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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Politicians retrace Dziekanski's last steps

April 3, 2008
Glenn Bohn, Vancouver Sun

Eleven federal politicians today re-traced the steps that a Polish immigrant took at Vancouver International Airport last October before police zapped him with a high-voltage Taser and he died.

Officials with the Canada Border Services Agency and the airport authority gave MPs from the Parliament's public safety and national security a rare tour of high-security areas.

The tour started at the point at which Robert Dziekanski stepped of a plane from Germany.

It ended at the point where the newly approved immigrant threw a computer screen and keyboard on the floor, prompting an RCMP response and his ultimate death, perhaps 10 metres away from the exterior door where arriving passengers leave the terminal to grab a cab.

Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh said after the tour that freak accidents happen and can't always be prevented, but the ultimate question is whether the customer service changes since introduced at YVR would have prevented the RCMP from deciding they had to use force - the Taser.

Asked how he would answer his own question, the former B.C. attorney-general and provincial premier replied: "There's been so much evidence about the usage creep that's happened with respect to the Tazer ... It seems to me, unfortunately, that the RCMP is beginning to use the Taser as a weapon of choice, rather than the weapon they might use under exceptional circumstances."

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