"My reasons for wanting him gone are to avoid more trauma"
June 11, 2024 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Driver who caused deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash denied first bid to stay in Canada (Jaskirat Singh) Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the April 2018 crash that killed 16 people and injured 13. Court was told Sidhu, a newly married permanent resident, missed a stop sign at a rural Saskatchewan intersection and drove into the path of the Broncos bus carrying players and staff to a junior hockey league playoff game.

Humboldt Broncos bus crash (Wikipedia)

From the linked Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) article: Scott Thomas, father of deceased Broncos player Evan Thomas, said he's "disappointed but not surprised." He said most of the Broncos families wanted Sidhu to be deported, and it is the law. That said, Thomas is still hoping there's a way for Sidhu to remain in Canada. "We need to find better ways to train truck drivers. We need to find better ways to educate truck drivers. We need to find better ways to regulate truck drivers and the industry," Thomas said. "I hoped Mr. Sidhu could have been a part of that, telling his story. With him gone and sent home, that conversation will be harder. I think we will miss that opportunity."

Not a few Canadians have observed that training standards and the trucking industry in general requires closer scrutiny and improved regulation. And then there's the question of double standards.
posted by elkevelvet (60 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
The pitchforks really came out for this man. I do not expect him to remain in the country, but by doing so, we set a very scary precedent for any permanent resident. Canada has really gotten nasty about immigrants from anywhere not white. It depresses the hell out of me.
posted by Kitteh at 7:34 AM on June 11 [34 favorites]


Canada has really gotten nasty about immigrants from anywhere not white.

I am not disagreeing, but the legislation on this predates the incident from what I can tell. It would be interesting to see how many times this legislation resulted in the deportation of permanent residents, and correlate to their country of origin/colour of skin.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:43 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]




I am really not convinced that there is anything about this particular case, where the driver went through a stop sign while speeding, that could be fixed by better truck driver training. Rural roads and intersections are filled with tragic stories like this. This one is particularly bad because of the numbers but it is really not an uncommon thing for people to run stops signs and traffic lights in low population areas.

It's particularly terrible to know that the bus tried to stop but the braking distance for a vehicle going 60mph is well more than double the distance from which the bus driver started breaking and that distance is greater still for something like a bus. I wonder if the driver of the bus should have tried to leave the road as a loss of control and roll may have been less deadly than a t-bone collision but that's also probably not something you can driver train/education into consideration.
posted by srboisvert at 7:57 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


My in-laws live out in cottage country and drivers--whether they be locals or urbanites on a weekend getaway--are terrifying when it is a low pop area.
posted by Kitteh at 8:04 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, Saskatchewan is lowering some requirements for ag industry drivers:

https://www.trucknews.com/regulations/saskatchewan-class-1-driver-exemption-raises-safety-concerns-sta-says/1003185995/
posted by sneebler at 8:04 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


is this threadsitting? this is threadsitting, I'll stop with this one

to your comment, srboisvert, I agree. I live in a rural area and I can think of a specific 4-way intersection with a 2-way stop facing north/south drivers, and I have yet to come to a complete stop at that intersection. Unpaved road, a person can see a good mile in any direction, it's a slow and roll situation

that said, there appears to be opportunities for simple adjustments and better regulation. Even the fine levied against the trucking company in this case ($5,000) seems pretty.. inadequate. You get a young man taking the full burden of what happened here, and the impression that the next accident is just a matter of time.
posted by elkevelvet at 8:06 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Given his actions after the crash, he really doesn’t sound like someone who needs to be deported for the good of Canada. If the immigration law needs to be enforced then so be it, but I don’t know that Canada will gain from it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:14 AM on June 11 [25 favorites]


Scape that goat!
posted by non canadian guy at 8:32 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


I was interested to know how many people actually get deported from Canada every year. According to this article from what looks like a reputable source, in 2023 about 15,000 people were deported from Canada which cost the government approximately $58 million. The largest reason by far for deportation was some type of violation of visa terms or undocumented status, on which the article is focused. Just about five per cent of the total deportees, or about 750 people, were deported from Canada as a result of criminal charges in 2023. This is against about 475K permanent residency applications approved in the same year. I feel most Canadians are very sympathetic and supportive of ways to advocate for undocumented people finding a way to stay in the country, but most are not for people convicted of serious crimes.

