DUI Stops Bush From Freely Entering Canada

ByABC News
November 3, 2000, 5:32 PM

W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 3 -- Even if George W. Bush is elected president, he may need special permission to get into Canada because of his arrest for drunken driving.

The Republican candidate for president acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that he was arrested for driving under the influence on Labor Day weekend in 1976, near his family home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

According to Canadas Criminal Code, Bush is deemed an inadmissible person, in violation of Section 19 (2) (a.1) of the Immigration Act of Canada.

In other words, he has committed a crime considered an indictable offense in Canada, and, because of that he is banned.

Alternative Entry Points

Luckily for Bush, if he is elected president of the United States Nov. 7 and is invited to any gatherings of heads of state in Canada, since his offense is more than five years old, there are ways for him to gain entry without breaking federal law.

He is going to have to go through whats called the rehabilitation process. The rehab takes a while and it would be somewhat demeaning for a president of the United States. He would have to go through a series of steps, including getting letters from friends saying he has cleaned up his act. If he wanted to come to Canada before completing the lengthy rehab process, he would need the permission of a senior immigration official, immigration lawyer Colin R. Singer tells ABCNEWS.

Has He Reformed?

According to a rehab check list compiled by the Canadian law firm of Larson, Bryson & Boulton, the Canadian government considers several factors when determining whether a person wanting entry to Canada has truly rehabilitated themselves from their criminal offense and deserves entry, including: acceptance of responsibility for the offense; evidence of remorse; evidence of a change in lifestyle; and, evidence of stability in employment and family life.

If Bush wants to avoid any appearance of favoritism and skip the special waiver from a senior official, it is possible to speed up the rehab process by just paying a hefty processing fee at the border.