2006. When you were asked if you had any prior incidents and you said, 'no' you lied. You are not to lie to a Border Patrol Agent at any time."

      Crosser: "I haven't been convicted yet."

      Agent: "I didn't ask if you were convicted."

      ---

      Agent: "Sir, according to our records you were convicted of lewd conduct and indecent exposure in March of 2006. When I asked you if you had any prior convictions and you said, 'no', you lied. You are not to lie to a Border Patrol Agent at any time."

      Crosser: "It was reduced to a lesser charge!"

      Agent: "I asked if you had any prior incidents."

      ---

      This went on for the next individual as well (I don't remember what he did wrong). After that they were released and permitted to go on to their next destination which was a wedding in Winnipeg. For us, they called us one by one into a back interview room and asked us a bunch of questions about our educational background and work history. I actually felt uncomfortable with some of the questions but answered them anyway.

      They checked our passports and birth certificates and while the previous group had convictions and lied and we didn't, we still had our car searched for another 30 minutes before being allowed to move along.

      So, even though Bush shouldn't be allowed into the country, these fools were. Bleh.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      The first time he came here he was more or less granted special dispensation. The media did (gleefully) note that it was technically illegal for him to enter the country.
  • Welcome to Canada! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xdroop (4039) on Friday February 23, 2007 @09:59AM (#18121494) Homepage Journal
    Hilarious that Americans are offended now that Canada is holding them to the same standard that American Boarder Services holds people wanting to enter the States. The difference is that even if you get an official Pardon in Canada -- Boarder Services doesn't recognize it! At least Americans have the potential to wipe the slate clean.

    Hah!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      At least Americans have the potential to wipe the slate clean
      Really? That does not include the no-fly-list [wired.com], does it?
      • Really? That does not include the no-fly-list, does it?

        He meant "wipe the slate clean" with Canada. Referring to their rehabilitation procedures. Which, reading about, sounds like I wouldn't bother with and just visit North Dakota instead -- but that's beside the point. Who am I kidding, everything you think is in ND is actually in South Dakota.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by beavis88 (25983)
      Border. It's a fucking "border". And I here I was thinking Americans had a monopoly on bad schools.
    • I am not offended. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Hey Canada has had these laws on the books for a long time it seems. Now they can enforce them because of better technology. Canada has the right to enforce it's laws and the right to change them.
      It doesn't bother me at all.
      Doesn't offend me at all.
    • ...the immigration/customs guy was rather obnoxious in wanting to know why I was in Canada and where I was going.

      It wasn't a big thing, but I also haven't been back. Rude border security has a direct deleterious effect on tourism dollars. Go figure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I agree about the tourism thing, but I've had many more rude border security agents from the States than from Canada. When I was living in Canada I got more grief entering the US (I'm a US citizen) than I did entering Canada (on a student visa).

        I would invariably get asked why I'm visiting the States and for how long. Why do I have to have a reason to go home? I could understand if they wanted to know what I was doing in Canada, but I can do anything I want for however long I want in the States. I always w
  • by djh101010 (656795) * on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:00AM (#18121500) Homepage Journal
    So...I suppose people now will get their undies in a bundle over this. Putting aside for a moment the tenuous at best "YRO" category for this - where's the surprise, what's the problem? If you want to go visit a foreign country, they get to decide who they let in and for what reasons. If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.
    • by Heian-794 (834234) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:13AM (#18121642) Homepage

      If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules.

      Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things. The 60-year-old who got caught driving drunk back in 1980 and has already repaid society for it can't undo what he once did. If a Canadian company wants to hire him, or Canadian relatives want him to visit, what can they do? Lobby the government to start being more lenient?

      This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed. They'll have to do this in order to be sure that their new employee doesn't get turned away at the border, but in the process the principle of being able to repay one's debts to society after a transgression will be even further eroded.

      Fifty years ago these incidents went into dusty file boxes in the back closet of city hall; now they're in every border agent's database and are impeding people's movement. Should our societies consider mitigating these previously-impossible long term effects by shortening prison terms and lowering fines? Politically, how can one argue that without being seen as soft on crime?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by (A)*(B)!0_- (888552)

        "Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things. The 60-year-old who got caught driving drunk back in 1980 and has already repaid society for it can't undo what he once did. If a Canadian company wants to hire him, or Canadian relatives want him to visit, what can they do? Lobby the government to start being more lenient?"