As the article about Sidhu points out, any permanent resident convicted of a crime with a maximum penalty of at least ten years' imprisonment or more is deported, with very few avenues for appeal. The Humboldt crash was so terrible - sixteen people dead - and the accident so egregious (it was a clear, sunny day and he blew through the stop sign at 100/km without braking and without being distracted by the sun, a cellphone, or lack of sleep) that Sidhu is almost certainly going to go. And even the parents who are quoted in the article as supportive of him staying acknowledge that most of the families of the victims want him gone.

My belief is the man killed sixteen people through outright, blatant negligence and this deportation is part of the punishment. Yes, it was an accident, yes, his employer shares the blame, and yes, he has acknowledged his guilt and served prison time, but I have little sympathy for him.
posted by fortitude25 at 8:59 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


The law is pretty clear here and it would be the legal decision to deport him... but it almost certainly wouldn't be justice. There does have to be a chance for redemption and this certainly from everything I've read is a case where it would be the right decision to make an exception.
posted by cirhosis at 9:11 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


All Western countries got rid of “transportation” or exile as a criminal punishment over a century ago, viewing it as cruel and unusual… for those who are citizens by birth. It’s an egregiously glaring double standard.

(On top of being just really bad policy in many cases - not in this case, but I’ve read (probably here on Metafilter?) that the US’ deportation as criminal punishment policy was one of the important contributing factors to increasing violence in El Salvador in past decades (alongside various US foreign policy choices, of course), which then came back home to the US to roost in the form of increased gang/organized crime violence. And just the idea that Western countries that have benefited from colonialism have the moral authority to choose which immigrants from former colonized countries they’re willing to accept and which they’ll throw back is super problematic when you look at the big picture in historical context, including what historical and current events have created immigration pressures in the first place. If the driver, or other immigrants from other Commonwealth countries who commute crimes in Canada, are deported anywhere, it should be to the imperial centre, Britain.)
posted by eviemath at 9:17 AM on June 11 [12 favorites]


Thanks for this post - I hadn't heard the update anywhere else (admittedly I've been paying attention to very little news this month) although I remember when this happened.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:50 AM on June 11


Really? So a man is at fault for an incident that killed over a dozen people, with no real mitigating circumstances, and because he's an immigrant from a colonial country we've already shifted the conversation to colonialism and how it should be Britain's responsibility to incarcerate and rehabilitate him?
posted by WaylandSmith at 9:51 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


The law is pretty clear here and it would be the legal decision to deport him... but it almost certainly wouldn't be justice.

grief can be a brutal energy, not so much irrational as too primal, too wild to really focus and aim. If you do aim it at something and fully unload, trust that though you may nail your target, you'll likely take out a pile of the adjacent scenery as well, which is a reckless fucking way of doing business. And a foolish justification for any kind of official policy.
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Appropriate / more driver ed is a Good Thing; but road design at intersections can also help&hinder road safety [4m results-YT pointing at 4m Tom Scott investigates YT].
posted by BobTheScientist at 10:20 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


tbh I hate the idea of using trauma to justify punishment, even if that punishment actually is on some level deserved
posted by BungaDunga at 10:25 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Canada should keep him in Canada and punish him like it would punish anyone born in Canada. (Including making him stay in Saskatchewan.)

But also: motor vehicles should be aware of one another. When two big things like that are racing towards each other, each vehicle should at least sound an alarm on its dashboard and maybe apply the brakes automatically. Hell, just GPS and knowing there was a required full stop coming up would have been enough to stop the truck.
posted by pracowity at 10:25 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


there has to be some sort of abstract principles of justice involved, otherwise you're just practicing vengeance, and that isn't the government's job
posted by BungaDunga at 10:26 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I have followed the outcomes of this, but it was still unclear to me why it happened.

From the wikipedia: "Sidhu stated that he was distracted by a tarp that had come loose. Glen Doerksen, the Broncos' bus driver, applied his brakes 24 metres before the intersection, but was unable to avoid the collision."

I think it's reasonable to believe that he missed the sign in time to act; not that he outright ignored it.

I do recall it being reported that the particular intersection lacked rumble-strips which would have been a secondary cue over and above the visual of a sign (those strips have spotty inclusion depending on province and area and should be used more IMO). It may have made the difference of stopping in time.

