IÂ love Canada! I love the large clean open spaces, I love the friendly warm natured feel that seems to radiate from the nearly all that I meet here. I love the laid back attitude towards life and I do not love the border crossing. We used to joke that getting into Russia is easier than driving north over the border. But it is no joke. There are few countries more difficult to enter for a US citizen on the planet earth than the homeland of our close and friendly Canadian brothers. I have spent many a 4 am morning shivering in a parking lot as our bags are rifled through as they give their pet drug puppies a private tour of our bus. I think next time I will hide little dog treats in various locations just for fun.
Canadian border patrol has has developed aÂ two part plan for effective border control:
1) If a person has done anything wrong ever, make them wait as long as possible and try and make them pay as much money as possible to get into the country. With bus full of traveling nuns, this may not be an issue but shocking as it may be, many roadies and musicians often do not have perfect pasts. Be that as it may, any violation such as a misdemeanor traffic citation or DUI could mean a 4 hour wait or even denial into the country.
2) Regardless of how many times you have been allowed into Canada before, always start from scratch at the last minute while the person is at the border and offer no method of allowing people to pre apply or effectively prepare. I heard that on The Warped tour traveling with 20 or more busses, they called ahead to the Canadian border well in advance "we will be arriving with several hundred people late at night," provided the time, the names, the passports and everything. So arriving at the crossing to find two graveyard border officials on duty and fully prepared to start processing the roadies one by one, from scratch, of course fits right in with the Canadian immigration strategy.
There also is and added bonus of keeping theÂ anticipation level up by letting whomever is on duty at the time have total discretion over the misery level of the border-crosser involved. Fortunately, I am not one of the humans that got harassed, unfortunately the border antics effect us all. Though I personally do not partake, the whole thing is especially amusing when you realize that preventing someone from bringing drugs into Canada from the US is about as ingenuous as setting up checkpoints to stop people from bringing sand to the beach.
All that said, now that I have made it into Fort Canada, I remember why it is so heavily protected, it is truly beautiful here and maybe the underlying plan of preventing Americans from coming over has some merit.