Border Guard Needs Attitude Adjustment

By on May 14, 2009


At the end of a recent visit to relatives in the U.S., we returned to Canada at the Osoyoos crossing.

The demeanor of the guard was brusque, to say the least.

He barked out commands like a boot camp drill sergeant.

Now, we all understand the obligation of the officers to make a proper inspection.

My complaint isn’t with the job, it’s about attitude.

Can someone teach the Canadian Border guards some manners?

Bob Calhoun,

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  1. glen prior

    May 18, 2009 at 11:35 am

    My wife, two daughters and my son in law went for a trip to Osoyoos from Tacoma on May 16th 2009 after driving from Tacoma for over 6 hours. We had hotel reservations at the Holiday Inn in Osoyoos. The arrogant officer did not like my answer to his question, “What are you going to do at the Holiday Inn?” , which I replied, “hang out.”
    That cost us over an hour in secondary inspection.

    • Kinnie

      May 26, 2017 at 5:28 am

      Boarder Security is always that way. They are not screwing around. They are also under outh. I lived in the boarder and have had tons of experience with them. They won’t answer if you ask how are they or nice day eh. That just makes them more pissed off and they will find it suspicious. We used to scoot across for gas and have lunch. My husband is a biker and gets harassed every time. I drive a nice car and he a truck. We switched cars for some reason. I crossed the boarder behind him. I saw he was pulled in. They had ever seat of my car pulled out. He told him my wife and I went for gas and lunch. When I saw him I pulled in and asked him “Didn’t you tell them we went for gas and lunch?” He said yes. I said “Ok I’ll see you at home.” He didn’t get home till hours after me even with proof. They mean business. Say as little as you can and speak when spoken too. Don’t move and take your sunglasses off. Good luck!zl

  2. Don

    May 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    The Canadian border guards need a real tune-up. On one of my trips returning to Canada I was asked if I had ever been in trouble at a border crossing. When I replied “no” I was asked if it was, because I was not caught, because I lied or because I was honest.

    The difference between the attitudes of the U.S. guards and the Canadians is startling.

    • Al Chemist

      March 4, 2017 at 6:33 am

      You should see the right assholes in Detroit on the US side

  3. Alex

    May 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Please give me a break! The folks working at the border are NOT Wal-Mart greeters or tourism representatives. They are NOT there to kiss your backside. They are doing a serious job under very difficult conditions.

    You might feel you are law-abiding and therefore above answering their questions, but they deal with hundreds of you every day … and unfortunately it turns out many are less than honest and law-abiding!

    • John Lars

      June 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      I haven’t read a single complaint describing problems with what the border guards have to do, but rather the type of person they are, how they get the job done. I often hear Wal-mart greeters as a comparison. Nobody expects border guards to apologize for the questions they need to ask. But an even disposition and a calm attitude until other dispositions and attitudes are warranted is not too much to ask. Being bullied and subject to other abuses of power is not part of the procedure.

    • Anon

      August 7, 2013 at 8:49 am


      You have got to be kidding me, these people are glorified security officers. I had a border guard treat me like crap and then harrass me every time after I went through the border and he was there because I had just gotten engaged to an Amercian and he gave me an engagement ring and the border guard wanted to tax me $1200 on it plus penalties. Now, if they knew Canadian laws, thank goodness my husband is a lawyer, they would know that anyone can receive a gift of $10000 or less in Canada and not be taxed on it. The Amercian border guards are always pleasant and are still doing their job. There are no terrorist attacks in Canada, there are no major shootings or anything crazy like that and the Canadian Border guards act like Canada is constantly under threat. I look forward going through the American side, I dread coming home to the Canadian side due to their attitudes. There is nothing wrong with them being direct and assertive but the way they treat people is not acceptable. We are not all criminals and most of us are honest. They need to learn to treat people with respect.

      • Eric

        August 12, 2013 at 5:54 am

        Maybe there are no attack in Canada because of the border officers doing their job, the job that is sooooo difficult for you to understand. Which law does your tax exemption for gifts valued under $10000 come from. I think your husband is mixing up his laws, gifts from outisde Canada are dealt with under Customs Act. Pay your taxes princess.

        • T H C

          February 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm

          It’s a Canadian law…that’s why Americans go to Canada to gamble at their casinos…and yes, the limit IS $10,000

      • Brian

        March 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

        Where did your husband get his law degree from? Better check it does have “Cracker Jack” on the back of it. There is no such $10,000 gift exemption. THERE IS, a $10,000 exemption for returning residents who’ve resided outside of Canada and are returning to live in Canada…which clearly does not represent you. Your ring is taxable…in fact it can be seized if you did’t declare it.

    • Nikolai

      September 19, 2013 at 8:43 am

      They are doing serious job but they are also working for me, e.g. Canadian taxpayer. So they have to respect their employer. Respect does not mean kissing but it means treating everyone in polite and civilized manner unless the situation requires otherwise. And also the way they treat you must not depend on the office having a bad day, which would be unprofessional. And they _sometimes_ misbehave because they fee like being invincible. Punishing these officers for the quality of their work is almost impossible even for their supervisors, not to mention the taxpayers.

      • Mark

        April 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        I agree. They are public servants. I had a very bad experience while crossing into Windsor from Detroit. I was going to a small club to see one of my favorite bands “Drowning Pool”. The CBP officer opened questioning with Citizenship? Answer: US while producing my US Passport. Q: Reason for entering Canada? A: I am going to a club to see a band. When will it finish? A: With slight hesitation, “I don’t know”. The officer yelling loudly, stated, “You Americans who come into our country think it is a right to come here!!! Well, it is not a right; it is a priviledge!!! You got that? This guy showed definite signs of being unstable. I was actually trying to move away from him for I thought he was threatening me. I wanted to turn around and go on home. I had $800 in my wallet that I was prepared to lose in The Windsor Casino. I did not enjoy the concert. I did not go to the Canadian Casino. I went back to the Greek town Casino in Detroit and won $400. The Border Patrol, whether they recognize it or not are the 1st Line Ambassadors of Canada. I contacted the officers supervisor and let her have it. I also contacted the CBP HQ in Ottawa. I also contacted the PMS office. They are first and foremost, public servants. Professionalism should be paramount in dealing with the public!!!