What a terrible event. The driver didn't shirk responsibility. I don't know what is served by this.
posted by mazola at 10:26 AM on June 11 [8 favorites]


I don't know the specifics of this case, but this is a very "normal" law. In the US, permanent residents who commit "crimes of moral turpitude" can be deported to their home country, usually after serving jail time, if required by a conviction.
posted by atomicstone at 10:42 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


The trucking industry will do anything to stop additional regulations being required on their vehicles. Remember that time Ontario tried to limit trucks to 5 km/h over the speed limit? The lobbying was swift and fierce, and the reg went away.

The kind, compassionate thing to do would be to not deport Jaskirat Singh Sidhu. There may be a risk he may attempt to take his own life if all appeals fail. Unfortunately, we're in the run-up to a Federal election. Can you imagine the noise that PP and his shitbird chorus would raise about "Corrupt Trudeau lets the Broncos killer stay"?

Canada needs to be better than the trolley problem. It frequently fails, though.
posted by scruss at 10:43 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


The pitchforks really came out for this man. I do not expect him to remain in the country, but by doing so, we set a very scary precedent for any permanent resident. Canada has really gotten nasty about immigrants from anywhere not white. It depresses the hell out of me.

If he had killed 16 people with anything other than a motor vehicle would you feel the same way?
posted by groda at 10:48 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


To me, this is a crime in name only and deporting him is a bad outcome. I guarantee that literally everyone who regularly drives a car has done something equally stupid or inattentive at least once and the fact that we aren't all murderers has more to do with luck and circumstance than it has to do with Sidhu being a bad dude.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:52 AM on June 11 [31 favorites]


The driver didn't shirk responsibility.

He had a responsibility to drive safely and he shirked that.
posted by biffa at 11:01 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


This is awful in every way, and my heart breaks for the families, the province and this man who pled guilty specifically to avoid prolonging the pain of the victim's families. If his attempts at reconciliation and apology are not good enough, whose are?

Do not forget that the Premier of Saskatchewan was also responsible for an accident that killed someone. It sucks, it's awful and accidents happen. I hope Jaskirat's appeals find sympathetic ears.
posted by dogbusonline at 11:03 AM on June 11 [13 favorites]


If he had killed 16 people with anything other than a motor vehicle would you feel the same way?

If you want to think about alternatives, think about this: If he had done the same shitty driving job but killed no one -- if the bus had been delayed 30 seconds because some kid was dicking around when they were loading up, and so the bus got to the intersection 30 seconds after the tractor-trailer blew through the stop sign -- would you feel the same way? Still deport him for accidentally running a stop sign?
posted by pracowity at 11:06 AM on June 11 [15 favorites]


Intent really colours the way I feel about this. The driver made a tragic, terrible mistake but I don't see anywhere that he was intentionally reckless.

This event from years ago sticks with me and really provides a contrast.

I am touched by the families that want to wring out something good out of this tragedy (as noted in the FPP; I know they may not all feel this way, but if some of them can feel compassion in the depths of this tragedy, I can too).
posted by mazola at 11:16 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


I guarantee that literally everyone who regularly drives a car has done something equally stupid or inattentive at least once and the fact that we aren't all murderers has more to do with luck and circumstance than it has to do with Sidhu being a bad dude.

No I haven't blown past an oversized stop sign with a blinking red light on top going nearly 100 km/hr. And if you have, I suggest you stop driving.
posted by thecjm at 11:29 AM on June 11 [10 favorites]


No I haven't blown past an oversized stop sign with a blinking red light on top going nearly 100 km/hr.

Maybe not that maneuver in particular, but you're probably still a dangerous idiot behind the wheel. Most people are. On a lot of highways, almost everyone drives like a maniac all the time. Each thinks "I'm an excellent driver" because everyone else is also driving like a maniac. You don't know how many times you almost killed yourself or someone else because you were lucky and it didn't happen. You got there a second earlier or a second later and everything was OK. Or someone else maneuvered quickly to make up for your bad move.

When I was young, the first time I was literally frightened of traffic was when we were navigating through Toronto (I guess on the QEW or 401) and everyone was driving like they were escaping an invasion, only worse, because they were driving with one hand, and eating and drinking and smoking with the other. And they were only going to work.
posted by pracowity at 12:15 PM on June 11 [20 favorites]


So my question to those interested, what’s the point of deportation of this man, other than “the law”?

