It’s great to be back in Canada. We love the people, and in the last few years we’ve made a lot of friends. But it wasn’t easy getting here.
Never mind driving from Atlanta to Detroit in one day. We’re used to that. And never mind even the paperwork: the Labour Market Opinions and work permits and Regulation 105 Waiver Applications. Those are nothing new.
This time the border guards went through our things and searched our van with dogs. A dog sniffed each of us as we waited in the Immigration office. It smelled under the benches where we sat and in the potted plants nearby. It wasn’t just us. The dogs were sniffing lots of cars and people.
Our papers were in order. We passed the dog test. We paid for the work permits, and they let us in. But it was a nerve-wracking few hours.
Going to Europe is much easier. They ask a few questions and then stamp your passport. Why does Canada have to be so hard? From all we’ve heard, it goes both ways. Many Canadian bands booked in the States have been refused entry.
The guards told us there’s been a lot of pressure from above to tighten things up. They don’t seem to like it either. It means more paperwork and sometimes going without lunch when a difficult case like ours walks in.
I’m wondering if it’s a matter of not so much retaliation as keeping up with the Joneses. There’s talk now in Congress of muscling up the U.S. Border Patrol until it’s more than double the size of the FBI. Bill Maher said under the proposed plan they could place an agent every 250 feet along the Mexican border. Politifact checked his math and came up with 258 feet. Canada, which has only one border, gets their share of this muscle. Maybe they feel pressure to push back.
The guards were very polite and repacked the van more neatly than they had found it.
Welcome to Canada.
We’re happy to be here.