    • Tdog

      May 22, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Sorry to tell you that being rude and profiling people is actually not apart of their job. I recently tried to cross and they crossed the line… and no not the boarder. They asked personal questions that I refused to answer. There is no winning with them. I can’t just be a world traveler who happens to love Canada. Check my record, ask your questions, search the car if you feel it is needed, and f**k off.

  4. Dolly

    May 30, 2009 at 12:16 am

    all these people complaining about the border officers are the same folks that would want the officers’ heads if criminals or drugs or child pornography was let through, and into their communities!
    god forbid these officers ask questions and are thorough in the name of keeping our border secure.
    give these men and women a break – they are required to ask questions – it’s their JOB!
    perhaps those questions aren’t worded to your liking…GASP! but they are doing a lot more than anyone gives them credit for.
    perhaps all of you nay-sayers would prefer if we got rid of inquisitive border officers and became one big happy family with the USA?
    walk a mile in an officer’s shoes and then post your thoughts, comments and opinions about “BORDER GUARD NEEDS ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT”…

    • Les W. Dewar

      October 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Yes, I would love to see the border erased and we become part of the US. I welcome that day!!! We would then be able to travel freely to anywhere in the US, and even be able to move south where it is warmer and cheaper to live. I only live in Canada because I was born here and there is no easy way to move to the US.

  5. Teddy

    June 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Border Officers seize cocaine, guns, child porn, and prevent non-resident criminals from entering our country every single day to keep Canadian residents safe. Everyone is happy when the cocaine is seized, and the guns taken off the street, and the criminals removed from Canada. As long as the officer is only examining “bad guys” then everyone is happy. As soon as the officer asks a question to someone who has nothing to hide, the officer is “harassing” and “needs an attitude adjustment”. We can all assist Border Officers by allowing them to do their job quickly, verify our declarations, and if we have not violated any rules, let them get onto the real business they have to deal with EVERY day. Support them, don’t impede them!

  6. RP

    June 5, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Border guards on the whole have a fine line to walk – – to be officious and do their job, at the same time to be at least a bit courteous. However there are some whose demeanor is more suited for prison guard duty. I have experienced the “barking commands”, intimidation and down-right arrogance of one or two in particular, but put it down to their ‘anti-American’ attitude, although I am Canadian, naturalized US now.
    The previous posts labelled “nay-sayers” were just expressing their experiences. Perhaps a little ‘common sense’ might be considered.

  7. Rob Boyd

    June 7, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    It doesn’t surprise me one bit about people encountering bad attitude problems at the Osoyoos/Oroville border crossing. I have some horror stories about being treated like a criminal and/or terrorist whenever I cross the border there. Whenever I visited Osoyoos, I liked to cross over and visit the museum at Molson, but whenever I cross back into Canada, I am asked numerous questions about any past criminal activity (I have no criminal record). The last time I crossed the border at Osoyoos was 1997, four years before September 11. I won’t even think about crossing there now. As an example, I attended a conference in Spokane two years ago, and I travelled there via Blaine and Stevens Pass. It was a longer routing, but it avoided the Osoyoos crossing. I tell all of my friends who are visiting Osoyoos to avoid crossing the border there. The border guards working there need to learn some common courtesy and realize that not everyone is a criminal.

    R. Boyd, Delta, B.C.

  8. pink lemonade

    June 19, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Border guards deal with so many people each day. It is their job to ask questions, be assertive/aggressive, and authoritive. If they weren’t the way they are, endless amounts of criminals and people with poor intentions could end up in our country. I honestly think that border guards use a little more sympathay and empathy than some of your local police. They are only doing their job, which is a serious one. So what your car gets searched? probably happens for some good reason. When you cross the border, you should take into consideration to not have any reason to be suspected of anything, and you should make their job easier by doing so.
    I am sure they don’t enjoy telling you to pull to the side to be searched… Even for something minor. Crossing the border is a serious action, that should have serious attention paid to.

  9. Concerned Businessman

    July 15, 2009 at 6:13 am

    I appreciate that Customs Agents are performing a serious function but it can be done with a bit more civility! I had one a few weeks ago who asked me a question when his head was inside the booth and turned away from em and when I asked hin to repeat the question he went right off the deep end at me he specifically insulted my intelligence when the issue really was his rude and boorish manner, as Customs agents should receive training on dealing with the public, we live in a customer service world and I work hard to encourage people to visit Osoyoos and Canada only to have their border experience deter them from ever visiting us again.

  10. Retired rv'er

    July 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Yesterday my husband and I crossed the border to go into Waterton National Park from Glacier National Park. We are both over 60 and drive a ’06 Honda. Not only did they find it necessary to “run” our passport cards inside the office, but they made us park and searched both the car and the trunk! The guard was rude and acted like I was a terrorist when I couldn’t hear what he was saying while searching the trunk, telling me to get back to the front of the car. He yelled at us when he found two pieces of firewood in the trunk which we used last month to help drive our car up on the tow dolley when we were on low ground. He said we said “no” when he asked if we were carrying firewood (we never heard this and didn’t even remember having it). We both felt like he hated Americans and would have been delighted if we didn’t bother entering his country.

    • dumb people

      December 31, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      maybe before you cross the border learn the damn laws and read what is prohibited coming in from Canada (firewood). its your job to be accountable for everything in your car. don’t come on here whining and crying when you tried bringing in a prohibited item and they called you out on it!

  11. Long suffering

    August 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I think border guards get a kick out of wielding power. They get away with behaviour that would never be acceptable anywhere else. There should be more checks on what goes on at the border. Plain clothes supervisors of various race, age and sex should travel incognito and check up on what goes on. It isn’t good enough to say that the threat of crime and illegal immigration justifies rude behaviour.

  12. Tired of 'tude'

    September 3, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Thank goodness there is comment page such as this…I do value the work that border officers do to keep our country safe. For me it’s the attitude that they portray. I have no problem at all answering questions. I do have a problem with being talked down to and treated like a criminal. Ask me anything you want with regards, to my trip, place of residence, etc., but I do not feel that this gives the border officers approval to power trip and detain visitors at the border while they “teach everyone” a lesson, when we ask to be treated with a little more respect.

