Monday, July 14, 2008

CBSA Meet The Hague Convention

A few days ago on my way back into Canada I was questioned repeatedly by a Canada Border Service Agent whether or not I had a letter of permission to take my children out of Canada from their father.

I questioned her about her authority to ask me this question as I was bringing my canadian born children (with recent passports) back into the country. Not only that but she kept repeated the incorrect number of children that I had in the vehicle - 3 not 2 - which tells me her eagle eye for things askew was a bit askew itself.....

She continued to dogmatically repeat her question - did I have a notarized letter from the father? I advised her that I have never been questioned by the American border guards about whether or not I had permission (and they are the ones who would be denying my travel). She responded that was because the Americans don't care about Canadians and their custody and guardianship status.

At this statement I balked as I know that the Americans care very much who is coming into their country. They have signed onto The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1988). Albeit they signed 5 years after Canada did - but the intention was the same - to assist parents in stopping or having their children repatriated to their native countries if they are unlawfully removed (Elian Gonzales ring any bells?).

So why was this Canadian border guard giving me the raspberry on an issue that she had no remedy for? Could she detain me in some sort of fashion like the Tom Hanks movie The Terminal? Living at The Peace Arch with my three kids.... limbo. No she could not deny me entry back into my country with my Canadian born child (with valid Canadian Passports - which their father had to sign for). Given that the kids have valid passports there is in implicit consent by HWSNBN is somewhat ADVISED that the kids are traveling into foreign lands.

But more to the point isn't it the job of the CBSA to make sure that they are protecting Canada by vetting international travelers that wish to mingle among us? Isn't their job to collect 'lost taxes' from shop happy Canadians returning home? Aren't they there to ensure that people aren't bringing back any biological pesticides / foreign invaders to keep our agricultural areas safe?

Did she ask if I am going to be visiting a farm? No
Did she ask if I had anything to declare? No

Buts he did ask if I had purchased any firearms or knives / weapons during my trip.

PULEEEZE. How many overweight mid 30's moms with three pre school aged kids have time to go shopping in the states during a day trip let alone have time to pick up a firearm?

What ever happened to common sense?

1 comment:

The Southern Skyes said...

Sometimes common sense isn't common at all!