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This seems a rather timely subject considering the previous post I just viewed on issues crossing the border into Canada. I apologize for an duplicate verbiage, as the format would not allow me to write this all in one thread.

We spent nearly five years getting prepared for the last item on my bucket list, which was to ride via MC to Niagra Falls (the movie "One Week") really puts this experience in perspective IMO, and we did so with less than 24 hrs advance notice due to severe weather and twisters the day before, timing and dealing with my chronic health issues. After nearly six months, numerous back surgical consults and expensive pain management suggestions (such as the use of Fentanyl and Oxcyodone recommended for the rest of my life), tens of thousands of dollars spent and countless hours traveling to what were supposed to be the most renowned medical specialists in the city, I was told there was nothing more that could be done and all that was left was to try and relieve the pain as best they could and live with what is now left of my body.

After having traveled through customs at many check points on previous journeys over the years both in and outside the U.S., nothing prepared me for the abuse and obnoxious, rude and over-the-line treatment one might expect of a convicted criminal, by a young, very big-mouthed female Canadian Customs agent and her associates. Few words were said by anyone else during this experience and she was the only person that IMO, acted unprofessionally.

We are both ADA. I have spent most of the past 32 months, nearly 16-20/hrs/day in bed due to a severe spine injury, a few surgeries, second tumor removed from my neck in August 2010, kidney stones in Jan, and months of pain treated with Oxycodone, Fentanyl and other pain meds, two visits to the ER etc., and dealing with the adverse effects of a 35 yr bone infection in my face that was caused when my wisdom teeth were removed in the military in 1975. Treatment for that just in 2010 cost over $42k which took 32 years to find a surgeon that understand the condition, knew how to diagnose and treat it.

It was time to finally enjoy the bike we paid quite dearly for and spent even more upgrading what we felt was necessary four the level of comfort we needed to be able to ride due to both our medical adversities.

I went off almost all meds for a few days, experienced a very painful "HERXIMER" from detoxing, and finally felt like I needed to do this trip, NOW.

We drove straight through from Lehighton, Pa to Marietta, NY, near Rochester NY (aprox 335 miles). We called our AAA agent for assistance and advice where to stay at the Falls and were told there was a great Hotel in Canada, 1.5 miles from Customs and about $60 less than any in the U.S.

I had my hands full and was not able to take photos while driving. My companion does not care to take many pics, but the few we have are posted on the link below.

ACD SendPix body { font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;} p { margin: 8px 0px; } Niagra Falls 6/2/2011
See the photos here:
http://www.sendpix.com/albums/110605...d47bf115fb74e/


We called to confirm there was a room and headed to Rainbow Bridge to get into Canada, my companion (a 16 year social worker with a Master's degree) having waited 60+ years to see the Falls. I had been through this area on my first motorcycle cross country trip in 1980 and had fond memories of my travels through Canada, and was looking forward to another similar experience.

Note: There are no signs, warnings, placards or verbal issues mentioned by the U.S. border agents and they were extremely polite. We had not expected any issues and had also brought newly updated Passports.

This is about where our venture gets ugly.

We travel a few hundred yards to the Canadian check point and the polite man at the check point asks if I have any contraband. I ask what exactly does that include....at which point the very first thing he mentions is pepper spray. I say I did not see any signs posted indicating any items prohibited prior to entry, nor did my AAA agent mention anything.

I had just purchased a Kimber Guardian pepper spray and due to the stringent CCW laws, did not carry a firearm.

At this point we were "tagged" and requested we pull over at the Customs Station were we were met with at least 3, possibly four agents. One happened to be a very loud mouthed, verbally abusive and rather ignorant young woman in need of not only an attitude adjustment, but was in a position of authority which she, IMO, violated any parameters of decency, but was way out of line and the worse individual I have ever come across at any Customs Check Point I have ever been through.

They requested we open all the luggage, which I did. Since we were rather hot with all the safety gear on, we removed our jackets and helmets, setting them on the ground.

Both of my legs and feet are partially numb, and I can not stand for more than a few minutes since my L5-S1 surgery, without a great deal of pain. After one agent brought out a large PVC luggage rack to put our gear on, I asked if they could provide chairs for two elderly disabled people.

