Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bungling Border Bullies . . . .

Crossing the land border between Canada and the US is typically not a pleasant experience. The long lines are a fairly regular thing. Fortunately, we have never had the following experience.

Per CBC News this morning:

Canadian accused at U.S. border of 'stealing American jobs'
Sales representative from B.C. denied entry to U.S. to meet with suppliers

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - Kathy Tomlinson CBC News

A B.C. sales representative who markets equestrian products in Canada was barred from crossing the U.S. border to attend a trade show last month by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who accused him of trying to steal American jobs.

"He looked at me, and in a yelling voice he said, 'You're friggin' stealing jobs away from American citizens,' and I tried telling him that I wasn't," Joel Borsteinas told CBC News.

Borsteinas, a Canadian citizen, said he's been in business for 15 years, acting as a middleman between U.S. and Canadian suppliers of western wear and equestrian products and Canadian retailers who want to stock the products.


Borsteinas said the border officer who refused to allow him entry to the U.S. was the supervisor on duty at the time, at the Sumas crossing in southwestern B.C.

"I said, 'Well I don't actually bring the products in. I just write the orders. It's all in Canada,'" said Borsteinas.

"He says, 'Oh you are a consultant then.' I says, 'No — I'm just a salesman. I sell to Canadian stores.' And he says 'Nope, you are a consultant,'" said Borsteinas. "Once again, he says 'You are stealing jobs away from us.'"

Borsteinas said he was then fingerprinted and sent back into Canada. The border officer warned him if he tried to enter the U.S. on business again, he should expect to be prosecuted.


"The wagons get circled pretty quick when there's a downturn like this," said Craig Williams, vice-president of the B.C. division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), Canada's largest trade and industry association.

Williams said CME members tend to encounter more difficulties at the U.S. border when there is an economic slowdown. He said the current discussion in Washington about "Buy America" provisions doesn't help.

"I think it is part of an undercurrent of 'Buy America' that is happening in the United States right now," said Williams.

"Unfortunately, it seems to be some of the sentiment that's coming out of the average guy on the street down there — as their family members are losing jobs or they are having cutbacks or they read the newspaper every night. It's very discouraging — and I think it sets a tone of fear."

"I just hope its not a precursor for more," he added.

One more bit of the bush economic "legacy": Border tension between the largest trading partners in North America.

Good job, george* . . . .

* Yeah, we still blame him for everything. He's so deserving . . . .


MSEH said...

Just when you think you've heard it all...

Like that will ever the case.

Vancouver Isle Doug said...

Interesting - scary - stupid.

Funny thing is, two guys where I work travel to WA state for tradeshows and are hassled EVERY time they cross the BC border into the US. They have a display booth they take along, or used to, and the US wanted to tax them on it, thinking there were going to re-sell it. Yikes!

Glad I'm up here!