Wrong turn at the border nets $5000 ticket

Posted By: Shuyee Lee · 9/18/2012 6:00:00 AM

An Eastern Townships woman says she's contesting what she calls an unjust five thousand dollar fine for accidentally crossing the border illegally while on the way to Stanstead.

Kim Passey and her husband were making a first time trek the night of September 7 from Ascot Corner to the Haskell Opera House that straddles the U.S. -Canada border. They made a fateful left turn and found themselves in the U.S. illegally, slapped with a $5000 ticket. But she said it was an innocent mistake that others have made without penalty but a reprimand.

"My main concern is why are some people fined, and others not. That is not what is fair right now," Passey told CJAD News.

" It was not my intent to do anything wrong. We did not smuggle anything, we did not have alcohol, we did not have drugs, we did not have guns."

Veronique Lalime, spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency said most of the time, agents give people the benefit of the doubt. She added there are more signs and gates in the area than in the past.

"Well, it's a case by case basis. When someone has a fine, it is because it was proven that there was an intention," Lalime said.

Passey said it was dark and hard to see any signs if they were there. She added the process is too arbitrary.

"I don't know if I'm ever going to go back to the opera house again. Right now I have no intention of going anywhere near that border."

Photo: Waymarking.com

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  1. Chris Goodsell posted on 09/18/2012 07:36 AM
    As a resident of Stanstead, this is sad news. It seems more and more often locals and area visitors are being treated like war criminals rather than folks going for milk and gas, or going to the Library/Opera house. As a result of someone on a high horse, we've lost visitors.
    However, we haven't heard both side of this story. CJAD, you interviewed CBSA officials, but they aren't the agency that issued the fine, it was the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And as mentioned, they must have had a reason, given they very rarely issue fines to folks who made a mistake, especially if it's their first time. It's usually a Q&A session, followed by a hefty warning. In either case, this lady can contest the fine. Take it to a judge, explain the situation, and let's hope it has a more reasonable outcome.
  2. sugarlady posted on 09/19/2012 06:35 AM
    Well said Chris.

    If that person decides to not go to our wonderful Opera House...it is her loss.
  3. Ibolya Horvath posted on 09/19/2012 09:32 AM
    This is horrible , I have never seen anything so ridiculous as having a sign only visible on the PAVEMENT !! All signs and ESPECIALLY USA /CANADA BORDER CROSSINGS SHOULD ALWAYS BE SEEN SOMEWHERE THAT IS HIGH ABOVE THE GROUND SO PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY SEE IT ESPECIALLY IN THE DARK AS WAS THIS CASE...
    As far as Im concerned Kim and Arnold should not be paying this ticket ,they are good people I have known them for a long time and this I assure you was an honest mistake. I am so sorry Kim that this is happenning to you and Arnold.

    Ibolya
  4. yerallnuts posted on 09/20/2012 07:42 AM
    You know, if you don't want people to drive down a road and cross some arbitrary line, a gate ought to be erected. At the very least provide a major set of speed bumps to warn the placid driver,

    It seems to me that a simple line painted across the road is almost entrapment,
  5. Chris posted on 09/21/2012 06:54 AM
    Why do these silly border towns exist? At the very least there should be border crossings with agents and the whole lot, if they expect us to give a rat's ass about these chalk line borders.
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