    • Yelena

      December 6, 2017 at 6:58 am

      I agree! Well-said!
      He should have apologized for his behaviour! No excuse for it!

  13. Claire Taylor

    September 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I can’t believe what I have read here.

    Would someone please tell ‘pink lemonade’ that being “assertive/aggressive, and authoritive” has nothing to do with acting like and OBSTREPEROUS BULLY!

    You absolutely do NOT need “aggressive” at the border… and what does antagonizing the general public have to do with performing your duties TO the general public?

    What in the world is the purpose of asking the question, , “What are you going to do at the Holiday Inn?” …and if this comment to ‘Don’ is factual, “I was asked if it was, because I was not caught, because I lied or because I was honest.” …is ABSOLUTELY inappropriate.

    If you intend to check someone’s vehicle… do it ! But surely you can do it by exercising some form of tact and dignity…

    ….it does however take some education to behave in a civilized manner.

    If these negative comments about our Border Guards have merit… it’s time for an ’employee’ shakeup… because that’s all they are, our government employees.

    Take the name of the guard/s and start writing letters.. and for our United States brothers… write to the Osoyoos Mayor (heck, send your letters to Premier Gordon Campbell and Tourism BC) ask to have your comments passed on to the appropriate venues… tell him/them that you will not come to spend another dollar in this country until the GUARD, and name him, is relieved of his duties! Tourist dollars are very important to us!

  14. Chad

    September 11, 2009 at 9:27 am

    There will always be problems at any border crossing. The fact of the matter is, you are exiting and entering another country. Period. Each time you cross, you are considered someone as leaving the country. Entering a country. This is not Disneyland. Its a country, people! Gruffness is a tactic to get the truth out of people. Not everyone announces they are smuggling or have a criminal record. If you don’t like it, don’t leave your country. Go to an airport, same thing. You could be asked a lot of different questions that you may not deem as important or as too personal. Too bad. US border guards have even more o this gruffness, I have found. Do I like it? No. Do I like that they talk to my kids and ask them questions? Even wake them up if they are napping in the back? No. Does my annoyance matter? No. The fact is there are reasons for the way they act. Some are not as personable for non-work reasons, but they are not there to make you feel warm inside or to set your holiday on the right foot. They are there to do their job to keep our borders safe!

  15. Zen

    September 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    well i think many people here are on either one of 2 sides of the fence… or assuming that anyways…

    personally i know when i have any officer treat me with disrespect i wont talk to them.. i want their boss, i want respect… because of their disrespect they have wasted a lot of money form taxation as well as time used to catch others who should be stopped. I know they have a Job to do.. but why should one be demeaned by your own country when all they really have to do is punch in your passport registration number on a computer… That is why buy our passports… so that we know our government puts our ID in data bank so that its easier for then to know we are who we say we are.

    besides no first world government job allows one to abuse their nations people, and tourists cor the hell of it.

  16. prairie boy

    September 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Gee, so many naysayers on this site, it makes me laugh.Like the one comment said, if u have nothing to hide, just suck it up.Their may be some bad apples out their, but that doesn;t mean the whole bunch is bad.And like i say to some of my friends, if someone is mean or unprofessional, talk to their supervisor, but then again, sounds like the naysayers didn;t go that far, suprise suprise

  17. paul

    September 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I will not say what I do but lets say that not one person I have arrested has ever told me they were up to something. An attitude to questioning is in some cases a indicator that 1. your hiding something 2. your going to bully your way through the inspection (women are worse) and 3. If you cross international borders often enough you should at some point realize that unless you are doing the job you do not know everything that is going on your complaints to a supervisor (as to the wimpy complaints shown here as example) should go nowhere as they are opinion as to how you were treated your own bias because the red carpet was not rolled out for YOUR arrival/departure

    • Yelena

      December 6, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Really? Forgot how to be Civil while doing your job?
      Bullying, talking down, abusing and mistreating people are not in your Job Description!
      Courtesy goes a long way in people co-operating!
      Also, you represent Canada and the Canadian people! How u treat people leaves an indelible impression on the visitors to our Beautiful Country!

  18. Jesse

    September 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Hi Libertarian here, I hate boarder crossings back into Canada. You would think it would be easier going back as a Canadian but they want to catch you and charge you an arbitrary tariff on anything you buy. Its just a tax grab. As if its any of Canada’s business… and don’t give me the “its there job and its hard” thats what there hired for its a job no more special that anyone elses… that border was unmanned for 250 years with all the same drugs guns and alcohol pooring through each way and we have no more or less social problems than days gone by. Canadians have to stop wanting to be parented by there government because we are treated like crap… like many of you say crossing into the states is a great experience which is very curteous and welcoming….

  19. Diane

    September 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Re the Canadian border guards – recently I felt the need for a “me” and loving to drive I drove from Kelowna to Osoyoos to Oriville – to Oriville mainly for th great fabric prices and Aleeve – I suffer a great deal wit arthritis and so far Aleeve si the best thing I have found. the guard seemed to find it strange that an almost 64 year old woman would 1 drive by herself, drive that far just for fabric and pills (I would drive twice as far to be able to releave the pain and walk) he was not rude but very brisk and actually ahd me pull over while he looked in my van (maybe the tinted windows was the cause) actually I found it quite funny that they suspected me of something. years ago – in the early 50’s our family knew all the guards – it was a much clamertime and place but I do understand the need for vigilance. but a respectful, polite manner never cost anyone anything

  20. border town

    October 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    If your treatment at the border was so terrible, why didn’t you take the time to complain the day it occured. Complaining on a website won’t get you anywhere but looking like a lazy, whining baby. To the “old lasy” just an FYI, but criminals and terrorists don’t have a particular look. Read the paper more often and you will realize that not long ago there was an individual over the age of 60 smuggling 100’s of thousnads of dollars that was drug money. She said she didn’t get enough from her pension to survive and she needed the money. Same thing was said by the couple in their 80’s that smuggled 40+ kilos of cocaine in to Canada. So next time remember, every one crossing the border is a criminal, a drug dealer, a terrorist and a money smuggler until the border guard proves otherwise. And travelling Internationally between countries is a PRIVILAGE, not a right. Next time try being nice to the guard for a change because with an attitude like yours, you deserve to be searched.

