Dziekanski left Poland for a new life in Canada
By Suzanne Fournier, Canwest News ServiceMarch 7, 2009
VANCOUVER — He was a gentle, solitary man with a passion for geography. He never left Poland until he made the huge decision to join his beloved mother in Canada.
On Oct. 13, 2007, Robert Dziekanski packed two bags with books, maps and a few clothes, left behind his life of 40 years in Poland, and embarked on a voyage that was to cost him his life.
Dziekanski, the only child born to Zofia Cisowski, worked as a typesetter and labourer in the industrial city of Gliwice, but wanted to emigrate to Canada to join his mother, who had spent two years and $30,000 trying to bring her son to Kamloops.
“I even sent him flags of Canada and a picture of a Mountie on a horse in front of the mountains, so he put them on his wall,” said Cisowski last week at the Braidwood inquiry into the death of her son at the hands of four RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport.
Despite his love of cartography, Dziekanski had never been on a plane, never left Poland and spoke no English.
All his immigration papers were in order and, though anxious about travel, he was eager to reunite with his mother, who had told him to wait for her at the baggage carousel in the airport.
After 24 hours on two airplanes, he was calm and pleasant, despite his fear of flying, according to evidence at the inquiry from two flight attendants and a woman who sat near him, who noted he seemed “entirely normal . . . but unworldly and a bit provincial.”
Robert’s aunt, Teresa Dziekanski, said Robert’s “dream” was to help his mother in her Kamloops cleaning business.
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