        Only because up until now, the knowledge the the DWI wasn't readily available to the

        • by Heian-794 (834234)

          It is short-sighted and foolish to only fight against a law/policy when it is enforced.

          Well, yes. But if you've been visiting Canada regularly up to now despite having stolen a bicycle (or whatever) in your youth, and have never been denied entry before, you and your Canadian friends (who would be doing the fighting) are probably not going to be aware of these laws and policies.

          Suddenly enforcing them now and claiming that they've been excessively lenient all those times in the past (and just not tell

        • by flink (18449)
          One of the key checks on government power has always been the expense of monitoring its citizens. The ubiquity of information technology has caused a precipitous drop in the cost of monitoring. Consequently, the balance of power is shifting away from citizens and towards the government. Maybe that's what everyone wants, but if it isn't, we should be looking at either restricting the government's use of technology to spy on citizens (stronger privacy laws), or reducing the penalties associated with minor
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Forseti (192792)

        Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things.

        Two arguments: One - No they legally couldn't. The laws were always there, they just had no way of being enforced. You're still not supposed to lie to immigration. Two - They can still get in now, they just have to contact the Canadian embassy ahead of time (like they always should have) and ask for dispensation. If the offense was relatively minor or took place long ago, I'm sure they'll get permission to at least visit the coun

      • by kjart (941720)

        Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government.Like the power to secure its own borders? I don't really think this is ceding anything, especially since we are talking about foreign nationals and not citizens of that nation.

        This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed. They'll have to do this in order to be sure that their new employee doesn't get tur

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:56AM (#18122214) Homepage

        "If you don't like it, well, don't do things to limit that option for yourself, or visit some other place. Their country, their rules."

        Such a statement cedes an awful lot of power to a national government. Remember, until now people could get into Canada even having done bad things.

        That is a power that our national government has always had, you're just operating under the belief that it wasn't so. Much like the US applies their rules on inbound people to everyone else -- hell, the US has extended it to their entire airspace. For that reason, myself and a lot of other Canadians (and people from around the globe) are choosing not to enter the US -- they might do more than just deny you entry; they might act on legal advice from Gonzales which says we can be arbitrarily detained without a lawyer on the whim of the immigration people. That whole Habeus Corpus thing.

        It has apparently been illegal for people with certain criminal convictions etc to enter the country for quite some time. They just haven't been able to track it. When Martha Stewart wanted to come to Canada she had to get a piece of paper from the government which gave her permission despite her criminal conviction. I believe 50 cent has had to do this before (or, was at least threatened with it, don't remember the specifics). They're just more high-profile and it was easier to identify.

        This is not some new, unchecked power of a 'national government' -- this is what has always been true -- individual nations (including neighbors) can choose who they choose to allow entry and who they deny it to. You don't have a constitutional right to enter Canada, and I don't have a Charter right to enter the US. It simply doesn't work that way.

        If anything, it is new US requirements for information sharing and security which is providing the Canadian agencies with enough information to bar entry. I'm sure this is also reciprocal, and there are probably more Canadians being turned away at the US border because of the exact same program. This is a side effect, not a primary event.

        This will ultimately lead to even more privacy-violating information sharing as potential employers demand to know about any minor misdemeanor a potential hire has ever committed.

        Again, don't blame Canada for that one. We're responding to US government demands that we provide that information, and the US has extended their laws so that information collected in Canada by American companies can be fed back to the US government -- against our privacy laws. This is happening all aroound us, and while I agree it sucks, we're not the ones driving this.

        Should our societies consider mitigating these previously-impossible long term effects by shortening prison terms and lowering fines? Politically, how can one argue that without being seen as soft on crime?

        You probably can't. The US stance on certain things is very rigid -- and, some of those policies are coming north. The US has had mandatory minimum sentencing for many crimes for quite a while, and there are noises being made about it up here in the Great White North. We try to fight such things, but, it often seems futile since the US just steam-rolls over everyone involved anyway.

        Don't naively believe that we're abusing our power to decide who we allow to enter our country. The American politicians are probably still saying we don't do enough to keep people out of our country.