I’m sure we can find some case meeting legal criteria that didn’t result in deportation since even Canadian resources say that the law doesn’t always result in deportation.

So why this specific instance?
posted by JakeEXTREME at 12:17 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


All Western countries got rid of “transportation” or exile as a criminal punishment over a century ago, viewing it as cruel and unusual… for those who are citizens by birth. It’s an egregiously glaring double standard.

It is not allowed for any citizen. If he were naturalized he'd be a citizen and there would be no possibility of deportation. But he's not a citizen and would probably have a very hard time becoming a citizen because I'm guessing we don't naturalize people convicted of serious crimes. I'm ok with having the "you can't change your mind" point of no return being naturalization not residency. The one exception being people who grew up in Canada. I remember the Just Desserts killers were at risk of being deported and that didn't seem fair because they were raised in Canada from small children. They became criminals here not in their country of birth.

That said, I strongly suspect that if this guy stayed in Canada he would spend his life making up for he did. That means, given that what's done cannot be changed, the country will be better off if he stays than if he goes. However, not that the problem with having discretion in decision like that instead of just deporting anyone who commits one of the following crimes is that discretion is exactly where bias creeps in.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:18 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I feel for the driver Sidhu because he's owned up to his actions but I can't find fault with the decision to deport him, hard cases making bad law and all that. Ideally there would be additional regulations enacted for both the construction of intersections as well as the working conditions for commercial drivers so that they'd be less likely to blow through stop signs. As someone that's usually a pedestrian or cyclist I'm definitely not happy with the way people drive but to me that comes down to lack of enforcement leading to drivers thinking they can get away with anything and poor infrastructure preventing them from performing unsafe actions more than anything else. Rumble strips or speed bumps to alert drivers of upcoming stops on rural roads and because we can't trust the police to do their job installing cameras to issue tickets if drivers don't come to a complete stop at the intersections.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:45 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


If he had done the same shitty driving job but killed no one -- ...would you feel the same way? Still deport him for accidentally running a stop sign?

This is very much a false equivalence.

Regardless of the reason for running a stop sign, there are obviously going to be different punishments for doing it and hurting no one than there are for doing it and killing over a dozen people. Actions have different results at different times, and the consequences that follow differ too.

Should we only apply drunk driving laws and punishments to drunk drivers if they kill someone in a wreck? Would anyone argue that someone who was texting while driving and runs over a child be given the same consequences as someone who merely ran over a curb while texting, because well, after all, what if the child had been a little slower and not been at the intersection at just the right moment to be killed?

And I get it's a difficult situation, and I have sympathy for all involved, but from all accounts... he didn't just accidentally run a stop sign, did he? He somehow missed all of the warnings that an intersection and stop were coming up - there were 4 signs over 406 meters leading up to the oversized, 4 foot wide stop sign. He didn't reduce his speed at all when coming to an intersection.

And, unfortunately for him - but more unfortunately for all of the dead people and their grieving families - there was a terrible, tragic result which has terrible, tragic consequences.

We all do reckless things at times. But the results of those reckless actions are always going to have different consequences depending on what the direct results of those actions are. If you think deportation is too strong of a punishment that's one thing, but let's not act as if not seeing a stop sign at an empty intersection and accidentally going past it and no one getting hurt is the same - and seemingly should always be treated the same - as not seeing multiple signs, not recognizing that there is an intersection even when there are other vehicles stopped at the intersection, and blowing through the stop at speed and killing over a dozen people and injuring more.
posted by Saucy Possum at 12:45 PM on June 11 [8 favorites]


I'm always pretty cynical about people who say they have never ever driven recklessly for a moment. I mean, I am sure there are indeed people who drive extensively who have never driven above the speed limit, who have never missed a stop sign or have made the wrong judgement about whether they should stop when a light goes yellow and thus have never either gone through a red light or ended up skidding into a crosswalk/intersection, have never gone into autopilot or fallen victim to highway hypnosis... but I'm pretty damn sure that there are a lot *lot* less than there are people who insist they could never have made such a mistake.