  21. Rocky

    October 10, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I don’t doubt that other people who are reporting negative experiences at the Osoyoos border crossing are speaking the truth. However, I have to say that I have never had a negative experience crossing back into Canada after visiting the US. I work in Osoyoos and drop down into the US with some regularity, but coming back has always been fine.

    Now I am not saying that the border guards greet me with sunshine and butterflies. They are serious because, as others have said, they have a serious job to do.

  22. W Newth

    October 15, 2009 at 10:23 am

    To whom it may concern,
    I find it rather amusing that we trash our Boarder guards so badly when they deal with many different people on a daily basis. Not all the people are easy to deal with, nor are they forth coming. It is so easy to look at all there negatives side instead of the positive they do for our country. Now I know some of them can be rude and difficult but you try dealing with rude people everyday and see how low your tolerance becomes for everyone. Give them a break and take it easy on them. They are doing there job to serve and protect the well being of our great country.
    In saying that maybe instead of shopping across the line and supporting the American economy try shopping locally and helping out the small businesses in Osoyoos and Oliver. Maybe then you will stop your moaning and complaining. Oh yah you shop there because it is cheaper. So what your saying is you want your cake and to be able to eat it as well. STOP YOUR COMPLAINING
    I want to thank all of our dedicated Border Guards for doing a wonderful and difficult job.

  23. had enough

    October 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    and W Newth, did you know that border guards have every right to just leave their posts and not defend our borders if there’s a dangerous criminal haeding the border…they call the rcmp when there are armed dangerous people about to cross the border

  24. had enough

    October 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    it’s so easy to say that the border guards are there to catch criminals and that we shouldn’t complain if we pass through the borders and we feel like we have been treated with such indignity and disrespect. i bet 100% of the people who have posted their comments on this website trying to defend border guards have never been harassed in the border or by chance your comments are because you work there! my husband is an american and owns a business in seattle, i go to seattle almost every weekend. i have been crossing the border almost every weekend for two years now.and i can see a big difference at how the US guards treat crossers and how our side treat people. The Canadian border guards, the younger ones, are most of the time mean, disrespectful especially to people who don’t speak good english, and just over the top aggressive for no reason at all. the US guards are very respectful but thorough, they look intimidating but they always treat you with dignity and respect. our borders are the window to what Canada is like, border guards give visitors the first impression of what Canadian society will be since they are the first ones that people meet when entering our country. what an awful first impression they give most of the time. most of my experiences have been traumatic and i know i deserved more respect.

  25. E LEE

    October 26, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I was a bus driver at the Niagara Falls border and let me tell you that it’s the U.S.A. Border Guards that need the “Attitude Adjustment”.

  26. Lev

    October 29, 2009 at 7:30 am

    An advice for those crossing border either way.
    Answer the question and shut up.
    Don’t volunteer your opinions.
    Don’t be superior even if you think you are the gift to the world.
    The border officer has the right to slap your smartness, you will loose every time you try.
    Answer the questions and shut up.
    End of story.

    • jim

      January 5, 2014 at 8:54 am

      What Lev said, there is a method to there madness, just be polite, honest, answer their questions and if you have nothing to hide, you should be good to go.
      As stated before, all different walks of life have been found smuggling or some criminal activity here and there so they have to vigilant. If someone gets thru their checkstand it probably comes back on them.
      I was harrased this morning just for getting gas before work, I just answered honestly and politely, then went on my way

  27. Lev

    October 29, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Works every time.

  28. Never Again!

    November 1, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I’ve lived in Penticton for more than 60years. “Going across the line” was a regular occurrence as a child with my grandfather. Later I maintained the tradition with my own family, until we were subjected to an arrogant interrogation by an immature USA border guard. We were belittled, embarrassed and detained for an hour filling out forms and answering questions. That was more than 18 years ago and none of us have crossed the Osoyoos/US border since! That little border guard bugger left quite an aversion within all of us!! By the looks of this website, in the last 18 years the situation hasn’t improved at all.

  29. You got to be kidding

    November 6, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I would like to commend the Officers on both sides of the line. That line is the only thing protecting our kids, and ourselves from the evils the world can offer. Find an officer who is willing to talk and alot of times they have some horrific stories and sleepless nights on the things they encounter. You may never see what the real job entails, just that guy asking questions. I agree there have been times that the officer may be grouchy but you fail to ask if its because he has been there 12-16 hours. Walk a mile in their shoes. I commend both the US and Canadian Side. Sure its annoying sometimes but well worth it when i can be sure they are doing what they can to keep the bad guy away from Canada

    • Quick and easy

      August 20, 2016 at 8:55 am

      I recently went into Osoyoos on a day motorcycle trip from central Washington, mostly to explore the area and eat lunch. Officers on both sides were courteous and professional. The US side was a bit more thorough; I had to remove my helmet and my bike was searched (happened very quickly, while the officer was asking me questions). The officer was doing a quick cursory search on all vehicles, so I didn’t feel like I was being singled out. No complaints about either side.

  30. Heidi Grieb

    November 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I found the Canadian border guards to be excessively abusive and a menace. I have traveled abroad and in Mexico and Canada before, and this by far was the worst border crossing experience. I won’t be spending my vacation money in that part Canada until the situation changes.

  31. Krisztina

    November 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Actually it is always only the us border guards that are rude. Sometimes they can’t meet my eyes so they MUST know how rude and ridiculous their behaviour is. They get off on acting like they have power over all who cross into the US. They act as if they were the centre of the universe calling eveyrone else an ‘alien’. They bark orders no matter who they’re talking to–pizzaman to professor. I’ve never had a good experience crossing. IN fact, they remind me of the Gestapo in novels I’ve read-except that those guys were likely more intelligent. Boo to US border guards.

