Calgary, March 14: What should have been a proud moment is now marred by the reality of just how far she is from the Canadian dream. After almost a decade in Canada, Tanvir Mann became a Canadian citizen two months ago.
On March 3, her husband’s bid to stay in this country was denied. After a 15 month review, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) rejected Jaskirat Sidhu’s argument against deportation to India.
Sidhu is the man etched in the minds of Canadians as “The Humboldt Driver.” On April 6, 2018, he was behind the wheel of a transport truck when he ran a stop sign and collided with the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured.
Jaskirat Sidhu is not a Canadian citizen and, under immigration laws, anyone convicted of a crime that carries a sentence of more than six months is subject to deportation. In 2021, Sidhu’s lawyer, Michael Greene submitted a 415-page binder with his arguments against deportation, citing his client’s extreme level of remorse, no criminal history, no drugs, alcohol, excessive speed, or pattern of reckless driving, and his low risk to re-offend.
CBSA has rejected Sidhu’s bid to stay in Canada and offered no substantive reasons for the decision beyond restating the laws surrounding criminal convictions and deportations.
In an exclusive interview, Sidhu’s wife Tanvir says she is devastated: “I think Canada has always believed in mercy and second chances. And I really wish that Jaskirat would be given that chance too. He has been remorseful from day one. We just really want one-second chance to prove that we can be good Canadian citizens.”
Lawyer Michael Greene is considering appealing the decision to federal court, which would send the case back to a new CBSA officer.
“The judge, if he or she finds that the decision was unreasonable or that the process was unfair, can overturn the decision and send it back to another officer for determination. But, you know, it’s not easy to show a decision is unreasonable”.
Hundreds of letters of support were included in the original case against deportation, including from Scott and Laurie Thomas, whose son Evan died in the crash.
“[Sidhu] just got married. He took that job to help his wife go back to school. And they were making a life in Canada. I don’t think he should be deported because of what happened.”
However, many other Humboldt Broncos family members don’t feel they can heal with Jaskirat Sidhu still in Canada. Chris Joseph, whose son did not survive the crash, supports the CBSA decision to remove Sidhu.
Tanvir Mann came to Canada in 2013, when she was just 22 years old. Her then-boyfriend, Jaskirat, came the following year. Both had degrees: hers in nursing, his in commerce.
They got married in 2018 and Jaskirat turned to trucking to support his new bride’s higher education in Canada. He had no professional driving experience, took just a one-week training course, and was on one of his first long-haul solo trips at the time of the collision.
In 2021, Jaskirat Sidhu gave his first television interview since being sentenced to eight years in prison.