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Don McMorris, Sask.’s deputy premier, steps down after impaired driving charge

Click to play video: 'Deputy premier Don McMorris resigns after impaired driving charge in Saskatchewan' Deputy premier Don McMorris resigns after impaired driving charge in Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: Deputy Premier Don McMorris resigns after being charged with drunk driving Friday – Aug 6, 2016

Don McMorris, the deputy premier of Saskatchewan, has stepped down following an impaired driving charge that was laid against him Friday.

McMorris issued a statement Saturday, apologizing for his actions.

“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,”

McMorris said he was heading home from the lake Friday, near Qu’Appelle, when he was pulled over by White City RCMP.

McMorris offered his resignation from cabinet to Premier Brad Wall which has been accepted. Wall will be naming an interim minister to assume his responsibilities on Monday.

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

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McMorris was first elected to the legislature in 1999. He was then re-elected as the MLA of Indian Head-Milestone in all subsequent provincial elections.

McMorris was recently appointed deputy premier by Brad Wall. McMorris was the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SIGA) and the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), and Crown investments.

Trina Cockle, MADD Prince Albert Chapter president, described shock and disappointment when she heard of the news.

“How are we supposed to make any changes in regards to impaired driving when the people that we have at the forefront fighting for change, are the ones breaking those very same laws,” Cockle said.

“My question is, if [he] knew better, why didn’t he do better?”

Cockle also questioning if this is something he’s done before.

“I can only come to one conclusion and this is only in my own head [but] I’m thinking he maybe, obviously didn’t think he would get caught,” she said.

Speaking to reporters at the legislature Saturday, McMorris apologized numerous times, acknowledging that it is never OK, and it is unacceptable.

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Latest data from 2014 show 59 people were killed in Saskatchewan from alcohol related crashes.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan ad campaign latest measure to crack down on impaired driving

The province, and SGI launched an ad campaign in May, targeting drunk driving.

In May, McMorris spoke to media about the impacts of drunk driving.

“It’s again time to revisit the message, and trying for people to be aware of the impacts,” he said.

In his statement Saturday, McMorris wrote about the strengthened drinking and driving laws in the province.

“You have heard me say many times that drinking and driving is dangerous and unacceptable and we must do everything we can to stop it,” his statement reads.

“That’s why our government has strengthened laws and penalties and has taken steps to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving.”

McMorris said he will take a break from caucus until these personal issues have been dealt with.

He becomes the fourth Saskatchewan Party MLA to have an impaired driving charge or conviction.

“One incident is too many, and I’m that one incident,” McMorris said.

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