  32. Krisztina

    November 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Hmm. I forgot to add, to catch a criminal, it is completely unnecessary to have such a s..tty attitude as the guards do. In fact, they’d catch more criminals by acting reasonable, heck even friendly. What a concept.

  33. just a thought

    November 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    “had enough” mentioned that the Canadian border guards can leave their posts when a dangerous person is entering the border. If I recall correctly, our guards are unarmed. Perhaps the US guards can talk softly because they carry a “big stick”. Perhaps our guards are making up for lack of weapons with attitude. Not an excuse for negligent behaviour, but something we should consider. Also, I’ve heard that sometimes border guards conduct random searches, so it may be nothing you said or did, just part of the job.

  34. Howard

    November 13, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    The Osoyoos Border Crossing has its fair share or turds working there. I find its much better in the summer time when they have younger summer students or interns working, at least they haven’t been working long enough to have developed the attitude problems that seem to plague the older border agents. Here’s my question… does being rude actually catch more bad guys? Does acting like a moron and asking ambiguous questions really snare career criminals? I think the polite and friendly guards are the more effective border guards because they get people to let their guard down and actually have a polite conversation. The obnoxious butt-wipes who bark out questions usually get one word answers in return which to me is a lot less effective. Its a shame that so many of these people are such an embarassment to Canada. This is sadly the first point of contact for many visitors to our region.

  35. Josh

    November 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Similar situation west of you. I live in Sumas, Washington and have been doing volunteer work providing technical support to nonprofits in Abbotsford since July. Last Friday I had my first bad experience with a Canadian border guard. His attitude was exactly that of a prison guard. My car was inspected, GPS screen cracked during the inspection, and I spent almost 2 hours inside while him and another guard contacted all the organizations I’ve worked for. In the end, it was determined volunteer work is still work, and I will need to obtain a visa to continue as a volunteer. I was not allowed to enter and two of the nonprofits I work for have lost hours of work due to the arrogance and ignorance of this one border guard. According to NAFTA, the work I do, paid or unpaid, does not require a work visa. It’s nice to know these border guards are protecting Canadians from terrorists, drug dealers, and the extremely malevolent volunteers who wish to enter their country.

    • JD

      January 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      1… You are a ‘visitor’ to Canada. As such, your neither enter by ‘right’ nor by ‘law’. You MAY enter by ‘privilege’.

      2… Everyone crossing into Canada is subject to an immigration and customs examination. The type and degree is situational (i.e., it can vary from person to person and from one situation to another). As such, you, your goods and your conveyance are subject to further inspection/examination. And, depending on the situation and variables involved, the examination can be shorter or longer.

      3… If the Immigration Officer, ‘allowed you to leave’ and return to the USA, there must have been grounds for that. You never stated what type of ‘volunteer’ work you reported to be doing.

      If you want to cross into this great country we call CANADA, and you do so of your own free will, then you are subject to examination/s at the border. I do not recall reading anywhere that there is a “Josh” exemption to the entry process.

      Have a great day!

  36. John

    November 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Bad Attitudes are not needed, but being serious should not be confused with Bad Attitudes. There is a very important job to be performed. Some of these Officers are just having a bad day, plain and simple. No one can say they have never had a bad day at work. The ones with the attitudes should be sent to some Port that doesn’t require interacting with the public. I have had my fair share of Bad attitudes at this crossing and it seems to be the ones who look like they are ready to retire. If you don’t like your job anymore get out. Retire early; just stop giving your bad attitude to the public. If the car in front of me gave you a hard time, don’t take it out on me. This is the most important line coming up next, read it carefully everyone…If you think you are mistreated, go inside the building and talk to a Supervisor, if you don’t then you have no right to complain, plain and simple. Nothing will get done if you go inside to complain. For the rest of the Border Officers working there, keep up the good work, it’s a thankless job and no one wants to do it when times are good, but everyone wants your job in bad times.

  37. Teddy

    November 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I have always found it amusing how everyone seems to want to blame law enforcement for “not doing enough” to stop the drugs and guns coming to Canada and how border officers are not working hard enough. Comments about border officers just sitting around eating doughnuts, etc. are written in newspapers daily. Then, the minute that a border officer asks YOU an extra question, or sends YOU in to verify your declaration, you pout and snivel. If everyone is to be treated equally, and we want our streets safe, then stop making a big deal about your poor inconvenience and put your Nation’s safety ahead of yourself… sheesh!

  38. Teddy

    November 19, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Oh… and when the officer asks if you are carrying more than $10,000 currency, it is not funny to answer that “YOU WISH”. They’ve heard it a thousand times, and your comment isn’t any funnier than the last one!

  39. Dave

    November 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Just so everyone knows, it’s not a Border Officers job to smile, be nice or friendly. The officer has a job to do and those things are not part of the job.

    I think some people mistake an officer not smiling and being friendly with being rude. An officer asking you questions (whether you think they are good questions or not it is not for you to decide) needs to ask the question and get answers. People who cross the border see one face, that officer sees hundreds of people every day and we can not expect him or her to ask the same questions over and over again with a smile. Don’t blame the officers for doing thier jobs and stop being little prima donna babies because the officer doesn’t play nicey-nice with you.

  40. Maze

    November 21, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I respect the Officers on Both Sides the Americans and Canadians, but I respect the Officers who actually do their job and do it well and are true professionals. However like some of the comments from I guess the border patrol officer(s) who may work there, people like that who were a nobody in life get this respectable job and make it a nightmare for good people who do cross between the two countries. Because they get a little bit of power they abuse it harshly and treat the people who are good citizens on both side like crap mean while criminals are actually sneaking pass your borders Mr and Mrs. smart pants on both sides. The amusing thing is they turn good people away whom never had a felony, who have good track records within their city and country who holds degrees or are in school or who are wealthy, or have a girlfriend or boyfriend that lives in both country and they shoot them down not because it is their job or because it was some wrong doing. no they shoot them down because they power trip and yes people there is something you can do about it so those peopl you can complain about and actually get them removed from their post because they are actually losing the country money when they are harsh and rude to good people. take note the comments of above, shut up and and answer questions we are keeping criminals from entering, that is Bull lololol I will tell you that is bull, you people have yet answered any question on why you all treat average normal people like crap. see that type of attitude is called little man syndrome. now it doesnt matter to me I am a federal agent from the US and to be honest I have no boundaries when entering your country however, some Border patrol on both side need to be more professional and still be able to maintain dignity and do their job if you cant do it this is not the field for you, also You are a border patrol officer the only difference between you and a security guad is that you patrol the border. People remember that if you have trouble something can be done about it

  41. Stan

    November 21, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I agree that you must be curteous, but when a guard is acting like an idiot, one must realize that its not a very pleasant thing to cross over. Woe to those male’s crossing over at night, they will search your car and give you a big headache for nothing. With this overkill, its not wonder that both sides will lose for those who feel that its no longer worth crossing the border no matter how fun one might have.

