I Was Wrong

I like to prominently highlight when I have been wrong.  In the past, I have said that the US follows a double standard on our Mexican and Canadian borders.  Where are the Canadian wall proposals?  Where are the Canadian workers getting handcuffed by Joe Arpaio.

But apparently I was wrong.  The US is working hard to apply an equal level of obnoxiousness to Canadians.


  1. B.D.:

    I'm ashamed to be an American.

  2. Fred from Canuckistan:

    never get lippy or angry with a Customs Officer . . . they have god like powers and can really mess-up your day. Show respect, keep your anger in check and be cool. The driver got what he deserved for being stupid, acting like he was important and the Agent was dumb.

    They are doing all this on purpose. . . they want to get people "going" to check their reactions. They'll repeat questions to see if the answers are the same.

    For the record I have seen/heard worse done by Canadian Border Service agents on folks coming this way. I worked a summer at an airport checking International Transborder traffic and it was amazing what the Agents do for fun or if someone gets lippy with them.

  3. TomG:

    Coyote, check out the story of Peter Watts, Canadian novelist. His account has been mentioned on several blogs (including John Scalzi's Whatever), after a bad incident in December where he was beaten and pepper-sprayed by a U.S. border guard. He managed to avoid jail time, but still, he shouldn't have been harassed the way he was.

  4. Capt Grandpa:

    Coyote, I read you regularly and agree with you on virtually every other issue you write about. I might even sometimes agree with you on this issue but this case is not a good example. The Canadian guy was being a jerk.

    I live in San Diego and have crossed the Mexican border dozens of times, sometimes for nothing more than to go out to dinner. Rarely, very rarely, I will run in to an agent who, cross examines me more than normal. I can imagine all sorts of reasons, some legit and some not. It could be they happen to be looking for a car that matches mine, or something about my demeanor raises suspicions, or it is just a random check, or the agent is just having a bad day. (I have had my car searched and or been detained two or three times.)

    In any case, being in line at the border is not the time to cop an attitude. These guys are just human and being asked to protect us with a minimum of delay and inconvenience. They don’t need you holding up the line being uncooperative just to prove you have rights. If you think the agent was out of line, file a complaint later.

    If you are an open borders kind of guy and don’t like the law, then work constructively to get it changed. But if you are just a pain in the ass, don’t look for sympathy from me.

    P.S. - B.D., If I was ashamed of America, I’d have found some place better to live by now.

  5. Mike:

    I was treated pretty harshly by a US Customs officer when I was returning from a trip to Canada last year. In fact, the guy was a real prick and it offended me that he'd treat a fellow American in that manner. However, the outcome was completely different for me because I didn't get into a pissing contest with him.

  6. gadfly:

    "In the past, I have said that the US follows a double standard on our Mexican and Canadian borders. Where are the Canadian wall proposals? Where are the Canadian workers getting handcuffed by Joe Arpaio."

    So "straw man" arguments are only such when someone else uses a false premise. Your questions are easy to answer by pointing out that there are not 12 million plus "undocumented" Canadians living in the United States ... and there are not 600,000 Canadian workers without permits awaiting employer pick-up at shopping centers every morning throughout Arizona.

    You were and you continue to be ... wrong.

  7. Chris:

    I live about 10 minutes from that particular bridge to Canada and cross the border frequently. Be courteous and respectful to the customs agents and answer their questions, and there is no trouble getting across. Going both directions, if you're an idiot, they *will* give you a hard time. I have a friend that works at the bridge who said that this guy was flagged as someone who had previously given the customs guys a hard time.

  8. Rick C:

    Who hasn't figured out that you will NEVER win an argument with a cop as the incident is occurring? I mean, are there really still people out there (who aren't young enough not to know better) that dumb?

    (Anyone wanting to attack a strawman by suggesting I'm advocating kowtowing to cops please find something less of a waste of time to do. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that arguing with a cop during a traffic stop or whatever _is the wrong way to go about things_. If you disagree with his claim you were speeding, that's why you have the right to a court hearing. Calling him a fascist or whatever is counterproductive. He has a gun and handcuffs.)

  9. caseyboy:

    Sounds like this Canadian was a Jackass. Yeah, maybe the customs official let the guy get under his skin pretty quickly, but if this is supposed to be an event that shapes our view on immigration I don't see it. Besides, Canadians don't come here illegally to find employment. They come here for urgent medical treatment and do so legally.

  10. JamesLBurns:

    Not saying that US immigration officers can't be pr*cks, but the Canadians are worse. If you are going to Canada for business, you can expect to get hassled for "taking their jobs". We have customers in Canada. Our service people have been denied entry into the country until they were able to provide a letter of invite and the purchase order from the customer (something no service person would ever have with them). Any they make no attempt to hide their contempt for us while doing this.

  11. mark:

    Couple of issues. Why would we bother guarding a border where we do not have issues. The Canadians do a fairly good job of keeping out El Quaida. Do we really want to spend money on an issue in areas where we don't have a problem? I know in these PC days, we do things like disassemble 90 year old grandma's wheelchair looking for weapons, while she convulses on the floor just so it looks like we are not discriminating against the guy who just made his third round trip to Yemen, and is now buying a one way ticket and has an unusual bulge in his pants. But this really is a waste.

    Yet to look fair, we actually are spending tons of money to protect ourselves from the invisible Canadian Menace. The government is eminent domaining farmland in Vermont to build a fence for the Canadian border. We should also probably build a fence between Utah and Colorado to take care of the non existent illegal alien issue on that border too.

    But in the end if it takes building a fence in Canada to get a real fence on the Mexican border to prevent crime, and drug importation, I am for it.

  12. Fred Z:

    All of these comments to the effect that you should be subservient to cops, border guards and the like, even when they are being jerks, show a subservience that unnerves me. The arrogance of office must be curbed, and curbed frequently.

    How do you think the men of the 13 colonies would have treated Hessian border guard who behaved that way? Why do you think the USA exists? To promote and support tyrannical, petty, government dictators?

    The Canadian was mildly difficult. Border guards who react to the level of ire the Canadian showed by arresting him and his wife, and telling fairy tales about catching 3 terrorists a day, are out of control.

    Even if the guards were behaving obnoxiously as part of a strategy to elicit information, which I don't believe happened here, they must expect at least a suspicious, querulous or dubious response from time to time and be able to deal with it professionally. The response I heard was dishonest and unprofessional.

    PS: The Canadian guards are indeed often worse than this lot, and the USA guards are usually great. Especially the ones at Roosville. Yay, Roosville.

  13. John O.:

    This just annoys me because the poor family just wanted to go shopping. The problem is that Customs is trying to give basis for the myth that they "watch" over you, so they wanted to know what store they were gunna shop at. The truth is that they don't have the resources to do so and implying such is what probably irritated the Canadian.

    It is a coincidence that I live in Tonawanda, New York just north of Buffalo and was stopped yesterday by lost Canadians as to where the Fashion Outlet Mall is. I have no qualms with the Canadians (or even Mexicans) spending their money here, unfortunately my directions to get them there probably get them lost even more.

    -- John O.