I can't particularly blame the parents either, of course, it was still Sidhu's error that caused them lifelong grief and it's reasonable for them to want to see him punished as the law dictates, but I can't say the outcome delights me.
posted by tavella at 1:15 PM on June 11 [6 favorites]


but you're probably still a dangerous idiot behind the wheel.

I drove cab for a while when younger, logged many miles and it couldn't help but make me a better than average driver, I suspect. It's now been over forty years since my last ticket, more than that since my last even minor accident. I've nevertheless done some dangerous idiot stuff behind the wheel in this time. It happens. We're human. We get fatigued. Our judgment slips. We make mistakes. Fortunately mine have thus far yielded no tragic consequences.
posted by philip-random at 1:19 PM on June 11 [7 favorites]


Whatever the families of those who died in the accident feel about it is their business

I don't think it's good law to deport people for making mistakes

Premeditated murder or deliberate, serious crime is one thing, but a serious mistake and carelessness that resulted in a horrific accident should be handled within the domestic legal code. Deportation is bullshit, we bring in 1000s of people every year to fill jobs we don't or can't do, we offer permanent residency, and some of this doesn't add up

I have known too many people who came on the Temp. Foreign Worker thing, hoping to stay, and the industries and employers who screw them over and the bullshit they put up with is shitty. And they still want to stay, because it's even shittier from where they came in many cases. and we take advantage of that
posted by elkevelvet at 1:23 PM on June 11 [9 favorites]


I'm always pretty cynical about people who say they have never ever driven recklessly for a moment.

I had a friend who always used to fuck around with his cellphone while driving, and I finally lost it on him when he said something to the effect of "I know I'm not distracted." I lost my temper and said "I don't think you understand what 'distracted' means - don't do that anymore or please let me out."

I'm pretty sure I am aware of most of the instances I've been the idiot behind the wheel, but what bothers me is the reality that there have to be a few instances that I didn't notice, because of luck and / or other drivers compensating for my lapse.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:28 PM on June 11 [8 favorites]


The place I have an issue is that the courts apparently decided that 8 years was a just sentence for the consequences of his crime. That seems to take into account questions of negligence vs accident, the severity of the consequences, the impact on the community, etc. You can agree or disagree with the sentence, but it's what was handed down (along with, I imagine, restrictions on driving or anything else that goes with incarceration). Deportation on top of the sentence adds an additional punishment based on his immigration status, which is a different question.

Surely deportation should be based on the offender's likelihood of continuing offense, otherwise it's an extra penalty on immigrants. (I'm not saying this is how the law is written, just trying to work through and express my feelings on it).

It seems like our ideas about bad drivers shouldn't be the central moral issue here, or we should be discussing whether Canadian nationals who kill a certain number of people due to their actions should also be deported....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:35 PM on June 11 [10 favorites]


Premeditated murder or deliberate, serious crime is one thing, but a serious mistake and carelessness that resulted in a horrific accident should be handled within the domestic legal code.

I think that's why the threshold is being convicted of a crime with a maximum 10-year sentence. That means that it's only for more serious crimes. I guess you're disagreeing with the characterization of "dangerous driving causing death" as a serious crime but doing something dangerous that causes death is not an accident even if the death wasn't an intended outcome.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:46 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


am really not convinced that there is anything about this particular case, where the driver went through a stop sign while speeding, that could be fixed by better truck driver training

The real problem is definitely paying drivers to move faster and faster, rather than accepting reasonable speeds for transportation.
posted by corb at 1:52 PM on June 11 [7 favorites]


I've been looking at that intersection on Google Maps, and it just seems designed for horrible crashes. If you're heading north on 35 towards 335, your view of westbound traffic on 335 is almost non-existent as you approach the intersection due to a bunch of trees and buildings. The same goes for traffic westbound on 335 w/r/t northbound 35 traffic. I have no doubt that played a major role both in Sidhu's decision not to stop as well as the bus driver's late application of the brakes. Nobody of sound mind wants to play chicken with another vehicle. That's just a deathtrap of an intersection - as evidenced by the memorial markers on the southeast corner from a different fatal crash.