  42. teddy

    November 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

    So Stan and Maze…

    Can you please go to the border right now and tell them who they should be searching since you seem to know better than they do about who is a bad guy? I am guessing that you are experts in this field?

    Obviously, you think that they are not trained enough to find drugs or guns or child porn. Perhaps you should go in there and train them properly?!

  43. Bruno

    November 30, 2009 at 1:32 am

    To “had enough” :
    According to what you said, in the past 2 years you crossed the border at least 104 times. You said : “most of my experiences have been traumatic”. This means that you had 53 or more “traumatic experiences”. Are you sure that this is correct ? Did you ever ask to see a supervisor in any one of these “traumatic experiences” ? I hope you did !!! If you didn’t, I think that YOU have a problem !!!

    To “never again” :
    How many time do you think you cross the border in your entire life ? You stop to cross the border because of ONE “traumatic experience” ? I think that you and “had enough” are the biggest stubborn individual on the planet but for 2 very different reasons !!!

    To “John” :
    That’s the way to do it !!!
    “This is the most important line coming up next, read it carefully everyone…If you think you are mistreated, go inside the building and talk to a Supervisor, if you don’t then you have no right to complain, plain and simple. ”

    Have a nice day 🙂

  44. Lee

    November 30, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I’m curious. People here keep talking about border guards along the Canadian/US border protecting their respective country from the evils of the other country, and what an important job it is.

    Would someone do tell, please, which side of the border is the “evil” side?

    Isn’t it fair to say that there are evil people on both sides of the border? What exactly are the border guards keeping out that isn’t also in existence on the other side of the border?

    Yes, there are clearly malicious border crossings (abducted children, tax evasion, etc.) But I, as a US citizen, do not see our border guards along the Canadian border as protecting me from the unwashed masses of raping, pillaging, child molesting Canadians.

    Perhaps I’m just naive.

  45. Eugene

    December 1, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I have read this thread on and off in the last few months and am thankful there is a forum for everyone to express their interest, concerns and kudo’s.

    Having been a Border Services Officer (BSO) (Customs Inspector) for nearly a quarter century many of these comments make me equally chuckle and are embarassing as well.

    The Canadian public in general does not truly understand the responsibilities of a BSO. Their experience is limited to making a declaration to an officer “at the little booth” when re-entering Canada and making hard interpersonal judgements based upon this short conversation.

    Being referred inside for a vehicle inspection or paying applicable taxes does not equate to rudeness. Crossing the border is a formal process and should be treated as such.

    While I find the vast majority of travellers/clients to be decent, honest people, there is a hard core group that are not and not easily identified. They may be your family member, neighbour or friend….smuggling everything from drugs to child pornography. Identifying them is as difficult for us as it would be for you.

    Have I personally seen Officers treat travellers in an abrasive, rude manner. Yes and it embarrasses everyone. What you don’t see are those wonderful moments of compassion..when someone is suffering mentally or physically and an officer arranges care or gives a few dollarrs of their own so someone can have a hot meal or coffee. There are no absolutes…people have good and bad traits. Good days and not so good days.

    I have one client who always “thanks me for my service” as he drives away. It means alot. If you are treated poorly by all means ask for a Supervisor. If the officer is trying to do hios/her job then try to be understanding. We are all on the same side.

  46. m. Grandy

    December 12, 2009 at 3:56 am

    We are retired full time RVers and have suffered attitude by both American and Canadian border guards. Some like the power and rude approach and some are nice and kind. Both sides of the border are equally in need of training. Don’t be upset at the guards, they are performing to the standards set by their superiors. Yell at the guys allowing the guards their attitude and maybe it will make a difference.

  47. JT

    December 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    As I have stated before I am an American that loves to travel up to Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton, and sometimes even Kelowna. While I have run into some guards that do seem to need an attitude adjustment, I will say the majority of the Canadian guards I have dealt with have been professional and friendly. The only time I ever had a Canadian guard really cross the line of rudeness was when I was dating a Canadian lady and the guard told me that I “better keep it in my pants” that was way back in 2002 and I have not seen that guard around for several years.

  48. AOM

    December 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I am an American, and I have travelled to Canada 6 times so far through different border crossings, but I have yet to encounter a rude Canadian border guard. They typically appear quite dry and unfriendly at first, but when you start talking to them in a friendly manner, most of them soften up. The US border guards were also not mean, but they were dry and official throughout the entire interaction. Whilst Canadian guards could be inconsistent in their procedure (sometimes scanning passport, sometimes not even opening it), the US guards always asked same set of questions and always scanned the documents. Overall, I like Canadian border guards a little more because they seem more human to me. However, it may the reason for rude behaviour as well.

