Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., Friday, March 22, 2019. nbsp;A lawyer representing the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus collision says he wants to stay in Canada once released from prison. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., Friday, March 22, 2019. nbsp;A lawyer representing the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus collision says he wants to stay in Canada once released from prison. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis

Truck driver responsible for Humboldt Broncos crash seeks to stay in Canada

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to multiple charges

A lawyer representing the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash says his client wants to be able to stay in Canada once released from prison.

It’s something families of the victims are split on. Some say Jaskirat Singh Sidhu should be sent back to his home country of India but at least one father says he is willing to help him in his fight against deportation.

Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to multiple counts of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm in the crash that killed 16 and injured 13 others.

Court heard Sidhu blew through a stop sign at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018, and into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus, which was taking players and staff to a playoff game.

During sentencing arguments, defence counsel said Sidhu had immigrated to Canada from India with his now wife, and would likely face deportation because he’s a permanent resident convicted of a serious offence.

Calgary-based immigration lawyer Michael Greene says Canada Border Services Agency officers need to look at all the circumstances of Sidhu’s case in deciding whether to issue a deportation order.

He says Sidhu, who has no prior criminal history, is someone who is well-educated, fluent in English and extremely remorseful for the collision.

“He considers Canada his home,” Greene said Thursday.

“I’m hoping that people in the public, just like the (border agency) officers, will be open to seeing the good in him,” he said.

“(Sidhu and his wife) would like to be able to continue on the path they were on before this terrible tragedy — and that path includes being able to raise a family in Canada.”

He said while Sidhu’s crime had catastrophic consequences, his actions were not malicious. Greene also said Sidhu has faced one of the toughest penalties available.

Michelle Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down in the crash, said she has sympathy for Sidhu’s family living in Canada.

But she doesn’t think he deserves to be able to stay and carry on with a normal life after his sentence ends.

“I would argue that there’s 29 people who don’t get to have a fresh, new life and because of his negligence — which is putting it lightly — it doesn’t really lend itself to that,” Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.

“I’m sorry. I feel terrible for his family and I don’t think he should be punished for the rest of his life, but I also don’t think he should be rewarded for his deeds.”

Former NHL player Chris Joseph, whose son Jaxon died, had just finished what he called a “particularly difficult” session of counselling when he heard the news.

“Obviously a life in Canada is much better for him than going back to India, but our hope is the legal system has a backbone and sticks to it,” he said.

Scott Thomas’s son, Evan, was another Broncos player who was killed. Thomas forgave Sidhu in court and said he’s kept in touch with him through his wife.

He acknowledges every Broncos family will think differently about Sidhu’s future, but Thomas doesn’t believe anything more will be gained by deporting him when he wants to be in Canada with his wife.

“He’s a broken man,” Thomas said.

“I don’t know specifically what he’s been through in prison, but I know he’s in a prison in his mind for sure. I know he struggles with this every day and he’ll continue to no matter where he is, whether he’s in Canada or back home in India.”

Thomas believes his family would be willing to write a letter in support of Sidhu’s bid to stay.

“(Deportation would) ruin his life even more than it already has. There’s enough tragedy that’s come out of this.”

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Humboldt Broncos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Fraser Institute’s annual report card on B.C. elementary schools ranks schools across the province based on standardized tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fraser Institute delivers Greater Victoria elementary schools a mixed report card

The annual report card compares test scores of schools across the province

Parking fees at Thetis Lake Park will be going up at some point, but not without further discussion. Capital Regional District directors asked CRD staff to come back with alternatives, after hearing a proposal that would increase the $2.25 per day rate to $7 for 2021. (Google Maps)
Greater Victoria politicians ditch plan for $7 daily parking at Thetis Lake

Capital Regional District directors fear backlash from parks users

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Higher cannabis sales grew the income of Canadian farmers

Higher cannabis receipts added $1.7 billion to the revenue of farmers

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read