One small good thing is that it looks like they installed rumble strips on 335 approaching the crossing. The rest of the signage, though, is woefully inadequate.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:57 PM on June 11 [6 favorites]


I have a friend that lives out in the country and from the highway I take a main road all the way to their house. Apart from traffic lights all the cross-streets have stop signs while the main road doesn't. There are a lot of intersections where any potential car on a cross-street is hidden from view until I'm really close to them. Even though it's a straight drive I'm always fairly tense when I'm doing it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:25 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


There's an angle to this kind of policy which is essentially, "why should Canadians pay to incarcerate a convicted criminal when deportation is an option?" I'm not sympathetic to this line of argument.

The notion of applying a higher standard to immigrants that isn't applied to the native-born seems strange to me, at odds with the particular set of assumptions that often goes with the conservative "who's going to pay" argument (namely, that immigrants are of a different, lower tranche of humanity than the native-born; this is of course utter malarkey). But I suppose I'm not surprised at conservative views being logically incompatible with one another.
posted by axiom at 3:07 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I think saying that everyone makes mistakes is missing the point. Some mistakes are worse than others. He was driving a semi-truck, so he had a greater responsibility to drive safely, because the potential consequences are much more dire than making a mistake while driving a car.
posted by april of time at 3:11 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


I’ve crossed that intersection. I’ve got family out that way - the highlight was always the sign into Tisdale. Tisdale has another sign that lists ever single boy who made it to the majors playing hockey. And a list of every time the local boys went to provincials. Every small prairie town has one of these.

Out where the accident happened it’s all small towns. Tisdale only has 6 guys in a grade, so the local team draws guys from a wide area. The guys on the Bronco hockey team where from all over Saskatchewan and Alberta. This was felt. The rest of Canada largely ignores western Canada but this incident stuck at the nations emotions.

What is often unstated is the racism around so called ‘foreign’ truck driving firms out west. Bulk goods hauling is a huge part of the economy in Canada so bootstrapping a trucking company is a regular family business for immigrants. Anytime one of these drivers who are a visible minority makes a mistake confirmation bias ensures it stands out and gets remembered. So the Sikh who couldn’t navigate backing into the loading dock gets turned into a racist rant.

So thats the tinder and match of this. So much of Canada is big and empty, but Saskatchewan’s fatal accident rate is way higher than everywhere else. That part will remain unspoken.

I don’t think it matters how much dignity the driver has maintained. His sentence was within the range of what’s other received and his deportation, which I find disagreeable, is similarly the inevitable outcome.
posted by zenon at 3:12 PM on June 11 [13 favorites]


It seems like our ideas about bad drivers shouldn't be the central moral issue here, or we should be discussing whether Canadian nationals who kill a certain number of people due to their actions should also be deported....

I don't think that matters. It's unconstitutional and in most cases a violation of international law to deport citizens. I don't get the argument that because we can't deport citizens we can't deport non-citizens either. We have essentially no choice but to let citizens live here. We have a choice about the other ~7 Billion people on earth. Most of them never commit serious crimes. Some commit serious crimes before moving here. We don't let them move here. Some commit serious crimes after they move here. We often don't let them live here either. I don't feel like if you wait til you get here to do your crime that means we have to just let people stay. Like I said, I don't think it's necessarily just or best that this particular guy gets deported, but I don't think it follows from "we can't/done deport citizens" that everyone else who would -- except for criminal history -- be allowed to live in Canada should get to live in Canada.

The best example I can think of a double-standard is that Conrad Black is allowed to live here and I can't figure out how or why he was allowed to move here. He should have been denied his permanent residency application because he was convicted of a serious crime before applying.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:22 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, all Canadians (except First Nations people and a few others) are immigrants of relatively recent (within a couple hundred years) immigrants*. Compared to prehistory, why shouldn't convicted felons be sent back to the UK or France or wherever? If we are just arguing about relatively recent time, where is the limit? (I realize that there is a legal answer to this, but I am talking about morals rather than law). I mean, I am a third generation immigrant to the United States. What actual claim to I have to remain her other than it is all that I have ever known? The idea of being an immigrant is a moral fiction, even though it's a legal reality.

* And even the longest residing people immigrated to the continent, although a long long time ago. In Geologic Time, it was a couple of hours ago.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:38 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


that should have been "immigrants of relatively recent vintage." It's been a long day.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:42 PM on June 11


For perspective I used to drive 18-wheelers. TFA says Sidhu had a one week driving course and then two weeks driving under supervision.