  49. Ismail

    December 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    OK… I read all these comments carefully, and I do understand that the Canadian, and any other customs/border patrol officers have a primary task of catching illegal aliens, etc. But I am a U.S. citizen, and was coming to Canada last night via Peace Bridge, and not to immigrate, but to spend Christmas with my best friend and his family who happen to live in Toronto. It was not my first trip, and I always come for a few days. The Canadian border agent literally looked at me and made a face, which I can best describe as scornful. With no provocation, mind you. All I did was hand him my passport. For the first time in my life, someone had asked me if I’d ever been arrested, and if I had a weapon. Now, you all may not know me, but any person who is half-good at reading people can tell you I am not the type (and yes, these people are SUPPOSED to be trained at reading people.) Nevertheless, I decided to be pleasant and polite on purpose, just to see what he was going to do next. Well, after asking me all sorts of idiotic questions, and learning that I’d studied Arabic in college (AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE, MIND YOU!), he sent me to secondary inspection. The woman there was slightly less rude. Now, my issue is: was any of it necessary? Do Americans coming to Canada stir something up, or smuggle weapons here, or try to stay here illegally? Or is it a smaller body part complex toward us? Average people (like myself) surely do not deserve this, and I can easily stop coming here (which, at this point, I decided not to come to Canada without a compelling reason anymore.) I’ve crossed 5 borders this year alone, to include Israel, and nowhere have I been treated with open scorn and disgust. Not this year, and not ever. So, to me the myth of Canadians being nicer than Americans is kaput.

  50. Just another person

    March 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Ah yes everyone here has had different experiences while crossing borders. I like many have crossed a great many of them and dont think any border gaurd was ever rude. They may ask a question you dont expect here and again but that is their job. They are not supposed to be all smiles, they are their to flush out anyone that is doing/done anything illegal. As to Americans or any other countries citizens thinking Canadians are not nice because of one run-in then you are just being closedminded. Judging a whole nation because of one bad encounter is absolutley ridiculous. One must remember these people have a job to do and yes even if you have never done anything wrong in your life you will get pulled to the side and your car searched here and there. It happens to a lot more than just criminals. It is life stuff happens.

  51. Lisa

    March 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I recently crossed the border from canada into the united states. I was going to buffalo with a friend to look at a school. They questioned us because there was a guy who had a restraining order against a girl with the same first and last name as my friend. They than searched our car, and said we were free to go.
    i told my friend if anything happened to that guy while we were in Buffalo she was going to jail lol.

    I than went with my friend to Michigan to watch the circus. I dont think the person at the border really believed us so these are some of the questions we got lol.

    1. tell me again where are you going?
    2. why would they have a circus at 10am? beats me! probably becasue there are people like me willing to go lol.
    3. why did you leave your house at 5am? so we could make it to the circus on time, why else would someone leave at that time.
    4. Why do you have makeup with you? I mean if I was not a girl I would understand that question. Come on now, who wants to put on makeup at 5am, I am putting it on when i get there.
    5. where do you work?
    6. Where are you not at work today? mmmm people do get days off!

    I am not complaining by any means, He questioned us, serached our car and than when we came back into canada we got questioned and searched again. I actually find it amusing, so I plan on going to the states more, with stupid reasons Like I am going to watch a movie, or what ever else I can come up with. I like to hear the funny questions they ask me, and as much as I would love to give them funny answers I dont want to end up in jail lol.

    I do agree that they are doing their job and I would want to make sure they were asking questions and keeping criminals out of countries. I would not be able to do their jobs I would probably be letting anyoen through because I wouldnt want to sound like an ass by asking such ridiculous questions.

    So i applaude them for what they do and keeping us safe. However I will be back crossing the boarder next time I need a good laugh:)

  52. BK

    March 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Well it’s been 2 years since my wife’s last trip to the states through the Osoyoos crossing. The last time she went is kind of a funny story…now.
    We had just moved to Osoyoos from Northern BC and after unloading the moving truck I suggested that my wife take our overtired and cranky 2 year old for a drive. I suggested to drive over the border and get gas (as we were paying $1.44/lt at the time. So off she went for the 5 min. trek across the border. The US customs officer asked her the purpose and she said to get gas. He kind of smiled looked at our 2 year old(now fast asleep in his carseat) and let her pass.

    Now here is the funny part. After getting gas she realized that the line to get back to Canada was long. Real long. She waited 2 hours to get back. Moving, we hadn’t realized that maybe Sunday afternoon was NOT the best time to go across. When she gets to the window the officer asked for id. Passpports were not mandatory yet but proper id was required. Well she presented him with her id but had no id for our toddler. After much yelling and screaming AT her and many tears FROM her she was required to pull over and go inside. More yelling and a phone call to me telling me to bring some id for our child. Looking at the mountain of boxes and not knowing where to start I was also notified his BC CareCard would not work(of course it wouldnt…I had that in my wallet readily available) and that we would need his birth certificate to claim him. Now, a birth certificate has no more information on it than a Carecard. Neither have pictures to verify it’s the right kid.
    Long story ending quick…she was issued a warning and released 2 hours later..with child 🙂

    What I don’t understand is how the US officer smiled and let the child across yet it was complete opposite coming back. If this child was abducted and being brought into the US noone would’ve known or cared but if an American child was being smuggled into Canada all alarms were raised.
    I was upset at the time but I completely understand why it had to be done.
    Sometimes getting cheap gas just isn’t worth it.

  53. Bob Parker

    April 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    When crossing to the US at Osoyoos crossing recently I was pulled aside because of a radioactive alert from my vehicle. We quickly realized it was from a small compass in the glove box with glow-in-the-dark numbers. I had to go inside for questioning by the Homeland Security idiots. After nearly an hour I was allowed to leave but not before the guy barked at me “why am carrying a compass”?
    They are so afraid down there.

  54. john kirkman

    April 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Dirty border guards are policy in Canada. Don’t expect a change anytime soon because it’s clear the people in power are in on the take as well..

  55. Jenny

    April 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Well, whatever you do, don’t try to switch lanes once you’re at the border crossing at the Osoyoos entry. According to a certain border guard, that can cause chaos. So if you’re in the long line-up and the other line is going faster, tough luck! If you switch lanes, you’re going to cause chaos! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  56. Henry

    October 17, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Took family and dog to Banff by way of Osoyoos at 0600 in the morning. The Canadian guard was by far the most unfit officer I had ever encountered. His temperment and poor judgment made him completely ineffective for the job and essentially a bafoon. His anxiety and overzealousness to be the “big man behind the badge” only convinced me that he is his own worst enemy and his behavior will eventually catch up to him–hopefully, before he shoots some innocent tourist!

