Monday, October 17, 2011

Hugh Adami: Canada customs officer should explain shabby treatment of American

Ottawa Citizen

Hugh Adami: Canada customs officer should explain shabby treatment of American

By Hugh Adami, The Ottawa Citizen October 17, 2011

Derrick Hayden, is an American who was treated poorly by Canada Customs at the Ottawa Airport and sent home because they thought he was lying about something. For column by Hugh Adami

Could Canada customs officer, badge number 16321, call this newspaper, please, to explain why your colleague was so vile with an American who flew to Ottawa on Oct. 3?

And while he’s at it, 16321 might want to explain why he was a bit of a jerk, too.

Because really, if Derrick Hayden’s version of events is even close to accurate, then 16321’s cohort — who kicked the Boston-area man out of the country after apparently belittling him — deserves a transfer to Correctional Service of Canada to see how he would fare treating prison inmates the same way.

Hayden says the customs officer accused him of lying, called him a coward and suggested he act like a man. He rifled through Hayden’s bags, read his cellphone texts and looked to see what was on his tablet computer.

“I think he just didn’t like Americans,” says Hayden, whose grandparents, as well as his wife’s, were Quebecers who settled in the U.S.

Hayden planned to spend a few days in Ottawa with a friend he knows through the classroom-office furniture company he works with — Chicago-based Sedia Sytems — and then visit a job site here and in Montreal.

In Ottawa, he planned to do a quality-control check on furniture sold to Export Development Canada, a Crown corporation, then visit another customer in Montreal before returning home Oct. 7.

Instead, about four hours after arriving in Ottawa at on Oct. 3, he was on a plane back to Providence, Rhode Island, via Philadelphia.

Hayden says he doesn’t know why he was treated so badly. He says he comes to Canada frequently on business, and until last week, never had any problems with Canadian customs agents at airports or border crossings. This was his first trip to Ottawa, so a good first impression is obviously out the window.

Hayden says he had all the necessary travel documents and doesn’t have a criminal record. He says he was polite and answered every question asked by four customs officers, including the real tough guy who eventually told him he would be on the next flight to the U.S.

At one point, says Hayden in an email he sent to the Citizen before our telephone conversation, the officer told him something like this: “You are not in the U.S. anymore. Once you got on that plane this morning, you were in Canada and have to obey our rules.

“I’m not sure how you do things in your country, but we do not like liars and do not let them in. Under Canadian law, I can arrest you for lying to me and my partner. You will be booked on a flight home, and don’t ever come back to my country.”

Hayden says he doesn’t know what led the customs officers to believe he was lying to them, but says he was told in so many words that they suspected he was planning to stay in Canada longer and work illegally. He says he had his hard hat and two shirts with the company logo in his luggage.

He says he was peppered with questions by officer 16321, who then conferred with the agent who went after Hayden at full throttle. His questions were the same, says Hayden. He figures the agent was trying to get different answers than he gave 16321 and trap him in a lie.

“I said: ‘You know, I don’t know what you want me to say. If you want a letter from my boss, if you want to call him, (I) can do whatever you need.’”

At that point, says Hayden, the officer told him with a raised voice: “‘It’s too late for that. You’re not coming into my country. I’m not letting you in.’”

Hayden says he spent about two-and-a-half hours at Canada customs. The first officer asked him a series of questions before sending him to the second agent. That agent questioned him, made a note on a document and then sent him down a hallway to the third officer — 16321. Then, he was handed to King Kong.

When 16321 escorted him to the airport’s U.S. customs side, he was finally able to go to the washroom, and grab something to eat and drink. His cellphone was returned and he was given a ticket for a 3:50 p.m. flight. He was again told he was being kicked out because he was clearly lying about something.

Officer 16321 presented him with a form to sign that acknowledged he was withdrawing his application to enter Canada. Though Hayden was told he would be free to return another time by signing the form, he wonders if he will be, now that his U.S. passport has been flagged.

A U.S. customs officer told Hayden to file a complaint with his congressman because he didn’t think there were any grounds not to grant him entry. He plans to do so, but he has already sent emails to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Prime Minister’s Office.

“I’m sure Canada wouldn’t be happy (with Canada customs) treating Americans this way,” says Hayden. “We’re all supposed to get along.”

The CBSA says it can’t say much about the matter because of the Privacy Act, but “we can tell you our information is inconsistent with yours.

“A person may be deemed inadmissible for a number of reasons …. Individuals who provide inaccurate or incomplete information at the time of their admissibility may be subject to enforcement action and may be prohibited from returning to Canada.”

CBSA says it will investigate the complaint and respond to Hayden.

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Glen and Jennifer

6:11 AM on 10/17/2011

I gave Senator Bob Runciman evidence of similar and worse treatment of myself when he visited Ogdensburg for a meeting October 7, 2011 at the Remington Museum. This type of abuse is being taught at the Rigaud training center in Vaudreuil near Montreal. An agent is considered "seated" only once he learns to be disrespectful of certain visitors who can expose their secret mandate.