Vic Toews and provincial and territorial justice ministers got together and agreed to new general guidelines on Taser use after many provinces had already enacted similar rules. What they agreed upon is revealing so far as what has essentially been the unregulated use of this weapon that has seen 26 Canadians die after they were employed.
It's hard not to be puzzled by the following guidelines that include, ...police forces should establish a training policy and minimum training requirements for officers authorized to use a Taser. So previous to this agreement there was no training policy? That's criminal!
Justice ministers also agreed that better tracking of the devices was needed. The guidelines include a requirement that an accurate inventory of the weapons be maintained, including their location. There had been no inventory on who was taking these lethal weapons home from work? No accountability? How is this possible?
Officers should be required to check their conducted energy weapon before and after their shifts and they should be required to submit a report whenever they've discharged one. Treat Tasers like they were lethal weapons? Genius! That's why these guys get paid the big bucks.
On to my favourites, ...“where possible” Taser use should be “avoided” on the pregnant, frail and elderly, as well as on children. No zapping the elderly or kids? Then the terrorists win, don't they? Oh. "where possible."
The guidelines add Tasers generally shouldn't be used on people who are already restrained, or who are driving a vehicle, bicycle or snowmobile. Police officers are also urged to avoid zapping sensitive areas of the body such as the head, throat and genitals. Covering all their bases while the police take aim at ours.
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews bragged, “The development of these new national guidelines is another significant step in strengthening public confidence in police use of this important tool,” after the meeting of his provincial and territorial counterparts in Vancouver.
There you have it. Taser International doesn't lose a client, no further studies on its use are urged or even suggested and Canadians who are famous the world over for being cautious had damned well better remain that way. Even in the confines of their own borders.