Don McMorris is no longer in the Sask. Party’s cabinet or caucus after his impaired driving charge, but it may not mean the end of his political career.
Saskatchewan has a problem with drunk driving. More than a third of people busted by RCMP in a national impaired driving blitz in 2014 were in Saskatchewan, and 2015 numbers from Statistics Canada showed Saskatchewan’s rate of impaired driving charges was almost twice the next highest province, Alberta
However, if the most recent provincial election is any indication, voters don’t seem to be too put off by DUIs.
The drunk driving convictions of three of the Sask. Party’s candidates were brought to the forefront during the spring election, and all three ended up being elected.
- Terry Dennis was elected for the Canora-Pelly riding, his DUIs were in the 1970s and 2001.
- Scott Moe was re-elected in Rosthern-Shellbrooke, his DUI was in 1992. He currently serves at the Minister for Advanced Education.
- Eric Olauson was elected in the Saskatoon-University riding, his convictions were in 1992 and 1993.
Premier Brad Wall wasn’t willing to take them off the ticket at the time, saying people deserve a second chance, adding the party was completely comfortable with them.
“You look at it on a case-by-case basis. You consider the individual … I think timing matters, how current is the situation? Also what the person has done since then, even if it was in short order, have they sought to see some good from their very, very dangerous mistake they made.”
Each candidate had previously held office: Moe was already an MLA, Olauson had served on Saskatoon’s city council, and Dennis was elected as Canora’s mayor four times.
“If the people of Canora are prepared to re-elect him four times as the mayor of Canora, how would we then disqualify him a a candidate to become the MLA for the people of Canora and surrounding area,” said Wall about Dennis.
There were also two NDP candidates who had DUI convictions during the election, but they were not elected.
Both Wall and the NDP leader at the time, Cam Broten, said it would be up to the voters to decide whether these candidate would be acceptable.