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

The Vancouver Island marmot is an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
VIDEO: ‘Frisky’ Vancouver Island marmots caught on camera

Marmots are catching the eye of researchers when caught on security cameras getting ‘quite frisky’

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

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

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Most Read