Saskatoon

Sask. deputy premier Don McMorris resigns from cabinet after impaired-driving charge

Saskatchewan's deputy premier, Don McMorris, has resigned from cabinet after he was charged with impaired driving on Friday.

McMorris spoke about the consequences of drunk driving at an event in May

Don McMorris resigns after drunk driving charge

Saskatchewan

5 years ago
0:17
Former Sask. deputy premier Don McMorris speaks to reporters about his drunk driving charge and subsequent resignation. 0:17

Saskatchewan's deputy premier, Don McMorris, has resigned from cabinet after he was charged with impaired driving on Friday.

"I have no words to describe how sorry I am to my family, to my colleagues and to all the people of Saskatchewan for my actions. But saying sorry is not enough," McMorris said in an apology.

McMorris said he was returning home from the Fort Qu'Appelle region when he was pulled over in a construction zone near White City, a community about 10 kilometres east of Regina. The minister responsible for provincial insurer SGI and the liquor and gaming authority, SLGA, said he will leave the government caucus while dealing with the criminal charge. He will also be seeking counselling.

"I never should have gotten behind the wheel after drinking. I know better," said McMorris. "I am very sorry and take responsibility for my actions."

In 2014, Don McMorris said he would like to see an appeals process to ease the burden of vehicle seizures in certain circumstances. (CBC)

On May 13, speaking about the launch of an impaired-driving awareness campaign, he said too many people were dying in drunk-driving accidents in Saskatchewan.

"Any one of us could lose someone we care about due to impaired driving," he said. "We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and all other road users to never drive if we're impaired by alcohol or drugs."

On May 25, McMorris was one of three ministers assigned by the premier to investigate the implications on driver safety of the federal government's plan to legalize marijuana. 

Premier 'disappointed'

Premier Brad Wall said he will name an interim minister to assume McMorris's responsibilities on Monday. 

"I am very disappointed in his actions. Drinking and driving risks and ruins lives and is completely unacceptable," said Wall. 

McMorris is still the MLA for Indian Head-Milestone, a rural constituency in southeast Saskatchewan where he was first elected in 1999.

Until Saturday, McMorris was also the minister for Crown Investments, Public Service Commission and Lean Initiative. 

Provincial issue

In 2013, Statistics Canada data showed Saskatchewan had the worst record for impaired driving of all the provinces.  

The following year, SGI brought in tougher consequences for impaired drivers. Some of the changes included longer licence suspensions and vehicle seizures.

Drunk driving statistics from SGI for 2014. (SGI/CBC)

In February, SGI's annual report on traffic accidents in Saskatchewan showed the total number of collisions involving alcohol in 2014 was the lowest it had been in five years.

However, the number of fatal accidents involving alcohol didn't follow that trend, with 17 more people killed in crashes involving alcohol in 2014 than in 2013. 

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