        Cheers
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darby (84953)

          Again, don't blame Canada for that one. We're responding to US government demands that we provide that information,


          Don't respond to it or you *are* to blame. What kind of a idiotic argument is that?!?

          and the US has extended their laws so that information collected in Canada by American companies can be fed back to the US government -- against our privacy laws. This is happening all around us, and while I agree it sucks, we're not the ones driving this.

          So don't break your own fucking laws or you are to blam
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)


        Unfortunately, I think we have already passed the tipping point.

        From the news I see and hear, and the conversations I have with other people, it looks like the concept of "paying your debt to society" has been relegated to history. Even otherwise intelligent people I talk to seem to have come to the opinion that once you commit a crime, any crime, you should have to be responsible for that act for the rest of your life. We have somehow come to the point that no matter what punishment you endure, you wi
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        This isn't even a uniquely Canadian law. Most countries have such regulations. Canada's not allowed to be lax on our border control anymore though, because if we are the US will start calling us a terrorist haven again.

        American customs agents like to hassle people about things as silly as their occupation or education. I have a friend who was almost turned away because she was a social worker... the agent thought she was going to the US to try and find a job. Why would a social worker want to leave Cana
  • by FredDC (1048502) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:00AM (#18121504)
    Well, it seems like US citizens are getting a taste of their own medicin...

    The US has been doing the same to many foreign visitors for years, while traffic in the other direction has always been quite open.

    The US doesn't allow people who have committed minor offences as well, except with special clearance (and I don't think getting one is easy, not sure about this but it would seem only logical that the US would make this hard). Now some countries are deciding to do apply this rule as well, seems only fair...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pimpimpim (811140)
      Indeed. A lot of scientists for example were hindered by the US immigration service, e.g. by getting their visum for a congress only after the congress is already past. I had the impression that the US immigration got a little better the past few years. In the end, strict admission rules comes to shooting yourself in the foot. You'll need foreigners, be it for low-paid or extremely high-paid jobs, and not allowing new talent into your country is only bad for yourself.

      Also, Canada will get a lot less touri

      • (vsa, ptp. fem. of vsere to look into, see to)

        It comes by way of French from the Latin carta visa, an ablative absolute meaning "the card having been read, ...".

        Visum is a "vision", and unrelated etymologically.

        The form visa itself is one way of making a feminine noun out of the verb visere, in the same way amata means "beloved (female)". Its plural would be visae in the Nom and visas in the Acc.

        On that basis, I do not believe your use of visum is justified.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:18AM (#18121714)

      Well, it seems like US citizens are getting a taste of their own medicin...

      It does sound like payback to me. Not that the US doesn't deserve it, especially with our jackass of a president, but Canada might be cutting off their nose to spite their face. Denying 50- and 60-something baby-boomers tourist entry into Canada because they toked up 30 or 40 years ago is not a good idea economically.

      This quote is cute:

      "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.' ''

      IOW, they've been "getting away" with spending tourist dollars for 20 years without interference. I doubt that Canadian hotelliers, restauranteurs and merchants had any moral qualms to selling rooms, meals and souvenirs to Americans "criminals" during that time.

      This has much more general implications. If things go as the article says, and international tourists from all over the world are turned away from their foreign destinations, you can bet that industries that cater to this business will get the laws changed in their favor and relax restrictions on jaywalkers.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        I'm sure we'll back off after we've hassled a few people (if the US lets us). We take our tourist dollars VERY seriously. Apparently it only takes a few people to turn elections in the US though.

        Now, I don't see the US backing off their border restrictions anytime soon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alioth (221270)
      The US is actually worse - merely being *arrested* for a drugs offence means you no longer are elegible for the visa waiver program. That is to say - the Police pick you up on suspicion of having marijuana, and it was just a case of mistaken identity, and they release you 30 minutes later with no charge after realising their mistake - you are now permanently banned from using the visa waiver program to enter the US and have to apply (via the mindnumbingly bureaucratic process) for a nonimmigrant visa. Even
  • hmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xjmrufinix (1022551) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:01AM (#18121516)
    So if you were convicted for dodging the Vietnam draft by going to Canada, which the Canadian government allowed, would you be banned from returning now?
    • There was a general pardon for draft dodgers some years ago. It's not automatic, you do have to apply, but I hear it's pretty easy to get.
  • Online? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by jimstapleton (999106)
    Slashdot really needs a "Your rights Offline" section... I've seen so many that really aren't online. Like this one.
  • Info sharing of criminal records amongst boarder officials = Good
    Getting denied entry because of a single life mistake you made 30 years ago when you were young, foolish and smoking too much pot = Bad

    Mr. Obvious says: There should be some International agreed upon time limits as to how far back "relatively minor" crime convictions can go before you are denied entry. Better yet, have a scale. I.e. If you were a Nazi leader 40 years ago... yes you are still fucked. If you killed someone by accident while drin
    • by MarkRose (820682)
      Better yet, have a scale. I.e. ... If you killed someone by accident while drinking & driving... 20 years.

