Ex­pen­sive mis­take at bor­der

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

Acou­ple in their fifties from As­cot Cor­ner will think twice be­fore re­turn­ing to Stanstead to go to a concert. Kim Passey and her hus­band, Arnold Winget, in­stead of at­tend­ing the Dave Gor­don concert at the Haskell Opera House on Septem­ber 7th as they had planned, came home with a $5000 fine from the United States Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion.

“We had never been to the Haskell Opera House be­fore and didn’t know where it was,” said Kim Passey, who was driv­ing the ve­hi­cle. The cou­ple drove down Duf­ferin, con­tin­ued past the Cana­dian bor­der post when, ac­cord­ing to Mrs. Passey, she re­mem­bered that the Haskell also had a Cana­dian ad­dress. “I thought that if we hadn’t passed through the Amer­i­can Cus­toms then we were still in Canada, so we turned left onto the street there and went straight to the Haskell.” Once they ar­rived at the Haskell a park­ing at­ten­dant ush­ered them into the park­ing lot. That’s when an Amer­i­can Cus­toms and Bor­der Pa­trol of­fi­cer con­fronted the cou­ple. “I said I was sorry and that it was an in­no­cent mis­take, that we were just go­ing to the show. We weren’t try­ing to smug­gle any­thing and had no al­co­hol or any­thing with us. The of­fi­cer told us to fol­low him to the big

bor­der and that it was se­ri­ous,” she added.

Once at the Amer­i­can bor­der post at the end of au­toroute 55, the or­deal for the cou­ple con­tin­ued. “I was vis­i­bly up­set but I didn’t say any­thing and just did what I was told. I was even es­corted to the bath­room. I’m sur­prised they didn’t cuff me; it was a real night­mare,” con­tin­ued Ms. Passey. Af­ter spend­ing about one and a half hours there, the cou­ple were fi­nally re­leased with a $5000 fine. “We went home be­cause I was too up­set to go to the show.”

“What both­ers me is that I know other peo­ple, I don’t want to men­tion names, who have done the same thing and only got­ten a rep­ri­mand. So why did I get a fine? I think it is un­just. I’m rais­ing two kids and $5000 is a lot of money,” she com­mented.

Ms. Passey is con­test­ing the fine and has al­ready sent a reg­is­tered let­ter for an ap­peal to the proper au­thor­i­ties in the United States. She has also con­tacted NDP MP Jean Rousseau, Stanstead mayor Philippe Du­til, an Im­mi­gra­tion lawyer and sev­eral me­dia out­lets with her story. “If the same thing has hap­pened to oth­ers they should come for­ward. We need a bet­ter sys­tem; it’s not fair that some peo­ple are fined and not oth­ers.” Asked if she will re­turn to Stanstead, Ms. Passey said: “I don’t want to go near that place!”

Ms. Passey has thirty days, from the time of the event, to pay the $5000. When the pa­per went to press, we were still wait­ing for a re­turn call from a spokesper­son with the United States Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices.

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