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Calgary Liberal MP wants to stop Humboldt Broncos crash driver deportation

Click to play video: 'Semi driver responsible for Humboldt Broncos crash loses first bid to stay in Canada'
Semi driver responsible for Humboldt Broncos crash loses first bid to stay in Canada
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver responsible for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, has been denied his first bid to stay in Canada once his prison sentence ends – Mar 10, 2022

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated George Chahal has not spoken to Immigration Minister Marc Miller about Sidhu’s case. Chahal says he has spoken to Miller about, just not since sending his May 28 email to the Liberal caucus. 

Calgary Liberal MP George Chahal is trying to rally support among his colleagues to block the deportation of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck driver responsible for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which killed 16 people and left 13 injured.

As first reported by The Hill Times, Chahal emailed his Liberal caucus colleagues last week saying he would be publicly advocating for Sidhu to stay in Canada.

“It was a tragic accident that he was involved in, pleaded guilty and served his time,” Chahal said. “Mr. Sidhu is my constituent and I’ve had the opportunity over the past several days to meet with him, his wife and his child and he has asked for forgiveness.”

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A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s office tells Global News they do not comment on specific cases due to privacy legislation. Chahal says he previously spoke with Miller about Sidhu’s case, but has not since sending the email to Liberal caucus.

Sidhu received his deportation order on May 24 during an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in Calgary.

Despite arguments from his lawyer that based on compassionate and humanitarian factors Sidhu should not be deported, the board said it could not consider those factors and had to rule based on “whether the minister has established the facts that support their allegation that you’re inadmissible for serious criminality.”

This is because despite Sidhu taking full responsibility for his actions, the law states that he is inadmissible to Canada due to the fact he is not a Canadian citizen and committed a serious crime.

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At the time, Sidhu’s lawyer Michael Greene said he was not surprised by the board’s decision due to how the law is written, calling it a “forgone conclusion.”

Greene said that since moving here, Sidhu has become a father, and his child has significant health issues and would not be safe in India as a result. Sidhu’s wife is also a Canadian citizen.

“The real question that’s got to be asked here is, what purpose is served by removing Mr. Sidhu? He’s already paid a huge price. And he’s definitely not a danger to the public. Nobody thinks he’s a danger,” Greene said in an interview with Global News.

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“His crime was a mistake, not premeditated. And what’s the purpose of creating a further tragedy by splitting up his family? Because that’s probably what would happen because that child is not healthy enough to live in India.”

The Calgary MP plans on traveling the country in an attempt to drum up support for Sidhu as his legal team prepares applications to reinstate Sidhu’s permanent residency.

Click to play video: 'Michael Greene explains why Jaskirat Singh Sidhu should not be deported'
Michael Greene explains why Jaskirat Singh Sidhu should not be deported

Greene says it “certainly doesn’t hurt” to have an MP taking up his client’s cause, but overall options for Sidhu to stay in the country are limited.

After the deportation board hearing, Greene told reporters he plans to file an application for the government to restore Sidhu’s permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Greene says the focus of this application revolves around Sidhu’s family situation.

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On Monday, Greene said that he expects to file the application within the next week or two. While it is being processed, he said Sidhu could still be deported but first there is a pre-removal risk assessment process. Greene said in normal cases this process usually takes about six months.

“This isn’t a normal case. So, who knows? They might decide to get very aggressive with it,” Greene said.

Sidhu moved to Canada in 2014, four years before the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, moving to Calgary. He was granted parole last year. Sidhu drove a semi-truck through a rural intersection where he had the stop sign near Tisdale, Sask., on April 6, 2018, and collided with the bus carrying the Broncos team. They were on their way to Nipawin, Sask., for a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game.

Sixteen people were killed in the crash, including 11 players who ranged in age from 16 to 21-years-old. Other victims include members of the Broncos coaching and training staff, their play-by-play announcer and the bus driver.

Thirteen passengers survived with injuries. One, Ryan Straschnitzki, was left paralyzed from the chest down.

Chahal says he has not spoken to any Broncos families about his push to block Sidhu’s deportation, but will if any are interested.

— With files from Global News’ Caley Gibson.

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