At Home: Taser death prompts better translation services at border control
Further investigation into the Tasering death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski has revealed that not only should the risks of Taser use be looked into, but that airport protocol needs an overhaul.
Alain Jolicoeur, president of Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA), has questioned why Dziekanski was left on his own for six hours in the secured immigration area of the Vancouver International Airport while his mother, who had come to collect him, was told there was no record of a Polish arrival on that day.
Jolicoeur says the tragedy might have been avoided by simply having someone on staff who could converse with Dziekanski, since the Polish man could not speak English. It seems that due to a lack of communication between the Taser victim and airport officials, the immigration case was not dealt with promptly and this may have been what led to the ultimately violent behaviour of Dziekanski; airport security video shows the man holding up a small table before police officers subdued him with at least two shots from Tasers.
CBSA has just released the official timeline of events preceding the death. Apparently, after checking into the secondary customs desk at 10:30 p.m., the man was twice told by airport staff that he could wait in the international arrivals lounge. However, he stayed in the customs area.
Given the lack of Polish-speaking staff on hand, it is most likely that Dziekanski simply couldn’t understand the message and didn’t know where he was supposed to be. Staff made a public announcement directed to the man’s family in the public lounge, but this was not acknowledged.
The CBSA ultimately feels that the death could have been avoided, and to prevent similar tragedies in the future they have called for more multilingual staff as well as more surveillance cameras for the arrivals area.
In Foreign News: Australia welcomes a new prime minister after more than a decade of John Howard
Australian Prime Minister John Howard was not only ousted from his position as PM this week but also from his Parliamentary seat, with both moves in favour of the opposition Labor Party.
Howard subsequently lost his place as leader of the coalition Liberal Party (strangely pieced together from various conservative parties) following defeat in the federal election to Paul Rudd, who has promised not only to pull the 550 Australian combat troops out of Iraq but also to sign on to the Kyoto Accord.
The Huffington Post described John Howard as ?one of the Bush administration’s staunchest allies? because of his commitment to the war in Iraq and to finding alternative ways of dealing with climate change.
Although Howard was an undeniably popular leader during his four terms as prime minister, Rudd says he was ?out of touch? when it came to current issues like Kyoto and even technological advancements.
The Sydney Morning Herald remarks that Howard ?never formed a firm intention to retire,? something that not only led to his own demise in politics but to the crippling of the Liberal Party itself, which is now left scrambling to appoint an Opposition leader.
The Liberal campaign was founded on a period of economic success under Howard’s leadership, which the ousted PM credits to exports of coal to India and China. During his administration, Australia has seen its dollar rise in foreign markets where in earlier decades the economy was in poor condition; regardless of the economic rise, it seems that Australians are ready to tackle more pressing issues with Rudd as their leader.
The Labor Party, which theoretically sits centre-left in relation to the Liberal Party’s centre-right affiliation, has won at least 81 of 150 Parliamentary seats in a clear majority.