ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Welcome to Canada …. NOT!

January 29th, 2010
Listening To  Armin - Communication

You hear all the time about US Customs being the worst in the world, and, although I have been rather lucky everytime I’ve been there, I can see why some people wouldn’t like them.

Canada however, you imagine a nice friendly place - after all, I’m sure they bill themselves as the “nice version” of the USA (or maybe they don’t and that’s Southpark teaching me that).

What I can tell you with 100% certainty though, is that image is a load of bollocks, 100 million percent.

But why? I shall explain.

So I land yesterday at Ottawa airport after an hour long trip from New York on what can only be described as the smallest plane in existence, which in a way was kinda cool, just a shame there was no where to put my hand luggage.

Anyway, I’m at the front of the plane, so I can quickly escape once it’s landed and get through customs before everyone else to meet Ashley… however, that was not meant to be.

The first bit is simple enough; hand my passport over, get asked a few basic questions and then wait for the stamp. “You need to go into the immigration office and they can stamp you in” I’m told. Again, simple enough, but, this is where things start to go wrong.

I head into the immigration office, where the following conversation with the Immigration Officer ensues:

Me: Hello
Her: Hello, what is your purpose in Canada?
Me: I’ve come to see my friend Ashely
Her: What is her surname?
Me: erm, nuts, ah yes, Wright
Her: And her address?
Me: No idea, she lives in London, but is staying here with her parents
Her: And she is your girlfriend?
Me: No, just friend.
Her: And how do you know her?
Me: We met in Japan, we both taught English there.
Her: And what’s her date of birth?
Me: Erm, huh? I .. don’t know.
Her: Well how old is she?
Me: Er, not sure, maybe 23 or 24?
Her: And what does she do?
Me: Oh she’s at Uni, but working part time at Starbucks at the moment.
Her: And which Uni is she at?
Me: Err…
Her: What subject does she study?
Me: Err…
Her: Ok - so where will you stay?
Me: In the old prison hostel.
Her: Who booked it?
Me: Her
Her: I see, why don’t you just stay at her house?
Me: Oh, she has an evil stepmom and didn’t want me to
Her: Ok, So what things do you want to see in Ottawa?
Me: Well, Ashley.
Her: Apart from Ashely, what else?
Me: Nothing really, I just came to see her.
Her: Can you name anything famous in Ottawa?
Me: Err…
Her: What about your job, what do you do?
Me: Web designer.
Her: So you can work from anywhere?
Me: (Slowly) Yes.
Her: So you can work from Canada?
Me: In theory.
Her: Do you have any current work on?
Me: No.
Her: Right - how many bags do you have with you?
Me: 2, one here and one on the belt.
Her: Ok, if you go get your one of the belt and come back here with it.
Me: Ok

So off I go to get it and on my return she tells me to “follow her” and I am taken into a seperate room where a male immigration officer is there.

Him: Ok, if you just put your bags up here, just need to give them a quick search.
Me: Sure

He then proceeds to look through my suitcase, paying particular attention to my lucky pig.

Him: What’s this? A lucky mascot?
Me: Yes, I take it everywhere.

Then continues to go through everything else, all the time asking exactly the same questions as the first woman.

Him: So what do you do?
Me: Webdesigner.
Him: For a company or yourself?
Me: Myself
Him: Do you have any business cards?
Me: No
Him: Do you have a website?
Me: Yes
Him: What is it?

He then uses him computer a loads up the homepage and starts asking various questions about it, how long have I been doing it, where are the servers, how many clients etc etc, before continuing on.

Him: So you are here to visit your friend Ashley?
Me: Yes
Him: So did you come to marry her?
Me: Huh? No, just a friend!!!
Him: I see…
Me: Why? Does this happen a lot?!?!
Him: Yes, many people come here to meet a woman off the internet for the first time - and it doesn’t work out well.


He then switches attention over to my laptop, “can you turn it on and log it in please” … so I do.

And now comes the bit I am most angry about - he then starts a complete search of the computer, including doing the following:

  • Logging into my Facebook account and checking my inbox
  • Logging into my Tagged account, checking my friends list and then going into the inbox
  • Searching through all my browser history
  • Loading up Outlook and checking emails
  • Loading up MSN Messenger and READING through my chat history
  • Loading up my “My Pictures” folder and browsing through all my photos
  • Looking through my “My Documents” folder and opening random files

And then coming out with the best question EVER: “Do you have any hentai movies on here?”


I said no, but why? What did it matter if I did. He told me they are illegal in Canada. I asked why? And was told that anything that depicts younger women and/or violent sex is an offence to own here. He said I wouldn’t be arrested, but they would delete it if they found it.

Him: So if I run a scan on this PC, nothing will come up?
Me: No

So he did …. but of course nothing came up (lucky I left my portable HD at home, hahaha)

Finally, after 45 minutes of checking through everything, he said that was ok and then asked to see my cellphone and camera, which were both checked through - although I had just replaced the memory card, so not much really on there.

And then, at last, I was free to go.

But seriously, what the fuck. How can they have the right to go through all my personal files like that? It should have been pretty obvious from all the asian porn links in my history that I most definitely was not in Canada to hook up with a white girl? And who does that anyway!??! Leave from the UK to go live in Canada???

Bollocks to coming here again if I need to go through all that for a second time!!

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One Response to “Welcome to Canada …. NOT!”

  1. Mike Says:

    As a Canadian, I can fully attest to the truth of what you’ve written!! Even _I_ dread going to Canada because the immigration officers are such total pricks. You’d think it’s a crime to smile in Canada when you go in there. Yet on my first visit to New York, which I made in March and was worried that I’d get berated by some immigration dude, I found the entire immigration area to be just a welcome-to-New-York experience. Actually, I find the US friendlier than Canada even beyond customs.

    Anyway, sorry you had such a shit introduction to Canada. Back in ‘86 I was sharing a room with a nutbar Belgian-Canadian woman who always had her customs-officer cop-wannabe idiot jerkoff boyfriend over. What a tool. Huge insecurity complex and an equally oversized mustache to match (all the cop wannabes have them). I think he’s about the average mentality and general sociopath disposition of most of his douchebag brethren. But that experience of yours really takes the cake. You should have gone to the real cops and lodged a complaint.

    And I know that prison hostel. I actually was schnogging a bit up there with a German girl I met there up near the execution room with the hanging rope. Booya! Oh! Canada! Took the edge off the customs experience, at least!

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