Got nabbed for a DUI in 1975? Inhaled as a teen? Got caught shoplifting Dr. Scholl’s gel foot-support inserts at CVS? Turn around, you’re not getting into Canada any time soon.
Ok, Canada might not be your premiere vacation destination, but geez, the land of Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion has recently gotten ultra-strict on their immigration rules. Earlier this year, many Americans trying to cross the border into Canada-land by car got a little surprise when the border patrol didn’t exactly wave them past check-point. A new system database refined between U.S. Homeland Security and Canadian intelligence has made it near-impossible for anyone who has a minor offense on their record (say, possession of marijuana in Iowa or shoplifting in Nevada) to cross the border.
The agreement began in 2002, but apparently they just fine-tuned their database, because until about five months ago, this wasn’t even an issue. According to reports, this idea was conceived post-9/11. Go figure.
The San Francisco Chronicle has a commentary with one scenario that could hit close to home with some crazy college partiers out there: One man was involved in a fraternity prank. He was on a scavenger hunt and was dared to steal something from the Piggly Wiggly supermarket. Man got caught. Man had to pay a fine and sweep the police station parking lot as punishment…20 years ago. He forgot his mistake, but Canadian police did not.
Moral of the story: If you want to get into Canada and you’ve been a bad girl or boy, you should apply for a “Minister’s Approval of Rehabilitation” to wipe your record clear.
And considering a recent research study found that 1 in 3 Americans have abused alcohol or gone into rehab in their lifetimes, I’m pondering, does this mean George Bush can’t go to Canada? Hey, at least we know Paris Hilton won’t be going skiing in British Columbia in the near future.