British Columbia

Grieving mother recalls plans for new life with son

Oct. 14 was supposed to be Sofia Cisowski's happiest day since her arrival in Canada from Poland eight years ago, as she reunited with her immigrant son.

Oct. 14 was supposed to be Zofia Cisowski's happiest day since her arrival in Canada from Poland eight years ago.

Zofia Cisowski says she spent nine hours at the Vancouver airport on Oct. 14 waiting for her son. ((CBC))

Robert Dziekanski, 41, was emigrating to Canada tojoin his motherin the B.C. Interior city of Kamloops, but he died in the airport after being stunned by an RCMP Taser.

"When I went — we were going to Vancouver — I was so exciting. I was so happy, I was thinking about to hug him and kiss him," said Cisowski, 61.

At about 4 p.m. that afternoon, Air Condor Flight 6070 from Frankfurt landed at the Vancouver International Airport with Dziekanski on board.

The plane was two hours late but even after it arrived, Cisowski spent another seven hours waiting for her son. She then made enquiries at the airport about his whereabouts and when told nobody had seen him and that he wasn't there, she went home, at about 10: 30 p.m.

Instead, almost 10 hours after he arrived in Canada, Dziekanski, who appeared frightened and lost, was shocked by a Taser andheld downby four RCMP officers. He died within minutes of being shocked, at about 1:30 a.m.

Cisowski said on Wednesday that she has a hard time focusing on blame right now — all she can really think about is her son.

The plans they madefor her son's new immigrant life are fresh in her mind and his photos are everywhere, his luggage still packed as if he'd just arrived.

Before police arrived Robert Dziekanski picked up office furniture and began to place it in the doorway between the customs area and the public lounge. ((Paul Pritchard))

If Dziekanski had flown from Frankfurt to Kamloops, he would be alive today, Cisowski said.

She chose to buya plane ticket for him from Poland to Vancouver rather than from Poland to Kamloops, although she said both options were affordable for her.

"But I was trying to show him from Vancouver how beautiful is Canada because that is true.

"I was think about he will arrive at 1:40 p.m., take him in immigration maybe around two hours and we will drive back home during the day and I want to show him that beautiful view."

The RCMP's integrated homicide investigation team, the B.C. coroner's service, the Vancouver International Airport Authority and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP are each conducting their own investigations into the circumstances of Dziekanski's death.

Cisowski'slawyer, Walter Kosteckyj,said he hopes something good comes from his death.

"Police will be more accountable for when they use Tasers and such things," Kosteckyj said. "Maybe it's just a wake-up call for all of us that perhaps we can just be better neighbours."