When I learned to drive, I had to pass a six week laws and practice training course, then pass an intake course with the logistics company that hired me, and then whatever many weeks supervised driving with a team trainer there. I was the best driver in my school class, and even with all of that, it wasn’t enough to make me even an adequate over the road driver. I quit bc I knew that I loved driving, but trucking itself would END me.

There is so much to pay attention to, and as the driver, all of it is your problem. You own that load until it is safely removed from your vehicle and signed for. If you’ve never driven a combination vehicle, with a valuable load (they’re all valuable), especially under the pressure of timed logistics and the insane rules of drive/sleep/rest, you have no idea how easy it can be to do something that seems no-brainer, like miss a stop sign. Rumble strips are a gift from god and they should be everywhere
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:00 PM on June 11 [19 favorites]


I don't get the argument that because we can't deport citizens we can't deport non-citizens either. We have essentially no choice but to let citizens live here.

If it were permitted, would you think it was appropriate? Is the only reason not to do it that it is currently not constitutional in the U.S. and (I assume) Canada?
posted by praemunire at 7:20 PM on June 11


If it were permitted, would you think it was appropriate?

I think we have no choice not just for constitutional reasons but also for moral reasons. So I don't think exporting citizens should be permitted. That's why I think non-citizens who have lived in Canada since childhood shouldn't be deported either.

But it seems like it's ok to say whatever country formed the criminal should deal with them. We're not obligated to let any non-citizen live here. One criterion we use in deciding who to let in is crimnal history. I don't think that's unreasonable. Now if you came here when you were 2, you're our problem and we can't just pawn you off on the country you were born in.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:57 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


But it seems like it's ok to say whatever country formed the criminal should deal with them.

I'm a permanent resident in the country where I live. If you haven't lived in this kind of limbo, this constant knowledge that no matter how hard you try to live a moral and legal life, you could be be ripped away from your life and your spouse in an instant because of a tragic mistake or some kind of bureaucratic fuckup, or because maybe in five or ten years the right wing will manage to do some kind of end run around EU law and start expelling foreigners on flimsy pretenses, I don't think you can understand what this decision really means. In fact, without getting into too many details, I've recently experienced some serious mental health issues, and the stress of living with this ambiguity has been one of the major contributors.

I agree that Jaskirat Singh Sidhu showed criminally bad judgement in running the stop sign, that his crime is not excused by any explicit or implicit pressure from his employer, and that he should be held accountable by the law. But deportation is literally ripping someone away from their life, their current economic, social and support systems; it should be an option of last resort for persons who have shown a clear intent to exploit their adopted country through premeditated criminal behavior, not run-of-the-mill offenders who due to their life circumstances happen to hold a different passport.

Also the construction "whatever country formed the criminal" is really gross and othering, implying both that 'bad', 'foreign' countries 'form' criminals, as well as that immigrants' behavior and morals are shaped only by their country of origin and not by the environment in which they currently live.
posted by nanny's striped stocking at 2:01 AM on June 12 [14 favorites]


Also the construction "whatever country formed the criminal" is really gross and othering, implying both that 'bad', 'foreign' countries 'form' criminals, as well as that immigrants' behavior and morals are shaped only by their country of origin and not by the environment in which they currently live.

I feel like that's unfair given that I was saying that explicitly for making the point that we absolutely shouldn't deport criminals (immigrant or otherwise) who are shaped in Canada, as, of course, most people who commit crimes in Canada are.

I was a non-resident alien in the US during the Bush post 911 years and definitely gave thought to the possibility that as a foreigner I could almost plausibly be not just deported but tortured. My aunt who had lived as a permanent resident in the US for ~50 years at that point finally naturalized because of the wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the u.s. and she worried a change in policy could result in losing her residency. I get it, but I feel like that's different from saying we have to let people who commit actual serious crimes stay.

But ti be clear, as I've said, I don't think that means it's a clear case that Sidhu should be deported and there's definitely a case to be made that he shouldn't be. But I wouldn't go from there to "we shouldn't deport people."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:47 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


I feel like that's unfair given that I was saying that explicitly for making the point that we absolutely shouldn't deport criminals (immigrant or otherwise) who are shaped in Canada, as, of course, most people who commit crimes in Canada are.

