Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flashback to June border crossing into Canada

Well, having finally returned to the lower 48 and, thus, having crossed my last border out of Canada, I will give a few more details about what happened last June 22. When we crossed into Canada at Sweetgrass, Montana, the Canadian customs agent asked about firearms and bear spray (among other things). I affirmed that I had a shotgun and bear spray. I was directed to a lot beside the entry buildings in order to pay my $25 for the Canadian gun permit. After paying the fee, I was directed into an enclosed barn, where the truck and camper were thoroughly searched. Brenda and I were in a side room, separate from the search area. [BTW, the room was bugged]
When the agent found a Folgers coffee can in the tool box of my truck with my three canisters of OC (bear spray), he came into the room where Brenda and I were waiting and informed me that I had three canisters, not just one. I told him I had never stated the number of canisters, just that I had bear spray. At that point, I was accused of “having an attitude” and was threatened with hand cuffs and jail. The upshot of it was that one canister was confiscated, because OC is not considered bear spray in Canada. It is considered a personal weapon and is prohibited. In addition, I was charged with “unlawfully imported by reason of Non-Report” the other two canisters of OC. My truck, in which they were found, was impounded. For $500 for each canister, I could have my truck back.
I began to enter a protest, arguing that if I was smuggling the canisters, I certainly would not have put them with the canister I reported. This resulted in another threat of hand cuffs and jail. I paid the $1000 and was released with a cheery invitation to enjoy my vacation.
Having safely returned to the lower 48, let me say that it will be a cold day in Hell before I again go to Canada. A tentatively planned trip to the Canadian Maritime Provinces for next fall has been permanently nixed.

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