Discussing the Potential Deportation of Jaskirat Sidhu Driver involved in the Humboldt Tragedy -January 22, 2021 -The Danielle Smith Show -AM770
Get to that though, we have another topic that we want to deal with. I feel I’m going to be off side was you guys all day today because I was sort of talking this over with my producers
and there’s a story in the news about the Humboldt Broncos crash truck driver and whether he is going to be deported once his sentence is over with. And a part of me feels like maybe he should be allowed to stay as a permanent resident. He’s married here and
he did the honorable thing when he was found guilty. He didn’t fight it. He didn’t put the families through that, he owned up.
People who own up when they do things wrong, I don’t know that that goes to question again, character, right? And so I just feel like is not the punishment of being in jail for multiple
years, to not come out in his mid thirties. I think he’s got 6 more years left on the sentence. Is that not enough? This fourth or fifth, they throw the book at them. I can think a lot of other people who deserve to have the book thrown. And I wonder if he’s
in that category, Raj Sharma is going to talk us through these issues. He’s a Calgary immigration lawyer and joins us now to give us his take. Thank you so much for being with me today.
Danielle, thanks for having me on, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you over the years, and I’m going to miss you.
I’m going to miss you too.You’ve done so much to educate me in the field that you operate in and today’s going to be no exception. So, tell us a little about how this process works.
As I understand it, he’s still serving his time. I don’t know if there’s a likelihood that he would get released early. How would these things normally work? And then we’ll talk about the integration with how it works with the immigration system?
You got it. There’s, generally three stages or levels of status in Canada. The lowest level, the one that the least level of rights and review are temporary residents. So these are visitors,
these are workers, these are students. Above that are permanent residents like Mr Sidhu. Above that of course are Canadian citizens. And so permanent residents and visitors are always somewhat strangers in a strange land. There’s always a possibility of jeopardy,
at the possibility of losing status and being removed from Canada. So when a permanent resident or a temporary resident is convicted of a crime in Canada, then that could lead to initiation of removal proceedings. So the first step is a report, it’s called
the section 44 report. And that report is then reviewed by another officer. And then it’s referred to the immigration refugee board which then will issue a removal order. Now, most temporary residents, I mean, almost any crime will result in their removal.
Permanent residents have an added layer of review or an appeal on humanitarian and compassion grounds before the immigration appeal division if they received a sentence less than six months in jail.
And that would not be him. So tell us about a permanent resident. That seems to me to be on your way to becoming a Canadian citizen. Tell us when someone becomes a permanent resident
what does that actually mean?
Absolutely. You have permanent residents of Canada that have been here their entire lives…residents that have been here for 30 or 40 years, for example, British nationals or American
nationals that just never really bothered to fill out the citizenship application or pay the citizenship application fees. But for all intents and purposes, they are of course, a very, very long-term residents and very little differentiates them from a newly-minted
Now what happened and this is my strange connection to deportation laws, that I was representing a number of individuals a few years ago, when there was a bit of a organized crime and
factional warfare, or almost warfare in the streets of Calgary. And I was representing an individual named Jackie Tran. He was sentenced to two years less a day. He arrived when he was a child and because of the length of sentence, two years less a day at
that time, that was enough to get him an appeal rights to the immigration appeal division.
The delay in removing him I imagined irked then federal minister of immigration, Jason Kenney, now of course their premier. And so he changed the laws specifically and names Mr Tran-
Because of you.
Well, because of Mr Tran, exercising his legal rights and avenues to appeal. And so he brought in this law called, this atrociously entitled law called the Faster Removal of Foreign
Criminals Act, which lowered the threshold down to six months. Now that did not take into account the length of time someone’s a permanent resident of Canada. And it didn’t take into account whether it was a white collar offense or a violent offense. So you
had immigration jeopardy for individuals in Canada for decades convicted of financial offenses, for example, or a penny ante level, almost penny ante level fraud. Or for example, crimes that resulted as a result of addictions or mental health.
So did that get revised? Sort of beginning to see some of the problems with it? Or is that still the status of the law, six months?
No, and I’ve said this before the liberals campaign left, but basically govern center, right. The liberal never changed the faster rule of foreign criminals act.
Okay. So let’s then talk about this particular case. Because you put a lot on the table for consideration. So Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, he’s now waiting for the Canada border services agency
to write a report that will recommend whether he be allowed to stay in his adopted country or be deported. I think he has… Let me just see, he was sentenced almost two years ago, to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm,
killed 16 people injured 13, and he was working for the Calgary based the trucking company at the time of the crash. So what is your expectation about how long he’s going to serve the other sentence? Do you think he’ll serve out the full eight years because
of the gravity?
Almost a full eight years, and that’s because of the operation of law. So an individual, if there’s a removal order made against Mr. Sidhu, which is what his lawyer is trying to avoid,
if that removal order comes into effect in the next little bit, let’s say he will have to serve out his sentence until statutory release. So he’s not getting out on any sort of one-third or sort of diminished level. So the permanent residency that when we
talk a little about the double jeopardy, he’s going to be punished twice. Permanent residents convicted of a crime in Canada are punished in multiple ways. One of which is going to be not being able to avail himself of earlier release that a citizen would
be able to avail himself of.
So if he then ends up having to serve as full sentence, what happens at year eight, is it you’re released and we’re taking you to the airport and you’re on a plane? Is that how quickly
Not necessarily. If you’re released, you’re going to be released into the custody of CBSA and removal, for example, removal everything could be tied up with a bow at that point. And,
they might let him out for a bit and then secure a flight back. I mean, these things sometimes are complicated, for example, his Indian passport will likely expire by that point. And so there might be a small amount of delay in sort of getting over some logistics.
