In light of former deputy premier Don McMorris’ impaired driving charge, the issue of drunk driving culture in Saskatchewan has resurfaced.
The province’s impaired driving record is one of the worst in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, only the Northwest Territories and Yukon had higher impaired driving rates than Saskatchewan.
Numbers from SGI in 2014 show 59 people were killed in the province from alcohol-related crashes.
But McMorris isn’t the first provincial public figure to get an impaired driving charge.
University of Regina political science professor Tom McIntosh said it’s not uncommon to see impaired driving records in Saskatchewan politics.
“We had a couple revelations during the election, on both side of the house, that they had candidates running who had past drinking and driving charges,” McIntosh said.
Two Saskatchewan NDP candidates, Dwayne Lasas of Meadow Lake and Lyle Whitefish for Saskatchewan Rivers revealed they had previous impaired driving convictions. They were both not elected.
For the Sask Party, Terry Dennis had two DUIs, one in 1979 and another in 2001.
Scott Moe, minister for advanced education also had an impaired driving conviction 24 years ago.
Eric Olauson of Saskatoon had two convictions of drunk driving. One in 1992, and another the following year.
However, what is new is this is the first time a sitting MLA was caught.
“There’s a certain irony in the fact that we were talking about this and McMorris was talking about the need for stiffer penalties,” McIntosh said.
The former deputy premier was also minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Association (SLGA), and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
McIntosh said given the time, politicians can come back from scandals such as this, but it could be difficult.