In our July item, you'll recall, we warned subscribers planning to drive to Canada to hunt this fall, to be aware that Canadian immigration authorities are using NCIC files to check would-be visitors' driving records, looking for drunk driving charges. If you have any such charges on your record, even old ones, we suggested that you address the problem before you arrive at the border, either by getting an attorney in the US to get your record cleared, or by applying ahead of time for what's called a "Minister's Permit." The procedures for doing the latter can be found at www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/rehabil.html.
All of that warning is still good advice. What's new is, we have just learned that authorities are using NCIC files to check visitors arriving by plane, as well as by car. This month alone, we have received two reports from subscribers about this. Both reports provide eyewitness accounts of hunters being told they have to return home.
The bottom line is, if you have a DUI/DWI offense listed in the NCIC files, get cracking now on the issue, no matter how old the offense is. Do not try to fly or drive to Canada without getting your record purged, or without applying for the aforementioned Minister's Permit. It's particularly important, we understand, not to declare falsely to an immigration authority that you have no offenses on record, as your "lying" to an authority is an almost sure way to be denied entry.
No one in his right mind minimizes the importance of punishing drunk drivers, of course. But this kind of use of sometimes decades-old material is just plain wrong. In our view, this is a........(continued)