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Friday, August 07, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Taser inquiry missed opportunity

July 31, 2009
The Toronto Star

Letter to the Editor

In failing to recommend that standards be developed for Tasers, the Braidwood inquiry, unfortunately, has squandered an outstanding opportunity to move this agenda that much more forward. The federal government, as recommended in an RCMP report, must now take the initiative and set standards for Tasers used by all police services in Canada, under its power in the Criminal Code to regulate firearms. Standards for their efficacy and use must be developed.

The fact, acknowledged by the manufacturer, is that one in 20 of these devices fail. This failure rate defies all logic, is inexcusable and smacks of shoddy manufacturing and quality control. No other electrical product can be legally sold in Canada unless it is tested and certified by a recognized national standards organization.

Until these standards are in place, police services should place a moratorium on the purchase of these electrical devices. Establishing minimum standards would further ensure police accountability and allay public fears and concerns.

Emile Therien, Past President, Canada Safety Council, Ottawa

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