Father of Manmeet Bhullar says watch and glasses found during search

Alberta politician died following a highway crash last November

Manmeet Bhullar listens in on group discussions in Edmonton, Wednesday, Jan.29, 2014 around changing provincial privacy laws to allow more information to be published on the deaths of children in government care. (Dean Bennett/CP)

Manmeet Bhullar in Edmonton in January 2014. (Dean Bennett, CP)

BLACKFALDS, Alta. — The father of an Alberta politician who died following a highway crash last November says an RCMP search of the median has turned up his son’s missing watch and eyeglasses.

But Baljinder Bhullar says some of his son’s other personal effects including his kara — a bracelet worn by Sikhs — is still missing along with his cufflinks and shoes.

Manmeet Bhullar, 35, died on Nov. 23, 2015, when he pulled over on Highway 2 between Calgary and Edmonton to help a stranded motorist and was struck in a chain-reaction crash.

Related: Remembering Manmeet Singh Bhullar

A special tactical operations team of the RCMP temporarily shut one lane each of the busy four-lane divided highway near Blackfalds on Saturday to search for some of Bhullar’s personal effects that have been missing since his death.

Police say the search was not related to the investigation into the crash that killed the Calgary member of the legislature.

Related: Manmeet Singh Bhullar, 1980-2015

Baljinder Bhullar says he feels blessed that the searchers were able to find some of the missing items.

“Thanks to God, thanks to the RCMP who have spent the time,” Bhullar said Saturday from Calgary.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Sharon Franks couldn’t say whether it was unusual in Alberta for police to assist in such a search, although she said having officers present would assist in the safety. She didn’t know what sparked the search four months after the accident, but suggested it might be due to the fact the crash occurred during a snowstorm and couldn’t be easily searched at the time.

An RCMP news release says police consulted with Alberta Transportation in launching the search.

Franks said the search was concluded on Saturday afternoon and that an item or items had been located, but she said she didn’t know what they were.

Bhullar served in three cabinet portfolios — Service Alberta, Human Services and Infrastructure — under the previous Conservative government.

After Bhullar’s death, the World Sikh Organization praised the politician for his service, including his work on achieving the accommodation of the kirpan in Alberta courthouses.

Under the Alberta policy introduced in 2013, a person must tell security officers they have a kirpan and wear it in a sheath, under clothing and the blade of the kirpan can be no longer than 10 centimetres.

The organization said at the time that it was the first province to adopt a policy that was uniform for all its courthouses.