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Anniversary of Broncos crash: Saskatchewan government urged to change budget day

Sixteen people were killed and thirteen were injured when a semi-truck ran a stop sign at a rural intersection and hurtled into the path of the Broncos bus on April 6, 2018. Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan Opposition is urging Premier Scott Moe to move up the date of the government’s spring budget so as not to fall on the anniversary of the deadly Humboldt Broncos crash.

Sixteen people were killed and thirteen were injured when a semi-truck ran a stop sign at a rural intersection and hurtled into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus on April 6, 2018.

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An inexperienced truck driver was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to causing the crash.

NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon said Tuesday one victim’s family has expressed concern to him about the Saskatchewan Party government’s plan to introduce its budget on April 6.

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“The family just feels it’s incredibly insensitive to bring the budget down on a day … that really should be remembering this tragic day from three years ago and remembering the lives lost and the impacts for all those families, all those affected,” he said.

“I wholeheartedly agree.”

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Wotherspoon added that the family wants privacy.

During the Tuesday COVID-19 update, Moe said “no” when asked about pushing back the date of this year’s budget.

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan premier responds to NDP’s critique of releasing province’s budget on Humboldt bus crash anniversary' Saskatchewan premier responds to NDP’s critique of releasing province’s budget on Humboldt bus crash anniversary
Saskatchewan premier responds to NDP’s critique of releasing province’s budget on Humboldt bus crash anniversary – Feb 23, 2021

He said at the time of the crash, Saskatchewan’s minister of finance and MLA for Humboldt-Watrous Donna Harpauer was given the chance to push back the budget, but chose not to. Moe doesn’t expect her to push it back this time either.

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“I offered to the minister that day (in 2018)… who represents many of these families that were impacted by that tragedy. Should we move the budget?” Moe said.

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“She wouldn’t hear of it on that day. She has honored those families and those individuals and all of those involved with that tragedy each and every day since then.

“I know for certain that our minister of finance when she delivers the budget this spring will also be honouring those families, all of those impacted. She’ll have sticks outside her door. We’ll have them outside of the Legislative Assembly.

The NDP had already criticized Moe for pushing back the budget’s release, but Wotherspoon said the fact it falls on the anniversary of the Broncos tragedy is bigger than politics.

Click to play video 'Marking 2 years since the Humboldt Broncos bus crash' Marking 2 years since the Humboldt Broncos bus crash
Marking 2 years since the Humboldt Broncos bus crash – Apr 6, 2020

He said it wasn’t obvious to him that the budget was on the anniversary until the victim’s family raised the issue.

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It’s possible the government made a planning oversight, Wotherspoon said.

“It was very clear to me the moment that it was identified with me that this was wrong, and insensitive, and that the date needed to be moved, which is why we’re making the call.”

–With files from Global News’ Jonathan Guignard