FILE – Toby Boulet makes a closing remark at a funeral for his son, Humboldt Broncos’ Logan Boulet at the Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge, Alta. on Saturday, April 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

FILE – Toby Boulet makes a closing remark at a funeral for his son, Humboldt Broncos’ Logan Boulet at the Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge, Alta. on Saturday, April 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

Father of Humboldt crash victim worried by speed limit proposal, delay in organ donor bill

Toby Boulet said he’s most concerned about rural roads as they come up to a highway

A father whose son’s organs helped others after he died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s disturbed a private member’s bill to increase speed limits on major Alberta highways is moving ahead of one to improve organ donations.

Toby Boulet sent an email this week to United Conservative MLA RJ Sigurdson saying he’s concerned the politician’s private member’s bill on organ and tissue donation isn’t being considered this spring.

“This is disturbing news to say the least as now more lives will be lost,” Boulet said in the email, which he shared with The Canadian Press.

Sigurdson, who represents Highwood in southern Alberta, said his bill didn’t get chosen to be put forward in the current legislature sitting.

“It’s kind of the luck of the draw,” Sigurdson said in an interview Wednesday.

He said he is motivated to get the bill before the legislature because his father suffered from kidney disease. He’s also heard from others in his constituency.

“I’m not sure there is anything that would have more of an impact for Albertans than setting the culture for organ donation,” said Sigurdson.

He said Alberta falls behind the national average when it comes to organ donation — a point that experts have also noted.

“We’ve never really followed through with intentions to put resources and plans into the whole area of organ donation,” Dr. Norman Kneteman, a transplant surgeon at University of Alberta Hospital, said in a recent interview.

Sigurdson said his bill, which is still being drafted, will aim to improve donations by bringing in a better way to register, establishing specialty teams and providing real-time information on donors.

Boulet said in an interview that he’s disturbed that politicians are instead moving forward with a private member’s bill to increase speed limits to 120 km/h from 110 km/h on divided highways.

That bill was introduced on March 10 by Spruce Grove-Stony Plain MLA Searle Turton, who said it would improve commutes and maintain safety by allowing drivers to use speeds highways were engineered for.

Boulet said all it would do is allow people to go faster.

“And with side roads coming on to the highway, it just makes it harder for people to judge the speeds coming at you.”

Boulet said he’s most concerned about rural roads that only have stop signs or flashing lights as they come up to a highway — similar to the intersection where his son, Logan, was killed in Saskatchewan.

Sixteen people died and 13 were injured three years ago when a transport truck driver failed to stop at a sign and pulled out in front of the junior hockey team’s bus.

Six people across Canada benefited from Logan’s organs and nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in the two months after learning the player had signed his card.

His father said he had hoped Sigurdson’s bill would be tabled this spring.

“It’s not going to happen for a long, long time,” said Boulet.

“Now we have a bill that’s being developed … to save lives with more transplants, and at the same time we have a diametrically opposed bill that in my mind, and in the mind of many highway safety experts, is going to cause deaths.”

Experts said some of Alberta’s divided highways can handle higher speeds, but noted most drivers already tend to go faster than the posted speed limit.

“If it’s not combined with enforcement at 120 (km/h), it’s going to lead to more collisions,” said Don Voaklander, director of the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.

“If people are travelling 130 (km/h), there are some pretty well-defined statistics on this: you are going to raise the number of fatal crashes by about 35 per cent.”

Voaklander said Boulet’s concerns are valid.

“Intersections that come on to a major highway can be a problem,” he said.

“If you are coming to one of those stop signs and it’s a major divided highway, it takes a lot of thought to look at the four lanes, what’s coming toward me, what’s coming on the other side.”

READ MORE: ‘Strength in being vulnerable:’ Broncos bus crash survivor tells his story in book

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

HumboldtHumboldt Broncos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the left: Beth Plotnikoff, Madeline Williams, Shannon Frederick and Sheryl McIver pose for a photo outside their Market Avenue t-shirt stand Saturday, April 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks businesses raise money for Phoenix snow cat

T-shirt proceeds to go toward a used snow groomer for the mountain

A class is in isolation after a potential exposure at J.V. Humphries School in Kaslo. Photo: School District 8
Kaslo school’s class isolated due to possible COVID-19 exposure

A class at J.V. Humphries School is home for the week

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

Jake the service dog is trained to give calming hugs to his caretaker and handler, Rae-Lynee Dicks, who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Jake and Rae-Lynne: The story of a Grand Forks woman and her service dog

Jake is on his way to completing his training, but it’s been difficult to socialize him in the pandemic

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Kimberley's Steve Tersmette has published Waterfall Hikes In Southern British Columbia, documenting 100 of the areas waterfalls.
Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read