But the whole point here is to ask an officer not to write a 44 report because there is no appeal. If an officer does not write a report, then no immigration consequences will flow and he’ll retain his permanent residency. And so when he’s released he’ll continue
with his life in Canada.
Okay I want to pause you because I want to get a sense of where people are falling on this. And then we’ll… Cause I think it’s complicated by the fact that he’s got family members
of some of the kids who died saying it wasn’t malicious. He’ll never drive a semi again, we think he should stay. And I wonder if that’s going to have an impact on how this ends up turning out. Raj Sharma is a Calgary immigration lawyer. We’re talking about
this tragic case all the way around Humboldt Broncos crash that killed 16 and injured 13. But now the drivers awaiting a deportation decision. What do you guys think? Should he be deported? You let me know. (403) 974-8255, (780) 496-0063. We will return on
Corus Radio. Drivers awaiting a deportation decision. What do you guys think? Should he be deported? You let me know. (403) 974-8255, (780) 496-0063. we will return on Corus Radio.
Hmm. Wow, boy we are split on this, that’s for sure. I’ve got Jay saying “I’m tired of these bleeding heart arguments, there are 16 young men who would still be alive today if this person
hadn’t done what he did. I don’t care if he’ll have to live with guilt for the rest of his life, so he should. My guess that there’s little comfort to most family members he affected. And I think those with a different opinion than mine would probably feel
different if they had to bury their son”. It was my so interesting that one of the family members whose son, Evan, died in the crash, he says, “You know what, my heart heartaches every day thinking about my loss of my son” but he submitted a letter in support
of Sidhu, “I know for a fact that he’ll never drive a semi again. I know for a fact that he would take back what happened that day. He would in a heartbeat, he would trade places with any one of those boys.” So he thinks he should be allowed to stay.
Now also listeners, as I said, you guys are totally split on this. Another person says, “I believe the victim should decide”. Hell, and obviously there’s a split between the victims.
And Don says, “I agree with you on this one, he was paying taxes. He was working. He does his time. He should be allowed to stay in Canada. Personally, I would have put them on probation and keep him working that prison… And keep him working, prison is enough.
Save the taxpayers 750 or $485 per day, depending on status. And then keep him working.”
Another person also says that who they blame is the owner of the company. How was it? How does a guy like this who had no experience driving, driving a vehicle that large on rural roads,
three weeks into the job. And so there’s a lot of blame to go around here. So Raj Sharma’s Calgary immigration lawyer. So I just wanted to give you a taste of where people were coming down on this. He also just got married. And so tell me, lets deal with this
on a couple of layers. First of all, does it matter what the victim’s family believe is that a factor? [crosstalk 00:10:35].
I think it would. The officer has some degree of discretion. So discretion is everywhere in our immigration system. We think it’s black and white. But if you look at many, many cases
that involve discretion that’s been utilized. Conrad Black gave up his Canadian citizenship and was sentenced to more than 16 months in jail, in the US for a serious financial malfeasance. And he was allowed return after he’d been technically criminally inadmissible
to Canada as a foreign national. He was granted exceptional status called a temporary resident permit. So there are pathways for allowing individuals to remain. I’ve assisted on a very tragic case, it involved alcohol. A young man, a Mexican national who grew
up in Canada, T-boned a taxi and killed an innocent young girl, passenger and the man who had just immigrated to Canada. He received over four years of sentence.
We asked as Mr Sidhu is asking, we asked that enforcement not to occur. And that was ultimately granted. He was allowed to remain based on his remorse, his rehabilitation, his family
support. You have, and then on the other spectrum, you have Daniel Tschetter he was drunk. He was drinking out of a vodka bottle with that concrete truck and piled in and killed four or five innocents as well. He was sentenced and of course, no double jeopardy
because he’s presumably a Canadian citizen.
There is discretion. And an officer will look at the circumstances surrounding the case, the early guilty plea, as you pointed out he stared the victims of the trial. Many legal experts
indicate that that eight year sentences is quite an egregious. It’s the same sentence that Daniel Tschetter got drinking, you know, driving a truck, concrete truck at 120 kilometers per hour in an urban setting. And ended up killing a 16 month old and got
the same sentence.
I believe (Sidhu) did the honorable thing as well. He took his lumps and he could have probably fought it out. He could probably maybe try to move that venue. That might’ve been a good idea. And I just want to say as well as that I’ve met Mr Sidhu and discussed
this matter as well, it was through his family, who I know. And I think he did do the honorable thing.
Scott Thomas who’s had to bury his 18 year old son-He calls Mr Sidhu a broken man. If the viewpoint of the families are taken into consideration, I think Mr Thomas and other family members
have also spoken about this and his conduct during the trial was exceptional. He met with any family member that was willing to meet with him.
This was a tragedy. And I think Mr Sidhu is one of the victims. I think that he was unprepared. He had very little training. I think the regulations surrounding the patchwork of regulations
across the provinces. It was wrong. You have the requirements for driving a 60,000 pound missile in effect, in effect a 60,000 pound missile vary. You have Ontario with certain requirements, you have BC with certain requirements up until some changes, which
I believe (Minister) Mr McIver fought against, that’s my recollection. But you could get behind the wheel with about a hundred hours, a hundred hours to drive a missile.
[inaudible 00:14:18] Pat’s telling me we got to go. Thank you so much for putting all of this perspective on the table and we’ll continue to watch to see how it ends up unfolding. Take
a pause News is next on Corus Radio. Thanks for listening to the Danielle Smith podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review for free on Apple podcast, Google podcast, or wherever you find.