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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Quebec Public Safety Minister opposes taser moratorium

April 2, 2008
Kevin Dougherty, The Montreal Gazette

Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis opposes a Parti Québécois proposal for a moratorium on the use of Taser stun guns. Dupuis said yesterday Tasers are already more strictly controlled in Quebec than in other provinces. "In Quebec, the use of Taser guns is limited to the most experienced police officers in the most dangerous situations," the minister said. He added the Sûreté du Québec provincial police have 24 Tasers and use is restricted to the SQ tactical squad "who act only in the most dangerous cases." Dupuis said the Taser may only be used when a citizen refuses to obey a police officer, places the officer's life, his own life or other lives in danger.

The deaths of two men who were tasered are still under investigation. Quilem Registre, 39, died in Montreal last October, and Claudio Castagnetta, 32, died in Quebec City last September.

The PQ proposed a motion yesterday calling for a moratorium on Taser use, pending assembly hearings on the issue. Jacques Côté, the PQ member who made the proposal, said Dupuis's first public position on Taser use has not clarified the issue. "He says the use of this weapon is safe, controlled and without danger, but he can't prove it," Côté said.

If the Action démocratique du Québec joins the PQ in voting for the motion, the government would be bound by an assembly motion. Yesterday, ADQ leader Mario Dumont was non-committal. "We will give it a close look," he said.

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