Posted on Oct 21, 2019
Alberta NDP and Humboldt Families Force UCP to Shift Into Reverse, Uphold Road Safety Standards
The families of Albertans who were killed or seriously injured in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy joined Alberta’s NDP Caucus at the Alberta Legislature last week demanding the UCP Government reverse its decision to rollback key highway safety measures.
Sixteen people were killed, and 13 were seriously injured when Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, a new and under-trained truck driver, ran a stop sign and struck the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team in April of 2018. In response, the previous Alberta NDP Government brought in rigorous new training and testing requirements for new truck drivers.
Recently, the UCP announced they had planned to give exemptions to 6800 drivers who obtained their licence in the period between the announcement of the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program last October, to when it rolled out in March. As well, they planned to exempt school bus drivers and drivers using heavy-load vehicles on farms and for agricultural purposes.
It was a move that angered many of the families of the Humboldt victims, who came to the Alberta Legislature to implore UCP Transport Minister to reverse his decision.
“As Bronco families, we want to send a message,” said Shauna Nordstrom, who lost her 18-year-old son Logan Hunter in the Humboldt crash. “We can’t take any more chances with inexperienced and inadequately trained drivers of semi trucks. This needs to include all industries. Every time we put new drivers on the road with potentially dangerous loads we are flipping the coin for safety and we need to be better."
Despite the emotional please of the families of the Humboldt victims, the families left the legislature that day without a promise from the UCP Transport Minister that he would reconsider the exemptions. But two days later, the UCP put their plans in reverse, and will no longer make any exemptions.
While the UCP ultimately did the right thing, the fact that they considered exemptions at all is a thought process that deeply concerns the Alberta NDP, and the families of the Humboldt victims.
“All Canadians are still deeply affected by images of that horrific collision. Our government brought in highway safety measures to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Rachel Notley, Alberta NDP Leader. “It is unconscionable for this UCP government to roll these standards back and put Albertans back at risk on our province’s highways.”