EDMONTON — Alberta families affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash say they will continue to fight for changes to provincial trucking regulations.
Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured when an inexperienced Calgary truck driver ran a stop sign and barrelled into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus in Saskatchewan in April 2018.
Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba implemented mandatory training for truck and bus drivers after the crash.
Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver has said the United Conservative government is taking another look at rules for school bus drivers and farmers. It’s also granted hundreds of exemptions since the party was elected earlier this year.
Four Broncos families joined Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley at a news conference Wednesday asking the government to reverse those changes. A letter from a fifth family was read.
“When we brought in the safety standards, we had support from both sides,” said Notley. “I am very sad that this has become a fight for these families all over again.
“We can’t undo the Humboldt bus tragedy, but we can work together to prevent another from happening.”
Several Albertans were killed in the crash, including Jaxon Joseph and Logan Hunter of St. Albert and Logan Boulet of Lethbridge. Others were injured, including Derek Patter of Edmonton and Graysen Cameron from Olds.
Their families said Wednesday that any decisions being made should be about safety.
“We can’t take any more chances with inexperienced and inadequately trained drivers of semi trucks,” said Shauna Nordstrom, the mother of Logan Hunter. “We are flipping the coin for safety.
“We ask the government to stop these exemptions.”
Chris Joseph, the father of Jaxon Joseph, said they will continue to fight for improved safety measures for truck drivers.
“We won’t stop fighting,” he said. “We won’t stop, because we know that there are deaths on the road every day and we will fight for them.”
The families later met with McIver.
“They expressed that they were not pleased with the exemptions. So we’re going to think about that,” McIver told reporters after the meeting. “We haven’t made a decision to do anything different yet, but I told them we would think about that and we will.
“Safety is our top priority in transportation. It always has and it always will be. That hasn’t changed and it won’t change now.”
McIver said he has tremendous respect for the Broncos families.
“They are good people, they care and all they want is a safer world for people who are the road,” he said.
“I agree with them on that. I hope to get advice from them in the future on how to do that.”
— With files from Dean Bennett
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2019
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press