      Pardoned for manslaughter? Fuck that! That's exactly the kind of criminal we don't need in Canada.
    • by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:21AM (#18121746)
      FYI, I'm a Immmigration Officer with CBSA. That said, this message is my personal opinion and I do not represent the government. This scale currently exists [see Immigration Refugee Act, A36(1)(b) and A36(2)(b)]. If the crime you committed is equivalent to an indictable Canadian offence (ie not a misdemeanor), then you're inadmissable but its not impossible to get entry. Permits and pardons will allow you into the country. If you commit an offence which would give more than 10 years in prison (ie manslaughter, theft over $5000, etc), then you're inadmissible and its damn hard to get a permit into the country. That is, unless you're a celebrity. Bloody government. Also, if the offence was more than 10 years ago, you didn't commit any OTHER offences, and the offence was the first category, its as if the offence never existed. This article is bullshit media talking, what the hell do they know? Marijuanna possession isn't even an indictable offence in Canada unless its more than 22g. If anything, the guy was inadmissible for the DUI from seven years ago. (recall the 10 year rule, and he has at least two offences). I don't know anything else about this guy except from the article, but our laws are pretty misrepresented in the article.
      • Ok, I have a dwai (under 1.0) in 1989 and a criminal mischief to a police car in 1984 (Long story but in Ft. Collins, CO. I kicked a window out after I was being held in the car for witnessing a cop beat up another student and objecting). The first incidence was a case of keep nose clean for a year, do not attempt to contact media, do not testify (turned out the other person did not file charges, so...) and it is off the record. Am I allowed in?
        • by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday February 23, 2007 @11:31AM (#18122764)
          Do NOT take any action on this advice. An officer obviously can't make a judgement on a persons inadmissibility except when they're seeking entry. Different officers might equate offences differently because there is a little grey area. This might give you a general idea however. If you're planning on coming to Canada, contact the nearest Canadian Consulate. Fax, write, or go in person since they rarely answer the phone.

          It depends on wether you were convicted, had deferred adjudication, etc. You'll have to look this up on the court records, since most people don't know offhand.

          Assuming you were convicted, the DWAI on its own is an indictable offence. It has been more than ten years, and normally you'd be fine. However, that mischief offence could screw you over. If you were convicted of it, you've been convicted of "two or more offences not arising out of a single occurance". So, you're inadmissible under the A36(2)(b), which is the lesser section.

          See "A36(2) A foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of criminality for (b) having been convicted outside Canada of an offence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament, or of two offences not arising out of a single occurrence that, if committed in Canada, would constitute offences under an Act of Parliament;"
          http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowDoc/cs/I-2.5/bo-g a:s_7::bo-ga:l_1//en?page=3&isPrinting=false#codes e:36 [justice.gc.ca]

          To come to Canada, you'd need a waiver of rehabilitation. Its a piece of paper that says the offence is no longer an issue and you're not dangerous, and you can come to Canada as often as you want. A Canadian consulate, and some ports of entry can give you one of these. Alternatively, you could get a temporary resident permit, which is the same thing but is only good for one trip. They cost the same, so the first one is usually smarter to get.
    • by houghi (78078)
      If you did your time, it should not be anything. If you didn't do your time, you should be arrested and handed over to the autorities.

      No in betweens. Either you did your time or you didn't. This includes mass murderers as well as chocolate bar thieves.

      Otherwise you need to lock up all people who ever did anything wrong.
  • Tit for Tat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cdneng2 (695646) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:07AM (#18121568)

    This article isn't about Canada being a police state.

    It was the US that wanted Canadians to have passports to enter the US. Canada implemented the same requirement for Americans entering Canada.

