Sask. government withheld Humboldt Broncos crash information, says Opposition

The provincial government withheld information about the Humboldt Broncos crash, says Opposition leader Ryan Meili.

Highways Minister Lori Carr was unaware her ministry had report, says official

Crosses, hockey sticks and other items form a memorial at the site of the crash between a semi and the Humboldt Broncos bus. (Omayra Issa/CBC)

The provincial government withheld information about the Humboldt Broncos crash, says Opposition leader Ryan Meili.

"It's very clear that (the government) wasn't forthright and honest," Meili said. A long-awaited engineering report into the crash site was released Wednesday by the provincial government. It recommended changes to the intersection where 16 people were killed and 13 others were injured.

The engineering report called for better signage, rumble strips and wider shoulders. The government pledged to implement them all at a total cost of roughly $1 million. The 108-page report also contained historical crash data, and a section on "human factors" affecting safety such as driver fatigue or sun glare.

Meili accused the government of "sitting on" the report for two weeks, and denying they had it when he asked back in late November.

"That's pretty concerning they'd just decide to not be entirely honest about the fact the report was done, and one has to wonder why?" Meili said.

A government official told CBC News that Highways Minister Lori Carr didn't know her ministry had the final report in hand when Meili asked about it Nov. 28 and 29.

Opposition leader Ryan Meili is accusing the government of withholding information in the legislature about a report into the Humboldt Broncos crash. (Jason Warick/CBC)

The final report is dated November 27 and was received by the government that same day, highways deputy minister Fred Antunes told reporters this week.

However, on Nov. 28 in the legislature, Meili asked if the report had been completed. Highways Minister Lori Carr said the independent study is "taking place right now." Later, she said the study "is just being wrapped up."

Meili asked again about the report on Nov. 29. Carr responded, "We're just waiting for the final report so we're hoping to release that soon."

The fall legislative sitting ended Dec. 6. The government released the report Dec. 12.

A government official says Highways Minister Lori Carr was unaware her ministry had received this report on the Humboldt Broncos crash intersection when asked about it in the legislature. (Government of Saskatchewan)

Meili said the Broncos tragedy - and the issues around it - are extremely important to people in Saskatchewan and beyond. He emphasized the process must be completely open - that includes sharing information with elected officials.

Meili suspects the government delayed the release on purpose.

"I can't know for sure what the motivations were, but certainly one would wonder whether that was to avoid scrutiny during question period?" he said.

The government official said Carr acknowledged a draft of the report had been received but "was not aware whether a final report had been presented to the Ministry at that time." She saw the final report Nov. 30, said the official.

About the Author

Jason Warick

Reporter

Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.

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