The one more pleasant of the two women then stated, "if you are that disabled, you should not be on a motorcycle!" One of the male agents asked for the key to the bike. I was about ten feet away from the man with a number of objects between him, and under handed tossed him the ignition key with ID/FOB, at which point I was accused of throwing the key at the man, who then dropped it. Every action was met with yet another statement as to how we were disrespecting the Country of Canada.

The abusive female agent the damaged our soft luggage zipper pull, as this was our first trip on the Gold Wing since buying it, and it was stuffed. She did not happen to mention this, and it was not until I reached a hotel two hours later than I notices the zipper pull had been seriously bent.

More than half an hour a verbal lashings from this one "out of control" and seemingly off balance individual, did we repack the bike and request our Passports back. They stated they would not give them back until we had the bike at the checkpoint and headed back to the U.S. and told not to return.

I had asked to either mail or in some way have my pepper spray returned, and that request was refused. The entire time this one female constantly referred to us both being disrespectful of Canada and their people.

My companion at this point had been balling her eyes out, with good reason.

I have extremely limited abilities to make any trip such as this and was the last item on my bucket list due to the nearly $1M in medical treatments, starting with a 6.5 hr complete thyroid removal for advanced cancer in 1998. I have done very little since and have never come close to regaining the life I had prior to that most unexpected diagnosis.

This was one of the best days I had experienced in years and felt I could deal with a couple of days riding, a day at the falls and a two days, much slower and scenic ride back home.

We made one last attempt to ride around the Falls on the U.S. side, with the roads in very bad shape and beating both ourselves and the bike, I decided I wanted nothing more to do with the Falls and needed to find a place to stay.

Two hours later we were in Corfu N.Y. for a less than appetizing meal at Denny's, and a much needed rest at the hotel directly across the street.

Even the women at the counter of Day's Inn were aware of the abusive Canadian Customs agents and even offered an additional discount for our troubles.

What bothers me more is the fact upon returning to the U.S. border, the agent there was very polite and mentioned there were many complaints about the Canadian women Customs agents, and nothing is being done about it.

Before going to bed that night I used "phone a friend", an x-military lifetime friend and recently retired MI police officer. He too stated he had a similar run in with a female border agent taking his son to Canada. I won't waste the time with his experience, but he was really astounded at her attitude. Won't mention more than that at this point and I do expect to file a formal complaint next week against this Niagra Falls Canadian Customs office.

We did not receive any list of prohibited items, which also include a pocket knife apparently. I do not recall seeing any name tags or ID, not to say they might not have been wearing any. They should have presented a business card of some official means of identifying who each of them were, or at least that of the most abusive and apparently higher ranking person of the four we dealt with.

We did not receive any paperwork and were constantly berated as to how disrespectful we were of Canada and that we were not welcome there. They would not even provide any directions for a place to stay now that our reservations for the Hotel only 1.5 miles from the Customs station had to be canceled.

I am just astounded at the entire experience. I would never go back and highly suggest if you have intentions of passing through this area, do some research on what they do or do not allow.

I had nothing more than a Kimber Guardian pepper spary in my pocket, and neither of us have any blemishes of any kind to have been concerned about.

The up side to the trip was the recently rebuilt 06 transmission of the Gold Wing was flawless, and was an absolutely wonderful bike to ride. I/we spent most of the 18 months we owned the bike having warranty items repaired or replaced, new alternator at 8K, the tranny rebuilt over the winter at 12k miles, what seemed like months of never ending rain or bad weather and a desire to fulfill this last wish to make this journey to the Falls on the Gold Wing.


All Rights Explicitly Reserved, With Prejudice
Wayne Brunner
Lehighton, Pa
 

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They may have been rude and I am not defending them.
I would say the reason you got tagged was because you were arguing with them.RED FLAG RED FLAG!!!!!!!!
When at any customs only answer the questions, do not offer any information.
Secondly why would you want to carry pepper spray or a firearm for that matter.

Sometimes on long weekends they will ask for contraband before you get to the no mans land, no questions asked. People will hand over pistols and drugs. The collection is massive.

Do yourself a favor when travelling to other countries and just play it super safe. It is no fun being arrested or detained in a foriegn country.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
MountianMama said:
They may have been rude and I am not defending them.
I would say the reason you got tagged was because you were arguing with them.RED FLAG RED FLAG!!!!!!!!
.
I see quite a few replies such as this, with many people complaining about persons in positions of authority, out of control. It really doesn't seem to mean too much until they are caught on camera, and then its a totally different reality. You Tube is full of such content.