    It was the US that wanted the sharing of criminal records for Canadians travelling into the United States, so Canada implemented the same thing for all Americans visiting Canada.

    It was the US that instituted the tightened security measures, Canada just followed suit.

    Canadians are already being screened this way entering the US, why are Americans upset when Canada starts doing the same thing?

    • by rocjoe71 (545053)
      It's not precisely "tit-for-tat" since these measures were agreed upon by both sides.

      IIRC, the news coverage about these decisions said the point was to have the same rules on both sides of the border to reduce the confusion about when/how to apply the rules.

    • by eln (21727)
      I just think it's sad. After 9-11, the solution to border security that I heard the most about was to create a "security zone" around all of the US and Canada, where both countries would agree to certain standards in securing their borders from outside threats, but there would still be relatively free movement between the two countries. Now it's all about trying to lock down and secure a border between two nations that were and should be extremely close, and trying to defend what was once the longest unde
      • Re:Tit for Tat (Score:5, Insightful)

        by i_should_be_working (720372) on Friday February 23, 2007 @11:55AM (#18123184)
        I suspect that the "security zone" around US and Canada didn't happen because (from an admittedly Canadian point of view) the US became unreasonable about what security meant. We don't want to turn away everyone that the US does. And there have been several deportation and prison incidents on behalf of the states that have soured the situation further.

        For instance, right now there's 9 year old Canadian child being held in jail in Texas. His crime? His parents are Iranian. They were on their way to Canada and were planning on staying there as political refugess from Iran (the parents are not presently Canadian, but were living there illegally a few years ago). On their way to Canada, on a flight that was not supposed to even touch down in America, the plane landed in Texas because a passenger had a heart attack. Somehow security focuses on this family (surprise, surprise) and they get held. Now, they wouldn't have just been let in freely in Canada, but they wouldn't be in jail either. Especially not a child (he's Canadian anyway). They would be allowed to apply and go through the procedure of claiming refugee status as everyone else does. So I just don't think the two countries can agree on who should be let in, and I'd place the blame on incidents like this which the US has committed. Afterall, we haven't locked up any 9 year old American children.
  • by canuck57 (662392) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:09AM (#18121586)

    As a frequent traveler I applied for a Canadian passport last October and I haven't gotten it yet... WTF

    The worlds two biggest partners with the longest unprotected border have politicians that can't get along. We citizens should kick them both, but Ottawa needs a double kick.

    Why not let US border patrol have access to Canadian DMV records and the other way around? Why do we need passports at all? So the terrorists can steal and forge them? Canadian DMV records are some of the best in the world.

    North American computers have the info, they know all about anyone who has been here for awhile. When I returned to Alberta some years ago after being gone a long time, I was reactivated bridging my history from when I lived here before.

    As for those getting turned back for once upon a time breaking the law, then don't break the law.

    So for the politicians I say, Get off your bickering sorry asses and get along. Stop posturing for control and use some common sense will ya?

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      The US unilaterally announced that passports would be required. You haven't gotten yours because everybody else in Canada suddenly realized they needed one. US citizens still don't need a passport to enter Canada, except by air. They do need one to get back into the US though (and to leave, I think, which is very odd).

      Given what they tend to do with information, I'd actually prefer the government share less info with the US, not more, thanks.
  • I'm not sure what the issue is here. Citizens entering the United States are expected to abide by our rules and regulations for entry (fairly draconian at this point i'm sure). How is it not fair that other countries not hold our citizens to the same standards?

    Remember way back when when your parents (hopefully) told you that you have to suffer the consequences for your actions, well, there isn't a time limit on those consequences. We see at least once a year in the news that someone who committed a c
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      I'm not sure what the issue is here. Citizens entering the United States are expected to abide by our rules and regulations for entry (fairly draconian at this point i'm sure). How is it not fair that other countries not hold our citizens to the same standards?

      Because two wrongs don't make a right.

      Government A makes thinks worse for Citizen B. Government C responds by making things worse for Citizen D. Nope, I don't see how that's fair - Governments A and C end up increasing their powers, and citizens B an
      • by malkavian (9512)
        Failing to respond to upping the ante does, however, result in being trampled on.
        In your example of Governments A & C, Citizens B & D, you end up with the following possibilities.