I apologize for not knowing and implicitly mischaracterizing your experiences in my comment, but I still think this language is problematic because it implies that people are somehow the product (and property) of whatever culture they lived in prior to age 18; besides that simply not being true, it comes with a whole load of baggage about the relative law-abidingness of various nationalities as well as the very different standards of integration/assimilation depending an immigrant's country of origin.

But I wouldn't go from there to "we shouldn't deport people."

At the point where someone has obtained permanent residency, which AFAIK requires an extended period of residence and/or a close familial relationship to a citizen in most countries, I can't see a real justification for deportation ever, except maybe in cases where it can be shown that that person represents a societal threat above and beyond a comparable criminal with citizenship, i.e., involvement with cross-border organized crime, terrorist sympathies, intimidating others into illegal practices such as forced marriage or female genital mutilation, etc. For less-established immigrants, I do think there needs to be a procedure to remove someone who clearly intends to make their living from harmful illegal activity or who commits a very serious, premediated crime, while I don't think, e.g., a student involved in a campus fist-fight or a first-time drunk driver on a visa needs to be automatically removed and rendered inadmissible for the rest of their lives.
posted by nanny's striped stocking at 6:12 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


At the point where someone has obtained permanent residency, which AFAIK requires an extended period of residence and/or a close familial relationship to a citizen in most countries,

It does not require either in Canada. Most people who come in as permanent residents apply pre-arrival and are not allowed to get off a plane until their permanent resident status is granted. There are some people who apply from other visa statuses, I have no idea how relatively common the two paths are, but the main immigration pathway is to apply pre-arrival. As for family members, non-citizen family members can sponsor immigrants. Those sponsored immigrants (whether sponsored by citizens or non-citizens) must have their permanent residency status approved before they arrive in Canada.From time to time one sees in the news an couple separated for years by the immigration system: a spouse living in Canada sponsoring a spouse who lives somewhere else but the immigration process takes 2 or 3 years to process and in the meantime the spouse outside of Canada is not allowed to enter the country. So anyway, no, a person with no close citizen relative who has been in the country for all of 3 seconds can have permanent resident status.

I basically agree that not every permanent resident who commits a crime should be deported, but I think it's really hard to set a hard and fast rule that doesn't fail somewhere. Like "crime so bad you could go to prison for 10 years" seems reasonable, but then in this case one can see an argument for it not being reasonable. But then if you instead of setting a hard and fast rule say "well a judge should look at it and see if this person is really a danger to Canada" then that's discretion and discretion is the mother of bias.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:36 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I too have been through the PR process and it there were a few reasons that I wanted to get through that stage and move on to citizenship as fast as possible. Taxation without representation was one - I was paying taxes but had no voting rights. But another was that tiny but real chance that something could go wrong and I'd be deported. But I know people in similar situations who thought that the PR status was all they needed.

I've been through the whole gamut of statuses in Canada - child of someone on a work visa to student visa to PR to citizen. And that was all as a white anglophone. I can't imagine the difficulties and stressors of going through the process as someone who isn't white or doesn't speak an official language. But I have lived the immigrant experience. I knew that I could be deported if I did something like this.
posted by thecjm at 7:30 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


I sure hope people read toodleydoodley's comment

For perspective I used to drive 18-wheelers. TFA says Sidhu had a one week driving course and then two weeks driving under supervision.

we found a man guilty and he served time, and it looks like we'll deport him

as long as faster, cheaper, more is how we organize our economy, then let's not kid ourselves that this kind of thing won't keep happening, and the deportation is meaningless in terms of "justice" etc.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:10 AM on June 12 [9 favorites]


My spouse is still a PR because her country of birth, Japan, doesn't allow dual citizenship so if she were to become Canadian then she would have to relinquish her Japanese citizenship. It does add a level of risk in that she could be deported but we still think the chances of that happening are fairly remote.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:49 PM on June 12


I think we have no choice not just for constitutional reasons but also for moral reasons. So I don't think exporting citizens should be permitted.

Um where would citizens be deported to? The other countries generally have to accept them as well and if you’re being deported for criminal/punishment reasons, that’s a big red flag to whatever country you’re supposed to be deported to. Most people have citizenship to only one country, there’s no where else they’re legally allowed to live.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:09 AM on June 13


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