OTTAWA — Federal MPs donned hockey sweaters, bowed their heads in a moment of silence and spoke of their collective grief Monday as they gathered in the House of Commons for the first time since the deadly bus crash 10 days ago that decimated the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
Outside the Commons, a lone hockey stick leaned against the entrance.
Inside, one after the next, politicians clad in hockey sweaters representing myriad teams and leagues delivered teary-eyed tributes ahead of the daily question period — the first since the April 6 crash that claimed 16 lives aboard the team bus.
Conservative MP Dane Lloyd paid tribute to players Conner Lukan and Parker Tobin, both of whom grew up in his Alberta riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland and died in the crash.
Conservative MP Karen Vecchio said countless Canadians know what it’s like to send kids on a bus for camp, school or a sports tournament. Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner, a former coach and hockey father, said he never recalled thinking, “I hope they all make it back” as the bus left the rink. Todd Doherty, a Conservative from B.C., said of the crash: “We are all numb.”
Even during question period, partisan sniping took a back seat when Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale praised the “demonstration of solidarity” in the House for his home province of Saskatchewan.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who also represents a Saskatchewan riding, added his appreciation for the “non-partisan sentiments that have brought us all together in tribute to victims of the crash.”
Sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos team have died since their team bus crashed with a semi-truck at a rural Saskatchewan intersection just over a week ago.
NDP MP Erin Weir said the young people killed in the crash were not just great hockey players, but were also pillars of the community.
“They embodied a spirit of public service that inspires all Canadians and that we should strive to emulate here in this Parliament,” said Weir, who also represents a Saskatchewan riding.