Saturday, November 17, 2007

Welcome to Canada, please wait for ten hours, followed by death by taser.

In my recent article, Flying with baby requires extra patience, published on The Leader World, I talk about my airport struggles in Toronto.

I now realize that it could have been worse. Similar to Polish Immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, my flight could have been twelve hours instead of eight. I could have arrived in a country where nobody spoke my language, and the customs and immigration made me wait for ten hours.

Then, when frustrated and angry, he gets tasered to death.

What else would you expect when you arrive at a terminal?

Here's the rundown. The RCMP are called in to control an erratically behaving man at the airport. He had waited in the baggage control area, where he was supposed to meet his mother, only to not find her there because it was restricted to inbound traveller's. He eventually left the baggage area after six and a half hours, but by then, his mother had just left.

His mother had been pacing for six hours asking for help locating her son. She was eventually told he hadn't arrived. She then left the airport.

Firstly, it took six and a half hours for someone to help this guy get his luggage and get him through customs.

Secondly, they told his mother he hadn't arrived.

Whoever said this is the primary person responsible for Mr. Dziekanski's death. More than the RCMP, more than Mr. Dziekanski for his erratic behaviour.

A twelve-hour flight, probably a sleepless night before that from travel anxiety, coming to a country where nobody speaks your language, and being treated like crap for ten hours.

I'd be throwing a tantrum too!

There is a SERIOUS problem with Canada's bureaucratic system, and to a greater extent Vancouver`s, if people are left waiting for ten hours. At the very least, find an interpreter or get in touch with a relative. Was any of this done? Apparently not.

Just as an inquiry should be done into the police's use of force and conduct. An equally pressing inquiry must be done to find out why this man fell through the cracks. We need to discover the root of the problem: Why he was at the airport for ten hours, and what can be done to correct the problem in the future?

I await the forthcoming police inquiry with keen interest. Unlike the majority of Canadians, I don't blame this entirely on the RCMP. I blame it on the lack of service and assistance provided to arrivals at Vancouver airport. Without their seeming incompetence, the police would never have had to show up in the first place.

1 comment:

Erik said...

I blame it on the lack of service and assistance provided to arrivals at Vancouver airport.

Although I agree with you that there should have been more help, who says the RCMP could not have supplied this help? They didn't have to "show up" as you say, they work at the airport. What happened to the idea that police is your best friend?

I strongly disagree with you on who is responsible for his death.

Already in 2005 a BC Police Complaint Commissioner on Taser usage summarized how-to-use and not-to-use a Taser. The way these 4 policemen restrained the victim after being tasered 2 or 3 times resulted most likely in the death of Robert.

These policemen should have known better, and I'm appalled to see you are shifting the blame to a clerk giving erroneous information.

1. The clerk didn't taser, the police did.
2. The clerk didn't ask his buddies to "[taser] him again", the officers did.
3. The clerk didn't sit on top of the victim until he was dead, the police did.
4. The clerk didn't neglect to resuscitate the victim, the police did.

Maybe we should blame Robert's mother for arranging his travels to Canada as well? You're blaming the wrong people, Daniel.

Unlike you I don't expect too much from the inquiries. Police will do every effort possible to whitewash the case; over the years they've gotten quite experienced on how to do this. With lies, lies, lies.

Read more on my blog