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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Liberals demand immediate action on taser use reforms

March 11, 2008

OTTAWA – The RCMP and the Conservative government have failed to implement the two most important recommendations made in a critical report on Taser use by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, Liberal Public Safety Critic Ujjal Dosanjh said today.

“This government says it takes seriously the report by Paul Kennedy, the Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, but how can anyone believe that when there is absolutely no action on the two most crucial recommendations,” said Mr. Dosanjh, referring to Mr. Kennedy’s testimony last week at the Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

On December 12, 2007, Mr. Kennedy released his interim Taser report to Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day. The first two recommendations, which he marks as requiring “immediate implementation” would re-classify Tasers as an "impact weapon" and would restrict their use to situations where an individual appears to be experiencing the condition(s) of excited delirium, when the behaviour is combative, or when there is a risk of death or grievous bodily harm to the officer, the individual or the general public.

“These important recommendations cannot be ignored any longer by this government. We have seen the use of Tasers creep up over the past few years and we have seen an increase in fatalities of individuals who were jolted by a Taser before their death. The Minister of Public Safety must take action now, pursuant to Section 5, sub-section 1 of the RCMP Act, and implement Mr. Kennedy’s recommendations to rein in these disturbing patterns,” said Mr. Dosanjh.

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