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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Liberals call for national review of taser use

November 15, 2007

OTTAWA – In light of the recent death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport and the release of video of that incident, as well as a number of other controversial incidents involving Tasers, Liberal Public Safety Critic Ujjal Dosanjh today called on the Government of Canada to commence a formal national review of Taser use by law enforcement officers in Canada.

“The Government must appoint an appropriate body – possibly the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, which is already investigating the Dziekanski death – to comprehensively review Taser use in Canada and to produce clear national guidelines for law enforcement officers,” said Mr. Dosanjh. “While we understand the need of law enforcement to be able to subdue suspects in dangerous situations, Mr. Dziekanski’s tragic death and other incidents have led to questions about whether Tasers are being used appropriately.”

According to some accounts, 17 people have died as a result of Tasers since 2003. A Quebec parliamentary panel is currently studying Tasers and the Canadian Police Research Centre is said to be contemplating a wide-ranging study, but Mr. Dosanjh said he believes a public-interest review of the issue from a national perspective is necessary.

“Conservative Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has said that the RCMP is looking into Taser use for him, but a private report to the Minister is unacceptable. Any review or analysis must be thorough, public, prescriptive, and conducted by an independent body. That is why the Liberal Opposition is calling on the federal government to initiate such a review immediately,” said Mr. Dosanjh.

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