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Tuesday, August 1, 2017



Immigration lawyers warn of border confusion and travel nightmares that may come with legalized pot and admitting use to a U.S. border guard.

Ross Rebagliati became a role model for countless Canadians when he won the inaugural gold medal for men's snowboarding at the 1998 Nagano Olympics. But Rebagliati is also a notable example of what could soon be an increasing cohort of Canadians: those banned from travelling to the United States because of admitted marijuana use.
Rebagliati's story is of course closely entwined with the marijuana debate: he was initially disqualified in Nagano after testing positive, then reinstated. And of course, Justin Trudeau's Liberals have pledged to legalize the substance next year.
Rebagliati's U.S. travel ban, however, was only recently reversed. And his lawyer, Len Saunders, says the march to legalization won't stop such incidents from happening; in fact, he expects it to make them more common.
The "pot issue" has been simmering for years, stemming from the fact that admitting an instance of past marijuana use to a U.S. border guard can get you permanently banned from entering the U.S., even if the use took place in a jurisdiction where marijuana use is legal.
"When the person admits to the essential elements of a controlled substance violation, then they're basically barred for life," says Saunders, who is based in Blaine, Washington.
According to Saunders, incidents of drug-related border bans have risen sharply since the state of Washington legalized recreational marijuana five years ago.
"Before, I would see these situations once or twice a month, and now I'm literally getting calls every day," he says.
'U.S. border marijuana hell'
The no-tolerance approach can be a shock to travellers who don't realize that they can be penalized for casually admitting use, and that the laws of the country they're leaving and the state they're entering don't factor into it at all.
This is because U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal agency, and therefore subject to federal laws that consider marijuana a schedule 1 controlled substance. So you can be entering Washington or other states, where pot is legal, and still get hung up at a border that plays by different rules.
This can lead to some truly confusing situations.
Mark Belanger, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, had a recent client who went through the ringer of U.S. border marijuana hell.
The client, a German citizen who had recently moved to British Columbia with his German-Canadian wife, was required to leave Canada and re-enter to activate his workers' permit, and decided to spend the day in Seattle.
"What to they do when they're down there? They smoke some marijuana because it's legal," says Belanger.
When they returned to the border, Canadian officials detected marijuana on him and told him he wouldn't be allowed into Canada until the marijuana was out of his system. So the couple did a U-turn with the intention of staying overnight on the U.S. side.
But to do so required them to go through U.S. border controls, where officials asked why he had been turned away at the Canadian border. When he admitted the legal marijuana use, they banned him from entry there as well.
"He's a German national, and they can't send him back to Canada, so they put him in deportation proceedings. They arrest him, handcuff him, bring him down to Tacoma to the detention centre," says Belanger. "We were able to get him out in three weeks. That's fast, believe it or not."
Of course, Canadian citizens don't have to worry about being turned back at both the Canadian and U.S. borders, but they can be banned from U.S. travel, as is Belanger's client.
Typically, border officials will only ask about pot use if triggered by something, such as physical evidence, a conversational snippet, or something suggestive like a T-shirt with a cannabis leaf on it. Belanger says a group of teenagers crossing the border for a concert would also raise red flags and probing questions.
But the fear is that legalization of the drug in Canada could both prompt more aggressive questions from border guards and perhaps embolden Canadian travellers — unaware of the border rules — to admit to using it.
"The border officers are going to have more of a tendency to ask questions to Canadians when they know that it's legal," predicts Saunders.
Lying is not advised, as misleading a border official carries even stiffer penalties. Canadians do, however, have the option of withdrawing their application to enter the United States. Border officials may hassle you about it, but they will have to let you go. However, you will likely face questions about it the next time you try to cross.
And while a ban can usually be worked around by obtaining a waiver, as in Rebagliati's case, doing so is costly and requires hiring a lawyer. This means that both Saunders and Belanger expect their already busy schedules to become more crowded starting next year.
"This is a major problem on the horizon and I'm not entirely sure if the liberal government's thought it through," says Belanger.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Belgian Waffles

4 large eggs, separated
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (slightly chilled)
1/4 cup oat flour
1 cup/241g sour cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
grated nutmeg, optional

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Set aside in another
bowl. In the same mixer bowl, cream the butter until fluffly and beat in the egg yolks --
one at a time. Add the flour and sour cream alternately, beating well after each addition.
Stir in the vanilla, salt and nutmeg, if desired. Fold in the egg whites. Bake in a preheated
waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
Makes 3 very large belgian waffles. 7.3 carbs per full waffle.

Brisket in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups Coca-Cola or ginger ale
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper or to taste
1 (6 to 7 pound) first-cut brisket, rinsed and patted dry.

Heat oven to 350F. Place everything but the brisket into a food
processor, and process with steel blade until smooth. Place brisket,
fat side up, into a heavy baking pan just large enough to hold it,
and pour sauce over it. Cover tightly and bake for 2 hours. Turn
brisket over and bake uncovered for one more hour or until fork
tender. Cool, cover brisket and refrigerate overnight in cooking pan.
The next day, transfer brisket to a cutting board, cut off fat and
cut with a sharp knife against grain, to desired thickness. Remove
any congealed fat from sauce and bring to a boil on top of stove.
Heat oven to 350. Taste sauce to see if it needs reducing. If so,
boil it down for a few minutes or as needed. Return meat to sauce
and warm in oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Chicken Stroganoff

6 cups water
5 ounces/140g noodles (about 3 cups)
Nonstick spray coating
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon cooking oil
12 ounces/336g boned skinless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 (8 oz.)[224ml] carton plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (4 oz.)[112g] cans sliced mushrooms

Lightly salt the 6 cups water; bring to boiling. Add noodles; cook according to package directions.
Drain well; set aside. Meanwhile, spray a 10-inch skillet with nonstick spray coating. Cook onion in
skillet until nearly tender. Add oil to skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken
is tender and no longer pink. In a small bowl stir together yogurt, flour, paprika, and salt. Add undrained mushrooms to skillet. Stir in yogurt mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Serve over hot noodles. Makes 5 servings.

Nutritional Information:
calories: 321, total fat: 10g, cholesterol: 90mg, sodium: 369mg, carbohydrate: 29g, protein: 27g

Holiday Cherry Shortcake

21 oz./588g cherry pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz./224g fat-free cream cheese, softened
8 oz/224g. Cool Whip Free, thawed
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
13 oz/364g. angel food cake, cubed

In a large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, whipped topping and walnuts.
Mix well. Fold in cake cubes. In a serving bowl, pour half of the cake mixture. Pour half of the
cherry filling on top of the cake mixture. Repeat layers until all ingredients have been used.
Chill 3 hours before serving. 

15 servings. 184 Calories, 1g Fat, 5g Protein, 40g Carbohydrate, 2mg Cholesterol, 111mg Sodium

Holiday Chicken Salad

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1 cup/125g chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned
salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and
nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to
taste. Chill 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Apple Chips

6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 Granny Smith apples

Preheat oven to 225F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment
paper. Sift 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar evenly onto lined
baking sheets. With a mandoline or other manual slicer cut apples
crosswise into paper-thin slices. Arrange apple slices in one layer
on sheets and sprinkle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons
confectioners' sugar. Bake slices in upper and lower thirds of oven,
switching position of sheets halfway through baking, 2 1/4 hours
total, or until slices are pale golden and starting to crisp.
Immediately peel apple chips off parchment and cool on a rack. Apple
chips keep in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks.
Recommended for garnish on ice creams and apple desserts or as a 
crisp, cookie-like accompaniment.