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

Maple Ridge City Hall. (The News files)
Maple Ridge takes development services virtual

Building, planning and engineering services will be offered online only until end of the month

Thousands have converged in Whonnock Lake Park to enjoy the nice weather. (Roxanne Hooper/The News)
Thousands enjoy Maple Ridge park as city warns about social distancing

Portable toilets installed in anticipation of nice weather

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two new Maple Ridge schools have COVID-19 exposures

Alouette elementary and Maple Ridge secondary visited by virus

Ridge Meadows RCMP Const. Britteny George and Westview students turned old tires into pet beds. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge students help turn old tires into pet beds

Westview art classes and RCMP constable take on project

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Conservative MP Marc Dalton and former MP and Liberal candidate Dan Ruimy.
Dalton slams budget, Ruimy defends Liberal spending

Neither politician sees federal budget triggering an election

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Most Read