Canadian immigration officials say they will rush through Martha Stewart's application for a permit to enter Canada this weekend, so that Stewart's plans to row across Lake Pesaquid in a giant hollow pumpkin can go forward after all.
There's a sentence I bet you didn't expect to read today.
Normally Stewart would not need special documentation to enter Canada, because she is a U.S. citizen. But because she now is a U.S. citizen with a criminal record, she has to have a permit. It had appeared that her application would not be approved in time, or at least that may have been Stewart's excuse for missing the pumpkin event, but if so the officials have stymied her by saying they would approve the permit in time if Stewart applied.
If she goes, Stewart will be competing in a charity race called the Pumpkin Regatta, in which people row across Lake Pesaquid in Windsor, Nova Scotia, in giant pumpkins weighing 600 pounds or more that have been hollowed out. The race is organized by a local pumpkin farmer, Howard Dill, who reportedly once grew a pumpkin weighing almost 1000 pounds. Dill said that the pumpkin set aside for Stewart weights 676 pounds at the moment, but would be down to "600 pounds rowing weight" by the time Stewart stepped inside. Racers, if that's the right word, use kayak paddles to get their pumpkins across the lake, which according to Dill takes 10-30 minutes -- if they make it. "There are some in the DNF -- did not finish [category]," Dill laughed.
"The majority of them make it," he said, which to me translates as: there is some hope that Martha Stewart will not.
Libby Davies, a liberal legislator for the New Democrat party, objected to the special treatment shown to Stewart, saying that the government should not be "bending over backwards to help a felon." But Canada's Immigration Minister, Joe Volpe, said that in fact cases involving celebrities with criminal records who want to get into Canada (apparently there are a lot of these cases) usually take much less time than Stewart's case had.