August 8, 2020

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Manitoba legislature united in grief

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/4/2018 (851 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Politicians of all political stripes expressed their sadness in the Manitoba legislature Monday in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash tragedy.

For close to 15 minutes, MLAs set aside their political differences, united in the grief that has consumed the nation and offering condolences to the families of the victims.

"Our hearts break for the 15 families who lost their loved ones, the 14 families whose loved ones were injured, many critically," Premier Brian Pallister said, his voice quavering.

Pallister thanked the first responders who demonstrated "professionalism and courage in the most trying circumstances," and the churches and community groups who leapt into action to support families desperately awaiting word of their loved ones.

He also thanked the tens of thousands of donors across Canada — and abroad — who have raised more than $6.5 million for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team’s GoFundMe campaign.

"This is every parent’s worst nightmare," the premier said. "But in the midst of this devastation and loss we see emerge the true character of the Canadian people. We witness generosity and love, true compassion and real assistance to the families of those who perished and to those who were injured as well."

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said his thoughts were with the survivors and the families who lost loved ones in the Friday evening crash in northeast Saskatchewan.

En route to a game in Nipawin, the Humboldt team bus collided with a semi-trailer. Fifteen people were killed, including the Broncos head coach, assistant coach, the bus driver, team statistician and a Humboldt radio announcer.

Humboldt, a town of 5,000, is located roughly 220 kilometres north of Regina.

"Hockey is our national pastime, and every single kid who picks up a mini-stick is part of that tradition. Maybe that’s why this loss cuts so deep, because we all feel as though we lost someone that we were connected to this past weekend," Kinew said.

To the parents, friends and relatives of those killed, Kinew said: "We are sorry beyond sorry; we are with you beyond words."

Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard said Canada is grieving.

"It’s heartbreaking and difficult to speak to a tragedy like this as a Canadian and as a Manitoban," he said. "Each of us knows a busload of hockey players. These could have been our boys or our girls, which is why this hits so hard."

Assiniboia MLA Steven Fletcher, who became a quadriplegic as a young man after a vehicle he was driving struck a moose, asked: "What kind of God allows these types of events to happen?... Those of us of faith ask these questions."

Fletcher said, like all Canadians, he feels "just so profoundly sad" at the tragedy.

"We can empathize but we’ll never understand fully why... why me, why us, why them, why life is so unfair and brutal to so many."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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