Judson Laipply's Blog

How Wikipedia kept me out of jail by Judson Laipply

If you ask an English teacher if Wikipedia is a good source they will most likely inform you that the APA does not consider to be valid. Apparently Candian Customs thinks differently.

As a professional speaker traveling across the border I sometimes get sent to immigration for further questioning after customs cannot wrap their head around the idea of a professional speaker. One occasion I was delayed for close to 3 hours before finally being allowed to enter. Recently I was traveling to St John NB for a few days to speak at a International Round Square Youth conference. Upon landing in Toronto I had to go through customs and after explaining what I was there for was sent along to immigration for further review.

After approaching the young women in immigration I handed her my passport and began to answer her questions about why I was heading into Canada. She seemed a bit perplexed and continued to ask about my speaking, “What do you speak about? How do you get your shows? Who do you speak to?”

I continued to explain and went as far to say I had a video on the Internet that had gone viral and that provided for lots of PR etc. What I did not know is that Canada has apparently adopted the policy to Google the name of anyone they are questioning to see what results pop up.

One search result later I was greeted with this, “Oh! You have a Wikipedia page! Here you go. Come on in!” Wikipedia might not be able to serve as a source for your dissertation but at least Canada considers it safe.

Be Sociable, Share!
Filed under: Human Behavior,humorous


  1. That seems like a pretty good practice if you’re just a speaker or something like that. If they suspect you for something more serious may be not though.

    Comment by Jacob Bixler — May 20, 2010 @ 12:56 am

  2. What a great story Judson. I just crossed the border myself coming back from a Quebec fishing trip. Over the Peace bridge at Buffalo. Except I wasn’t detained going in or out, thankfully.

    Hey, side note, my book comes out in August. You’re mentioned in it. I’ll get you a pre-copy.

    Comment by Jim Kukral — May 20, 2010 @ 2:12 am

  3. Does it bother you that Google is the best intel that the Canadian Government can muster?

    Comment by Mike Ma — May 21, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  4. […] berättar Laipply på sin blogg om hur Wikipedia räddade honom från att hamna i fängelse. Den kanadensiska tullen använder Wikipedia! När Laipply skulle in i Kanada för att föreläsa […]

    Pingback by Wikipedia räddare i nöden « Wikimedia Sverige — May 24, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment