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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Commons committee to review Dziekanski death, taser use

November 22, 2007

OTTAWA - The Commons public safety committee is launching its own investigation into events surrounding the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. It's the sixth probe into his death or the use of Tasers since last month. Committee members from all four parties voted unanimously Thursday to review Dziekanski's death at Vancouver International Airport after he was jolted by a stun gun and subdued by RCMP officers last month.

Dziekanski, who did not speak fluent English, became agitated after spending hours in a secure customs area as his mother fruitlessly tried to get help finding him from the public side.

Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh Dosanjh said the committee's work may be the closest thing to an independent probe of national scale because Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day refused to call one. "What's missing in the debate is co-ordinated federal leadership," Dosanjh said as he introduced the motion calling for the review. I just think we should try to do the federal job in a non-partisan way."

Conservative MPs raised concerns the probe would echo efforts of a public inquiry in B.C., but they nonetheless supported the motion. MPs plan to call a wide range of witnesses, including RCMP officers, customs and immigration officials, airport workers and the company that makes the Taser.

A start date and time frame for the committee probe were not immediately confirmed.

Witnesses who appear before parliamentary committees testify under oath, although their words can't be used against them in other legal proceedings.

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