Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos bus crash ordered to be deported

Click to play video: 'Deportation ordered for truck driver charged in deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash'
Deportation ordered for truck driver charged in deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash
WATCH: A board has ordered the deportation of the truck driver charged with dangerous driving in the Humboldt Bronco bus crash. As Sarah Offin reports, the driver’s lawyer is still fighting for him to stay. – May 24, 2024

More than six years after the horrific Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the man driving the semi-truck has been ordered to be deported.

An Immigration and Refugee Board hearing was held virtually in Calgary for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu on Friday morning, where the decision was handed out.

“I can’t consider humanitarian and compassionate factors,” Trent Cook from the immigration division of the board, who oversaw the hearing, told Sidhu.

“My sole role today is to make a finding on whether the minister has established the facts that support their allegation that you’re inadmissible for serious criminality.

“I am satisfied that the minister’s report is well founded.

“I am required by law to issue you with a deportation order.”

The decision was a forgone conclusion, according to Sidhu’s lawyer Michael Greene, who has said all that’s required to deport his client is proof that he is not a Canadian citizen and he committed a serious crime.

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“That happened,” Greene said Friday. “There’s no contest, which is why we conceded those points and it was over and done with within a matter of minutes.”

Sidhu arrived in Canada from India in 2014 and was living in Calgary.

He was sentenced to eight years behind bars for dangerous driving offences in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan in April 2018 that left 16 people dead and 13 others injured.

Sidhu drove the semi through a stop sign at a rural intersection near Tisdale, Sask., into the path of the Broncos’ team bus. The junior hockey team was heading to Nipawin, Sask., for a playoff game at the time of the crash.

More than six years after the horrific Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the man driving the semi-truck involved in the crash has been ordered to be deported. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is taken out of the Kerry Vickar Centre by the RCMP following his sentencing for the crash, in Melfort, Sask., Friday, March 22, 2019. Kayle Neis / The Canadian Press

Scott Thomas is the father of Evan Thomas, a Humboldt Broncos forward who was killed in the 2018 bus crash. He said Friday morning he is not surprised by the decision.

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“Our family has always said right from the beginning that we didn’t think that deportation was a necessary ending to this,” Thomas said.

“I think it’s unnecessary and piling on at this point, if you will. I feel bad for Mr. Sidhu because, like I said, I don’t think this is a necessary step for him and a necessary conclusion to all of this.”

Thomas went on to say that Sidhu has done his time.

“I thought the penalty that judge (Inez) Cardinal imposed on him in Melfort was more than a fair penalty considering the laws that exist in Canada,” Thomas said.

“I think just because of the extraordinary circumstances and the size and scope of the tragedy, if you will, unfortunately put him in a position where he’s subject to this deportation law.”

Toby Boulet lost his son Logan in the crash. He issued the following statement on Friday:

“Bernadine and I are thankful for the decision today as we continue to believe that Mr. Sidhu should be deported from Canada. We are prepared to remain diligent in this belief even as Mr. Sidhu may launch further appeals.”

Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki is paralyzed from injuries he suffered in the crash. For him, the decision is irrelevant.

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“At this point, it’s kind of past me, it’s completely out of my control. From human to human, I wish him all the best,” Straschnitzki said.

“It is what it is and unfortunately, he’s going to have to live with the consequence for the rest of his life and that’s part of life… At this point I’ve tried to detach myself from the entire situation with him.

“It’s a terrible tragedy but, like I said, he’ll have to live with that the rest of his life.”

Sidhu was granted full parole last year.

Greene said the deportation process could take months or years. Meanwhile, Greene said he plans to file an application asking the government to return Sidhu’s permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“It’s a complicated case and so it’s not one that’s going to get a fast decision, I don’t think,” Greene said.

“I would expect it will take some careful consideration. Normal humanitarian cases (take) two to three years, sometimes sooner. We’ve had some fast decisions before but that’s the normal range.”

Greene said Sidhu and his wife have had a child since moving to Canada, and the child suffers from heart and lung problems.

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“The child has medical problems and it wouldn’t be safe in India,” he said.

Greene said Sidhu is doing terribly.

“He’s got a family, he’s trying to be strong for the family. He’s dealing with very severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety as it was. Now facing having his family broken up is pretty tough to deal with,” Greene said.

“There are a lot of people who think that he deserves a second chance and… he’s been punished enough. He got the highest sentence ever. He pled guilty, he accepted it. And there’s a lot of people, including some of the families, who say, ‘That’s enough. He doesn’t need anymore. We don’t need to make another victim out of this.’ But there are others on record and he understands those people who want deportation. They want that extra punishment imposed.”

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— With files from The Canadian Press

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