CALGARY. A provincial review into Alberta trucking regulations has angered some of the families impacted by the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
At the heart of the contentious issue lie questions of whether newly implemented trucking rules should apply to semi drivers operating on farms.
Any suggestion of implementing a two-tiered system is ‘ridiculous’ to Michelle Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan Straschnitzki was paralyzed in the April 2018 crash that killed 16 and injured 13.
"If you’re driving a truck on a highway, you should have to take all the proper courses,"Straschnitzki told CTV News.
"If you don’t believe that," she added, "then I invite you to take a trip out to Humboldt to Nipawin and see the memorial site,"
The driver of the semi, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary, pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving; his training and inexperience as a driver were cited as factors in the crash.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The new regulations came into effect March 1, under the previous NDP government.
"Let me be completely clear: no decisions have been made or will be made until we hear from all interested parties about the best way to proceed," Transportation Minister Ric Mciver said in a statement provided to CTV, which also indicated safety is the ‘top priority’ for the provincial government.
Premier Jason Kenney emphasized the same point Tuesday, when asked about the matter at a press conference, but also hinted that they are looking at potentially relaxing the rules for those in the agriculture sector.
"If a farmer is simply taking their grain truck to the local elevator or perhaps to a regional terminal, and they have a perfect driving record, and they’re, they’re just driving their own product I think that some consideration might be given there cause they’re not professional truckers in that case, they’re not full-time truckers," Kenney said.
Toby Boulet, the father of Logan Boulet who was killed in the bus crash, tweeted that the notion commercial and farm trucking are different is ‘wrong’.
Straschnitzki says he plays to keep fighting for even stricter regulations for those behind the wheel of a truck.
"It’s up to us to keep pushing, keep pressuring them to make the changes that need to be made," she said.