I crossed from the U.S. at Calais Me, over the NEW relocated border station into Canada, and there was no customs official at the gate.
This was on a Friday morning, about 2:30am. Before entering the border crossing, i went in to the Duty Free store outside the facility and bought a
carton of smokes and a bottle of Liquor. The guy in the Duty Free store told me to beware of the sign that either the U.S. or Canadian government had
put up outside the store, which said " To Canada", with an arrow pointing to the right. He warned me that the sign was placed too close to the
"private" road that, if you went down it, you may fall off an embankment, which is at the end of the dirt road. He said to keep going about 100
meters and I would be on the pavement, which was the correct turn to take that would bring me to the "NEW" border crossing, recently constructed ,
that is the new Calais, ME. crossing into Canada.
This new border crossing cuts off the central parts of the border towns, Calais, ME and St. Stephen NB which are connected by a bridge. and instead,
connects travelers directly to route 1A in New Brunswick, so that they do not have to travel through these fantastically rural and friendly towns. (
as a side-note, can you imagine the US and Canada doing this to those little towns who's main existence thrives on the through-traffic flowing
between them to survive? They have been here for a few hundred years.)
So, heeding the duty store clerk's warning, I did just that. He was certainly correct, because, If he had not told me, (being totally dark, 2:30
AM), I would have taken that dirt road that the sign was pointing to after leaveing the duty free store, and probably would have wound up as a wreck
at the bottom of a ravine.
Anyway, I got on to the marked paved road, and proceeded in to the border crossing complex. It is real modern, huge buildings, lots of offices and
warehouse type buildings. I past the U.S. entry position , which was on the left, and followed the directions in to the Canadian border entry. There
was a sign that directed trucks to one side, and cars to the other. I entered the "cars" section, and after traveling down the road I saw the border
stations, 4 across. The one with the Green signal light, was on the left, and the others had red signals, which mean that they were closed. I
entered the Green station and pulled up to the Customs Kiosk.
No person was at the window.
I waited about 5 minutes, thinking that the customs officer was probably in the bathroom or something. There was no orange cone in the road, which I
was told would be required , if the customs official was going to be away from the post , and that would signal me to wait there.
Finally, I backed up about 200 ft, just to make sure I had read all of the signs completely, and there were no warnings, information or anything at
all, just that Green signal over the leftmost row, that I was in. I beeped my horn a few times and then went into the stall again. I waited another
5 minutes, beeping, but no one showed up.
Finally, figuring if I tried to continue forward, some alarms would go off, or someone would come out, I crept forward, but nothing. So, I just
continued down the exit road, left the facility and was on my way to my destination in Canada.
For the first half hour of driving, I was really nervous. I figured some flashing lights would come after me, but there was nothing. Then I started to
become angry, because, suppose I was carrying some really bad things, like a nuclear bomb, or a load of guns, or whatever... I had a free pass into
this country, where no one had checked my passport, or my vehicle.
When I got to my destination, I told my son-in-law, who was already at our vacation site, about the incident. He is a Massachusetts State Trooper, and
told me that he had never heard about anything like this, and that I was lucky that I did not get stopped, and could have even get shot at by going
through a border crossing without being interrogated. He said that if this had happened coming in to the U.S., there would have been a $50k fine, and
up to 5 years in prison for going through a border crossing without permission.
I even tried contacting the Canadian Customs, but the person at the other end said that I would have to contact a web site, which comes up 404
So, if this is the kind of security that is being offered into Canada, I want to put you on alert to this incident. I am just a simple U.S. person,
going on vacation, but I also could have been a terrorist, smuggling bombs, ammunition,and whatever or a drug runner with a heavy load.
I will not give the date, time or any other info, but it was VERY recent.
Also, coming back in to the U.S., there was no alert that would have given them cause to question me, I just got handed my passport back, and the U.S.
agent said, "I hope you enjoyed your stay". I was somehow under the impression that border officials kept track of who came in, and then would
corrolate that with who came out.
Wow. This invokes alot of other discussion I am sure, about how strict our border crossings really are.
This situation invokes past cases of mystery about who, when and what transpired at a border crossing especially in this day and age..... I would
certainly not want someone to get in trouble over this, but that does not really matter in the big picture. We all trust that our borders are secure,
and this does not meet that profile.
..... it bothers me alot.
(Another side note: As far as I have been able to research, a situation like this had NEVER happened at the original border crossing, at the bridge
between Calais and St. Stephen. So much for "progress". )
I would welcome what the rest of ATS would like to comment on this. Thanks.