I could not have been more pleasant or cooperative with these people. That one agent has a serious problem. On the other hand, if the U.S. had agents like this on the Mexican border without means to otherwise cross into the U.S., we would not have the problems we now see here.

I last traveled through much of Canada via motorcycle 32 years ago. I had hoped to spend one day reliving some of that experience and sharing it with my companion.

If my post saves one rider on this forum the BS we endured by what I felt was very rude behavior by one agent with a really poor attitude, great. The U.S. border agent after asking how our visit was to Canada, stated there were MANY complaints made about how U.S. citizens were being treated badly by Canadian Customs at Niagra Falls.

:wave
 

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Canadians eh ? Take off you Hoser !!!!

You should try crossing the border as a musician....:rotf:
The correct answer to the contraband question is NONE !
As soon as you gave the wrong answer you got to meet Helga...
Helgas job is to give you so much grief and insult that you'll just turn around and go back home...

Helga did her job...Really, She did.. That is exactly what her job is...She enjoys it..

You're lucky they didn't take all your drugs and keep them too..

John
 

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I don't care if you had a grenade launcher and a kilo of coke, and in fact failed to declare them. That is still no excuse for bullying and attitude. Border officers can (and most do) take any sort of enforcement action, through most challenging and difficult scenes, while maintaining basic respect for the 'subject'. Doing whatever, but doing it professionally, with dignity for both parties intact. There is no need to put up with the Helgae of this world.

CBSA has really cranked up the complaint process. Their equivalent of an assistant deputy minister reads each and every complaint, all reports and all corrective action taken. No small task. If the complaint is warranted, action will be taken. The reply you get, with good reason, may not state "we hung Helga from the flagpole for 12 hours, upside down" but action will be taken. Especially if Helga's name keeps cropping up in several complaints.
 

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my first trip to Canada (i only lived about 3 miles from the border at the time) took about 3 hours to get across the border. When asked where i was coming from i said "What? oh Washington" (DUH) they told me to pull over to customs. When they found out my 11 year old daughter and i dont have the same last name they went nuts, seperated us, interogated her about who am I and is she OK, meanwhile the other "agents" had removed the seats from my car and were going through everything i had. The entire time they were talking to me like I am some kind of escaped felon. When they didnt find anything and FINALLY got through to my daughters mom in AZ they decided I could then repack my stuff :mad: and go on my way. Definately my last trip over the border.
 

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Imagine, if you will - just for a second - that it was not you, but somone else, who was crossing the border with your daughter.
Methinks that puts the 'interogation' in a totally different light. With a shot of appreciation.
:cool:
 

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MountianMama said:
<snippet>... Secondly why would you want to carry pepper spray or a firearm for that matter.<snippet>
I can think of a dozen reasons, including protection of self and passenger from all manner of bad guys, and to (try to) ward off bears.

FWIW, I thought pepper spray was explicity allowed into Canada, in certain forms and volume.

-----------------------
Wayne: I'm so sorry to hear of your lousy treatment by these not-so-civil servants. I hope the foul taste of this encounter goes away quickly.
 

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Ah yes, my last visit to the great white north was July 2010. It seems there must be a standard list of questions that must be answered when entering the county to the North.

While my wife and I were entering, the first question from the border officer was "and how many people will be entering Canada today?" Now, considering my wife and I were riding two up on our LT, a THOUSAND answers came to mind, of course I answered, dutifully, "2".

the rest of the entry went just fine...........but man, i'm still coming up with one liners for that question!
 

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A very simple 30 second google search gave me this:

Q. What do I need to bring my firearms into Canada?
A. ALL fully automatic weapons, handguns and pepper spray are prohibited in Canada.
You must obtain a gun permit for your guns. Refer to www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca. You may bring a hunting rifle or shotgun into Ontario for hunting or Competition purposes in you are 18 years of age or older. Firearms must be Registered for a fee of $25. This permit is valid for a period of 60 days. You can also bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition for hunting or 1,500 rounds for use at a recognized shooting competition. Any amounts of ammunition in excess must be tax paid.
For more information contact 1-800-731-4000 or (705) 329-7662 or visit the Canadian
Firearms Centre at www.cfc-caf.gc.ca

For information on traveling to Canada please visit: www.travelcanada.ca or call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232).
 

