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

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)
Group looks to North Cowichan for farmland

Land could also be used for affordable housing

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

Ben Maartman, left, and Murray McNab are running for regional director for Area H North Oyster-Diamond in a Cowichan Valley Regional District byelection later this month. (Photos submitted)
Preliminary Area H byelection results show Maartman up by seven votes, McNab to ask for recount

Results of the by-election to by finalized by noon on Tuesday, December 1

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Cowichan MP hosting virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MP’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

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
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

The first of two earthquakes near Alaska on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is shown in blue. (USGS)
No tsunami risk after two earthquakes near Alaska

Both earthquakes hit near the U.S. state on Dec. 1

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Most Read