        Government A imposes restrictions on Citizen B. Gvt. C does nothing. Citizen D remains blissfully unaware of the position of his Government, and wonders why they get a less than warm welcome in some places. Gvt. A, then receives the message that it can place all the restrictions it wants, as nobody has yet stood up and do
    • Remember way back when when your parents (hopefully) told you that you have to suffer the consequences for your actions, well, there isn't a time limit on those consequences.

      So, besides you, who benefits from everlasting and unlimited consequences and retribution for minor crimes?

      • Apparently the Canadians do. I'm not the one making the rules, just commenting on the ones we have. Making rules is above my paygrade, sorry!
    • Remember way back when when your parents (hopefully) told you that you have to suffer the consequences for your actions


      So you're saying you actually listened to your parents? Sheesh. What are you, some kinda nerd?

  • Well now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by carvalhao (774969) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:10AM (#18121614) Journal

    ... as someone who was recently refused a visitors' visa to the USA because I've worked 1 month in Saudi Arabia as a CRM consultant, I can't help a grin followed by an "oh bummer!"

    I guess that the "keep our country to the locals" isn't so nice when you're on the other side of the border, isn't it?

    Please mod me flamebait, but I really couldn't help it :D

    • by Detritus (11846)
      Why would the USA care about your job in Saudi Arabia?
    • ... as someone who was recently refused a visitors' visa to the USA because I've worked 1 month in Saudi Arabia as a CRM consultant, I can't help a grin followed by an "oh bummer!"

      I'm guessing by your name here that you are Brazilian as Carvalhao is definitely a Portuguese language name. Portuguese citizens are part of the Visa Waiver program which allows entry to the US without a visa for stays of 90 days or less. Brazilians do need visas. I'm sure it didn't help at all that you worked in Saudi Arabia
  • by analog_line (465182) on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:14AM (#18121670)
    Finally, people are starting to give us back as good as we are giving them. It's about time. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hopefully every country will start applying the full standard and stopping US government officials they don't like from entering as well. Then maybe we'll see some change here, and possibly a little humility.

    You foreigners have been way too cowardly, refusing standing up for yourselves against my government. Get some fucking backbone.
  • Little bit of a disconnect between Canadian Border Security and Canadian Tourism industry. The only thing this will do is put a cooling effect on American tourists going to Canada. Mostly because of media over reaction and hype. But still, this enforced policy will most certainly cost Canada millions in tourist dollars because the average american will not know if a 30 year old littering conviction will keep them out, so why bother making vacation plans to Canada. All this enforced security is still not g
  • Know Your Place (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak.eircom@net> on Friday February 23, 2007 @10:18AM (#18121720) Homepage Journal
    I live in the EU. Technically, I can send goods, and especially money, from my own country to another in the union and not have to pay any customs or tarriffs. There is free trade of goods here.

    Technically, there is also free movement of people, but this is a sham. Even before the 9/11 hysteria began, you still needed a passport to go just about anywhere. Every time I travel in this suppossedly free union, I have to present my papers and declare my goods etc. The stated purpose for these controls is protecting us from terrorism, immigration, criminals, etc, etc, etc. The reality is that government want to show that we only enter and leave countries by their say so. Plebs have no right of free travel. (Big businessmen and polititians on the other hand, regularly find themselves exempt from border controls).

    I knew someone worked for a short time in Saudi Arabia. When he arrived they slapped a sticker over his passport with the name of the company he worked in english and arabic. The message was clear. He was a vassal of that company, and the saudi government. To leave that country, he needed an exit visa. If the company wasn't prepared to give him one, he was trapped there. If the company no longer wished to employ him, his visa would expire and he would be there illegally. He was completely at the mercy of the company he worked for.

    That is what passports and visas are for. The passport is a direct descendant of the lords chit, when back in the middle ages you needed your lords permission to leave his demense. In modern times we have replaces "lord" with government, or in saudi arabia, "company". Passports do not exist to protect us. They exist to control us. Governments yearn for the day when every citizen must have their papers, when we are once again serfs for private companies.

    Governments are beginning to share data in this way not because their own situation has changed, but because the situation of the companies people work for has changed. Companies are now global, and they need to move their loyal employees around with them, and restrict the movement of those who displease them. Troublemakers or other undesirables are best kept hemmed in by petty rules and restrictions. Blemishes on the records of the favoured will be ignored. Parking tickets on the record of union organisers will result in revocation of their chits.

