Families of players killed in Humboldt Broncos bus crash want truck driver who was responsible deported
SASKATOON -- Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is awaiting a decision on his deportation from Canada following his eight-year prison sentence for dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, a result of the April 6, 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
In Canada, a criminal conviction that carries a sentence of longer than six months makes a permanent resident ineligible to remain the country. At least three families of players who were on the bus would like to see those laws enforced with Sidhu.
“We're all in this situation in the first place because he did not obey the Canadian laws, simply by running a stop sign,” said Chris Joseph, who lost his son Jaxon. “If he truly is remorseful, we would expect him to obey the laws that are set in place.
“Our pain is going to be here forever. We have a life sentence. But if we can get the laws to get him deported, that's one little thing that we don't have to worry about ever again. We don't have to see him in the news, we don't have to go through that.”
Russ Herold’s son Adam died in the incident, while Michelle Straschnizki’s son Ryan sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury.
“Whether you've lost a child or a parent or a friend or whatever, or you're just watching your child lift his own limbs everyday, it’s (heartbreaking),” said Straschnizki. “I don't know that it's going to change if he's deported or not, but it is the law.”
“He can start a family, he'll look across the table and he'll have a family. We don't have that, our family is broken forever because of him,” said Herold. “I think it's the way to heal, is he's got to be out of our sight.”
Saskatoon immigration lawyer Chris Veeman says a deportation order is issued in the vast majority of cases where someone has a serious criminality conviction and all of the “legal parts” of Sidhu’s situation point to him being deported.
In cases where people aren’t deported, Veeman says there’s often a “groundswell of opinion among the public” which can create pressure to intervene.
“I know that that's where the advocacy is at right now, like there's letters going into the (Canadian Border Services Agency),” he said.
“I think there's letters coming in on both sides, there's a lot of differing views on what should happen. I think those officers would probably default to just following the rules that are set out, which would be the deportation order.”
Joseph said that feelings toward the issue of Sidhu’s deportation will be different among the 29 families that were directly involved, with “a range of forgiveness to hatred and everything in between,” but says a difference of opinion won’t get in the way of the emotional and mental support that remains in the group.
“Nobody gets us like we get us,” he said, a sentiment echoed by Herold and Straschnizki.
“Who better to know your grief than someone that's gone through it,” said Herold.