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Wayne,
Sorry to hear of your experience. I must say though that the treatment does go in both directions. I won't go into all of the details but pre- passport requirement days many years ago, I once visited Niagara,CA. Upon my return I had the most horrible experience with a U.S. Customs agent despite showing 2 forms of goverment issued photo ID he was yelling at me about not carrying a birth certificate. Well that's the short version anyway. Glad your bike treated you well.
 

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MountianMama said:
A very simple 30 second google search gave me this:

Q. What do I need to bring my firearms into Canada?
A. ALL fully automatic weapons, handguns and pepper spray are prohibited in Canada.
You must obtain a gun permit for your guns. Refer to www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca. You may bring a hunting rifle or shotgun into Ontario for hunting or Competition purposes in you are 18 years of age or older. Firearms must be Registered for a fee of $25. This permit is valid for a period of 60 days. You can also bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition for hunting or 1,500 rounds for use at a recognized shooting competition. Any amounts of ammunition in excess must be tax paid.
For more information contact 1-800-731-4000 or (705) 329-7662 or visit the Canadian
Firearms Centre at www.cfc-caf.gc.ca

For information on traveling to Canada please visit: www.travelcanada.ca or call 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232).


You can bring pepper spray...but it must be labeled Bear Spray...go figure! :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
flyinguy68 said:
Wayne,
Sorry to hear of your experience. I must say though that the treatment does go in both directions. I won't go into all of the details but pre- passport requirement days many years ago, I once visited Niagara,CA. Upon my return I had the most horrible experience with a U.S. Customs agent despite showing 2 forms of goverment issued photo ID he was yelling at me about not carrying a birth certificate. Well that's the short version anyway. Glad your bike treated you well.
Interesting you should bring this up. The only person I was able to reach that evening was a friend from the military and a retired full time LEO from MI. He too said he had the same problem taking his son to Canada. He was aware of the two pieces of photo ID, which he handed the woman. She then said something like, "did I ask you for two piece of photo ID, NO, so how about doing what I ask!" She then asked who the other person was, and he said it was his son. She then said, "I would like to see two photo ID's for your son." He was outraged at the way in which he was treated.

Another man that lives in Washington State and only 1 mile from the Border, stated he took his 11 yr old daughter to Canada. They were pulled over when they found out they had different last names. They were put in separate rooms and interrogated for three hours! That was his last trip.

I also spoke with a gentleman in his 80's last night. He said 12 yrs ago on a bus trip to the falls, the drive begged everyone to not say one word unless spoken to. He said in the past they took all 40 passengers off the bus for interrogation, tore the bus apart and wasted a great deal of time.

I could go on and on with the replies I have received so far.

As I mentioned previously, I no longer have an LT and have not been on this board for a long time. However, I find the people her much more polite and civil than those on the Wing forum, so I wanted to pass this along here.

I also called my AAA travel agents I have used for over 25+ yrs. Both said they were totally unaware this type of behavior was taking place at the Canadian Border.

I offered to leave the spray on the U.S. side, ship it home (just bought it), anything to try and keep our hotel reservations only 1.5 miles from the crossing. They would not allow it and told us never to return.

I called the Hampton Inn last night, and the man that answered said they are too well aware of the problem, and this is happening to them as well.

That was my last venture to Canada. Beyond that, IMO, it is not even worth going to see the Falls. 30 yrs ago, the Falls was the attraction. It is now dwarfed by the many high rise commercial building surrounding them, making the Falls look rather insignificant.

Shame it ruined what otherwise was looking to be a superb vacation.
 

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It goes both ways. I have been hassled at the border by the U.S. guys just as often as coming back into Canada by Canadian customs.
 

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Your are right that you were not treated as courteously as you could have been BUT you brought a concealed weapon into Canada.

BTW that is a federal offence. Not knowing it was illegal is no excuse, as you can imagine.

You are lucky you were not arrested.

Canadians don't carry guns or pepper spray or stun guns etc. Check out our murder rates vs the U.S., per capita.

I am not knocking the U.S. in anyway btw. I am an American, having lived in both Canada and the U.S.

I got a good chuckle the other day reading a post on MC touring. The topic of the post was do you "pack" a gun while travelling.
That scenario is so foreign to Canadians that they can't even imagine it.

So when ya come to Canada.... you don't need to be "packin" anything.
 
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