    In all likelihood, our society will become like saudi arabia long before saudi arabia becomes like us. Western society is regressing, and increasingly stringent border and passport controls are a symptom of that regression.
    • Hysteria? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      UK, huh?
      Borders between mainland countries really are open, and getting more so (i.e. you can now go to new EU countries like Slovenia with zero border controls). Airports do tend to be locked down, but you can drive from country to country with no problems.

      Even as a UK citizen you don't have to declare your goods - every airport I've been through has an "EU citizens" channel where you don't pass customs. You do have to present an ID card/passport when you fly, but there are the exact same controls on fligh
    • by oliderid (710055)
      Err...If you are a citizen of a member of the Schengen treaty (15 European countries have implemented it, 15 others mainly middle/eastern european countries are about to join it).
      You can freely move anywhere.

      More information:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement [wikipedia.org]

      If you are from a Schengen country. You only need your ID card with you.
      If you aren't you need your passport. (ex: British citizen)
      If you country requires a visa. You only need a Visa once to visit these countries.

      I don't know where you are
      • National identity cards are now valid for border crossings throughout the EEA + Switzerland. Passports are only needed from EEA countries that lack identity cards (UK + Eire) or from other countries where visas are required. The checks on identity when flying seem quite inconsistent between Schengen countries, particularly if you check in electronically.
  • where sentences and conviction travel at lightspeed while the indentured
    populations stay on the plantation?

    "Boy why would you want to go up north anyway? Who would be to keep you
    and feed you?"

  • Remember being warned in school that our offenses would be put on our "permanent record"? Well, see!? It was true. No all you naughty children will pay the price! Ha! Ha! Ha!
  • by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday February 23, 2007 @11:20AM (#18122576)
    FYI, I'm a Immmigration Officer with CBSA. That said, this message is my personal opinion and I do not represent the government.

    I'm tagging this article FUD, because the writer is spreading fake information about Canada to try and scare people away. I have mod points, but I think its important that I try and stop the spread of this misinformation.

    It is not true that Canada will turn someone away for a single minor offence 30 years ago. Only serious offences will make someone inadmissible to Canada. There is a very specific scale used to determine how serious a criminal offence is. First of all, the seriousness of the crime in your home country doesn't matter. We have to equate the offence to a CANADIAN law. For example, DUI's are routine and brushed off in the USA, whereas inn Canada you can get up to 5 years in prison for a 2nd or 3rd DUI.

    This scale is as follows: [refer to Immigration Refugee Act, A36(1)(b) and A36(2)(b)]. If the crime you committed is equivalent to an indictable Canadian offence (ie not a misdemeanor), then you're inadmissable but its not impossible to get entry. Permits and pardons will allow you into the country. If you commit an offence which would give more than 10 years in prison (ie manslaughter, theft over $5000, etc), then you're inadmissible and its damn hard to get a permit into the country. That is, unless you're a celebrity. Bloody government.

    In addition to the above, after a certain length of time an inadmissible person under the first category can be "deemed rehabilitated". The criteria is a little complicated, but in most cases a single indictable offence will be "dismissed" after ten years.

    So refering to the above, you'll see the article writer doesn't know anything about our laws. I don't have any personal experience with the person refered to in the article, but I can infer a few things. For example, I'd say the person was inadmissible for the DUI from seven years ago. Its an indictable offence (ie serious), and it was less than 10 years ago. He also had other criminal convictions, which make rehabilitation impossible. Of course, he could be inadmissible for other things as well (other convictions he didn't mention, for example).

    Given the above, its FUD to say he wasn't let into Canada for the marijuanna possession from 30 years ago. Marijuanna possession isn't even an indictable offence in Canada unless its more than 22g, so a single conviction of that offence wouldn't make him inadmissible.

    I'd like to remind everyone that Canada's Immigration laws haven't changed in the last few years. There is nothing "new" referred to in this article. Our laws have always forbidden convicted criminals from entering the country, and we've had access to NCIC for YEARS. Stop spreading FUD about my country!

    Finally, if thinking of coming to Canada and have a criminal conviction, contact the Canadian consulate nearest you. They can tell you wether your offence is serious or not. I suggest you fax, write, or go in person since they rarely answer phone calls.

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