Friday, February 8, 2008

Letter from Stockwell Day

In summary, Minister Day says this is a provincial mandate.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Imminent changes at YVR

Here is a summary of the changes on the way at Vancouver airport.

  • 24-hour customer care in the international arrivals area
  • hourly walk-throughs of the customs hall
  • round-the-clock medical response in the international terminal,
  • bigger, brighter signs in multiple languages
  • a messaging service from the customs hall to the public greeting area.

Total cost $1.3M CAD. On the whole I have to say, I am impressed by the speed of the response. I also appreciate that a lot of these steps are geared to customer care and there isn't a boondoggle that involves security cameras and scanners.

On a personal note - I recently caught a flight to the US via VYR. Though an experienced traveller, it was difficult for me to locate the US Customs gate and run the maze to get through. Also, having a parent with mobility issues I am sensitive to hallways that do not have moving sidewalks, escalators or wheelchair-inaccessible passages. I felt VYR has room for improvement in respect to accessibility and signage.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Investigation #1 - The CBSA review

The CBSA report was one of four probes, including a provincial public inquiry, into the death of Robert Dziekanski on Oct. 14.

Alain Jolicoeur reported the results of the CBSA investigation.

  • No one from the CBSA has spoken to Dziekanski's family since the death, or offered an apology.
  • No one will be disciplined, because the investigation found no wrongdoing.
  • 30 officers were on shift at the time, but no one could find Dziekanski when a family call came through asking for his whereabouts, because they assumed he would be in the secondary investigation area.
  • When the call came, no one checked to see that he had actually passed through primary investigation three hours earlier, even though that information should have been available.
The report acknowledged the following failures.

  • CBSA lost track of Dziekanski for more than six hours. According to a timeline issued by CBSA, Dziekanski arrived at 3:20 p.m., passed primary inspection at 4:09 p.m. and wasn't again identified until 10:40 p.m., when he tried to exit the CBSA hall.
  • (when he tried to exit the hall) a CBSA officer advised him he needed to go to secondary, and directed him toward that area (but) Mr. Dziekanski spoke little or no English and a Polish interpreter was not readily available.
  • A call from Dziekanski's family was made at 7 p.m. to CBSA, but they couldn't confirm that Dziekanski had made it through primary inspection.

I suppose the conclusion is the CBSA processes are busted if in spite of the individuals' best efforts a man died on their watch.

Here's the recommendations by the CBSA to remedy the system.

  • more cameras,
  • improved interpreter services
  • the option of more patrols and security checks within the CBSA secure area at Vancouver International Airport.
  • people referred for further examinations will report to the secondary examination area within a "reasonable amount of time,"
  • stepped-up patrols and better communication between travellers and those awaiting their arrival.

Monday, November 26, 2007

El fusilamiento / The execution

El fusilamiento / The execution, by David Yerga of the Heart Industry flickr log.
I think it is important for us to express how we feel about this incident in some fashion. If you have expressed yourself in art or in song, please send us the web-link in an email and we would be glad to highlight it. It is not possible for me to store the image or song, so please use a public forum such as flickr or picasa or myspace to share your art.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Protest rallies at noon on 11/24 in Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver

An anonymous tip
There is rally this Saturday in Toronto at Queens Park 12 pm. Any support is welcome.

Please note that we are expecting snow and colder temperatures in Toronto this weekend. Dress warm.

Lara Labelle posts
There is a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery Saturday at noon and in Victoria at noon as well, at the Legislative Buildings.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Has your MP taken action yet?

Has your MP responded to your mail yet? Please send a reminder if she has not. Your voice matters.

The response from Peggy Nash, MP Parkdale-High Park, forwarded by a reader, is copied below [ed: Key sentences have been highlighted for emphasis].

Dear ____
Thank you for your letter regarding the death of Mr. Robert Dziekanski. I was equally disturbed and frustrated by this incident.

I have taken action on this issue. Please see my letter to the Prime Minister below calling for a public inquiry, an official apology., and an immediate review of taser use in Canada.

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I am certain that you are aware of the recent tragic situation regarding Polish national Robert Dziekanski. On the morning of Oct. 14th at the international arrivals terminal of Vancouver International Airport, Mr. Dziekanski died after being struck with a taser by several RCMP officers.

I was shocked and saddened by the series of events that led to Mr. Dziekanski death. Many of my constituents have been equally alarmed and have shared their frustration through letters and phone calls.

I would urge the Government to launch a public inquiry into this matter and issue an apology to Mr. Dziekansk’s mother who has suffered a great loss.

Additionally, I believe the Government must take urgent action on the matter of tasers. There are currently no clear national standards for the use of tasers and little understanding of their impact. Until strict standards are in place and until we can know that tasers are safe, I would advocate for their use to be significantly restricted and for an immediate and thorough review of their use.

Lastly, one of the most disturbing elements of this tragic situation is the 10 hours that it took for Mr. Dziekanski to clear customs. A review of customs procedures is needed to identify how a person could have been delayed for such a long period of time and not received any assistance in the interim.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Peggy Nash, MP
Parkdale-High Park

While I generally agree with MP Nash, it must be pointed out that Robert Dziekanski was not only a Polish national, he was also a Canadian.

In case you have not yet reached out, here is the list of the 304 members of the parliament. We have to keep reminding the MPs that this is important to Canada and Canadians.

Update on investigations underway

Here are the investigations underway. We will continue tracking these until there is closure.

  • Minister Stockwell Day has asked for an inquiry into the role of the RCMP.
  • A public inquiry into the use of tasers has been launched.
  • The BC coroner's office has launched an inquest into the affair.
  • Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has launched an investigation.
  • The RCMP is doing an internal review on the use of tasers.
  • B.C.'s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is doing an investigation into this tragedy into what actually transpired from the moment Robert landed in Canada.

There are pending questions into why Robert Dziekanski received no attention or guidance for a period of ten hours from when he was cleared by Immigration. Here's a list of actions that still need to happen.

  • We need the Vancouver airport authority to be held accountable for the lapses.
  • We need a review of the immigration processes at all points of entry to the country, understand where the hand-off between immigration and the airport authority takes place and who is accountable for what activity. This will identify the gaps in the system as they exist.

There is work to be done and we have to keep reminding the MPs that this is important to Canada and Canadians.