Monday, November 13, 2006

Canada Customs

Customs officials are notoriously strict law enforcement officials. I've made a fair share of border crossings in my day, and while they usually go easily enough they are always a slightly stressful experience. Even when you aren't guilty of anything, having someone question your right to enter their country (regardless of whether or not it's also your country) is disconcerting.

There isn't a lot of difference in the efficiency of Canada Customs officers and United States Customs. The main difference is in their focus. Coming into the U.S., customs officers are worried that you are sneaking into the country to work. They don't ask you what you are bringing into the country (unless it's for business), and they don't try to collect duties. Canada Customs is the opposite. They aren't so worried about whether someone is sneaking into Canada from the U.S. to work, they are more worried about what you are bringing into the country, and whether or not it is taxable.

Canada Customs has also been known to collect materials they deem objectionable, even when the materialize are actually legal. In one particular case I heard about (but can't remember all the details), when the court ordered Canada Customs to return the materials, they had been "accidentally" destroyed. It sometimes seems that Canada Customs is a force unto itself.

So, with that in mind, I present the following poster that I found on RPG.net (click on the picture to see a larger version of it):

2 comments:

Michael Skeet said...

The goods in question were comic books, believe it or not. It was a notorious (at the time) Charter case involving freedom of speech. And this wasn't the first time Canada Customs (CCRA) had "accidentally" destroyed something it had been ordered to release; I believe the Glad Day bookstore in downtown Toronto had several shipments of books destroyed after being confiscated.

You were aware, weren't you, that the "RA" in CCRA is "Revenue Agency"? That's right: In Canada, customs and internal revenue are run by the same happy, helpful people.

Allan Goodall said...

The goods in question were comic books, believe it or not. It was a notorious (at the time) Charter case involving freedom of speech.

What comic books were they?

And this wasn't the first time Canada Customs (CCRA) had "accidentally" destroyed something it had been ordered to release; I believe the Glad Day bookstore in downtown Toronto had several shipments of books destroyed after being confiscated.

It was the Glad Day stuff that I was thinking about.

You were aware, weren't you, that the "RA" in CCRA is "Revenue Agency"?

Yeah, they changed that just before I left.

Here in the U.S., the immigration service has been called United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for the better part of three years. In spite of that, when I asked at the federal building in Jackson for the USCIS office, I got a blank stare until one of the security guards asked, "You are looking for immigration?" I don't know why they felt they had to change the name since "INS" is such a part of U.S. culture.