    • Greg

      September 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Get a load of this one. I purchased some motorcycle parts in the US and had them shipped to Oroville Washington which is just south of Osoyoos. While going through the border, the officer asked for my declared amount and we talked about the amounts. I will admit, I was nervous going thru because of the stories I’ve heard. After I went thru with my declaration card with the amount on it, I realized she had not put in the correct amount but it was signicantly lower than it should be. I went inside and informed the agent of the misunderstanding and that’s when it started. The officer then accused me of misrepresenting and threatened to seize my vehicle and the fines could be as high as $700.00. I asked him to go to the agent outside that I had initially talked to and clear it up. He came back and said she’s sticking to what she put on the card. After 2 hrs of searching thru my car and such, I left having to pay a $200.00 fine. I was the one that told them of the error and that’s how they treated it. I didn’t want to argue with the officer because they have the power to stop you from entering the country or seizing vehicles which he mentioned. I was very distressed. Not a good experience. I was treated like a criminal when in fact I had tried to make it right by informing them of the mistake. They’re on a power trip. I understand the levity of their position, but use your head! Just a tax grab. They collect taxes and fines in the name of security. What a joke.

  57. Emily

    October 11, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Its not that surprising to hear the Canadian side is so terrible. Glad we have never had problems crossing. The most we ever get pulled in for is a fault in their system saying my husband has an open investigation going in the military. We show them a paper and they let us pass. This is at the sumas crossing in Abbotsford though. Going to the states is absolutely horrid. We get searched, our vehicle gets searched every time. My new jacket was destroyed because they swore we had drugs that didnt exist in the car. I was lucky to get through with a 1 week pass as a lot of my stuff was at my husbands home that time. They claim i am trying to work in America for absurd reasons and make me show proof of employment when i come through. We get belittled and screamed at for no reason whatsoever. My husband is very calm and respectful and recently retired from the military coming back to his own country. I have heard of the US working in the Canadian offices before, which is just craziness to me. Hopefully all of our luck will turn with border experiences in the future.

  58. Border

    March 21, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Here are the most typical border guards attitudes and tourism-killing:

    Typical case 1:
    “He was as asked if he was unemployed and why he was not looking for a job and what was the problem why he hadn’t found a job … I don’t think being unemployed is a crime … but he (the officer) made us feel it was,” said his partner in her complaint letter of September 2005, after crossing back into Canada at Sarnia.”

    Typical 2:
    “Are you married? What? Why? why aren’t you married? Why? So you come here to find a boyfriend/girlfiend, eh? (wink) very goood (wink)?” (racism very much intended, if you’re not white)

    Typical 3:
    “I guess you didn’t realize you were coming to (a) whole other country … I guess you just didn’t give a s—t, did you?”

    Typical 4 (case):
    “I was appalled at the attitude, tone and disrespectful manner in which this officer performed (or did not perform) her duties. To put it bluntly, she was a bully on a power trip,” wrote a Canadian resident who returned on a bus from a three-day shopping to New York State.

    Typical 5 (When coming back from abroad, necessary though, for a high-risk national security like KGB or Gestapo)
    “Where did you visit”? “How long were you away”? “Where did you live”? and “What work did you do”?

    Typical 6 (When leaving, again, racism intended if you have a certain looks)
    “You go now! And don’t come back!”

    Typical 7:
    “How dare you ask question on my authority.. Don’t you know who I am? who do you think you are? I’ll arrest you”

    Typical 8:
    “Hmmm.. Young and unemployed (or not a sure good income where you come from). Why coming here? Immigrating eh? NOT welcome!!”

    Typical 9 (intimidation):
    “Smile! Life is beautiful!”

  59. Rogers

    March 21, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    The female CBSA officers at Pearson are the worst. I am a Canadian Citizen, who was coming back to Pearson Airport in Toronto form abroad. I was just walking towards the CBSA female at normal pace. There was NO one behind me. When she just started screaming and yelling at me with a frown & scowl on her face ” YOU ARE HOLDING THE LINE. GET ON WITH IT ” The whole time, I didn’t say a word and handed her the declaration card. Even after that her tone, body language, expressions were extremely rude, arrogant, aggressive and condescending. She then threw the card back at me aggressively and again asked me to move on. Sadly complaining against her would have only made things worse. More bullying, intimidation & harassment and power tripping. These glorified security guards and CRA revenue collectors cannot be touched irrespective of their behaviour, so don’t go down to their level & maintain your class & dignity. Doing your job is one thing, and power tripping & being unprofessional & disrespectful is something else.

  60. conky

    May 21, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    You people are ridiculous. A border agent does not need to be a prick to properly vet a traveller. That’s it.

  61. Michael Bol

    August 29, 2016 at 9:22 am

    They have a hard job, no excuse to be rude, but so many travelers are offended by being asked even simple questions such as ‘what was the purpose of your stay’ that most complaints are unfounded.

  62. Janice Dorgan

    January 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    My retired parents were well abused by Canadian border guards after purchasing a classic car in Ohio and bringing it back home to Windsor. The initial secondary inspection had been taken care of, taxes and duties paid, but one of their brethren had it in their mind to ask my mother whether my father had paid $10,000 for the car. The purchase price was $6000. My mother had a cerebral aneurysm in 1990 and cannot remember what she has had for breakfast on ANY day. When she replied in the affirmative (totally unaware of what the answer was), my 73 year old father and 69 year old mother were separated, interrogated, accused, berated and called everything but tax paying Canadian citizens. My husband, who towed the car for my dad from Ohio, was deported. The 1946 Ford Coupe (a similar car my father regretted having sold in 1963)and their Ford Fusion were confiscated, they had their passports taken from them, and were threatened with jail time for being liars and criminals. My father, who had been separated from my mother and was scared for her welfare and stated of mind in the whole ordeal, finally just agreed that he was a liar and wanted to see his wife. After this ‘admission’, someone assigned a value of $10,000 to the car, in spite of having spoken to the seller of the car who told them the car was sold for $6000. When they were finally released, after having been fined, taxed, dutied, abused and disrespected, I was able to talk to my dad. All he could do was cry. When I wrote a letter of complaint to the union, the MP, the Prime Minister and anyone else I could think of, NOTHING was done. Canadian citizens do not have the right to know the name of their abuser at the border was the best response I had gotten.

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