Former deputy premier of Sask. charged with impaired driving less than 2 weeks after woman convicted


Lou Van de Vorst calls Don McMorris' impaired driving charge 'a slap in the face'.

Lou Van de Vorst still cannot believe the timing of former deputy premier Don McMorris' impaired driving charge. 

Van de Vorst lost his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren to a drunk driver in January. Last month, a judge sent Catherine McKay to prison for 10 years.

The Van de Vorsts died while McMorris was busy leading anti-drinking and driving campaigns as minister for SGI. Van de Vorst now questions whether McMorris believed any of the speeches he gave.

"I'm more angry with him doing this than I was with Catherine McKay. Number one, it happened a week-and-a-half after McKay's sentencing. What are you thinking of when you do this kind of a thing?" Van de Vorst said.

"It's like a slap in the face honestly."

McMorris was pulled over on Friday morning in a construction zone east of Regina. He was driving a government vehicle. He said he will seek counseling and resigned from cabinet and the Saskatchewan Party caucus but continues to serve as the MLA for Indian Head as an independent.

Don McMorris behind wheel of government vehicle at time of impaired driving charge

Van de Vorst said he thinks McMorris' anti-drinking and driving speeches were merely political posturing.

"What is he — playing a game? You know, that he doesn't really care, he's not worried too much about this whole impaired driving and the enormity of the problem we have in Saskatchewan here. Just a week-and-a-half after, do you forget so fast?" Van de Vorst said. 


Don McMorris resigned from cabinet and the Saskatchewan party caucus on Saturday, a day after being charged with impaired driving.

In his own words

McMorris was asked on June 22 about the drinking and driving statistics in Saskatchewan. 

"The numbers still show there are too many that haven't got the message. I think if you were to go back many, many years ago, 20 to 30 years ago it was a different attitude at that time. We're going in the right direction but certainly us like every other province still have some that haven't heard the message or choose to ignore it. We need to work on those numbers," McMorris said.

Van de Vorst is skeptical that any of this will have a lasting impact on McMorris or the government. 

As a senior government minister, Van de Vorst said fines and fees will not be a problem for McMorris. 

On Monday, Premier Brad Wall left the door open for McMorris to one day return to caucus and cabinet.

MADD calls charge 'disgusting'

The CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada Andrew Murie is appalled by the former minister of SGI's impaired driving charge.

"I found it very disgusting from the aspect that this is the person who represented the government on the issue. He's on our website quoted in some of our partnership programs to tell people not to drink and drive and make responsible choices and it's almost a mockery," Murie said. 

"Here's the person that delivered those messages but turns around and is charged with impaired driving himself."

When asked on Monday if he thought McMorris had a drinking problem, Premier Wall said, "no".

Murie said the time of the incident troubles him.

"To be that elevated, you have to be drinking early in the morning which is a sign that you might have a problem with addiction. We know people with addiction related problems drive impaired all the time. The ones we always get great concern about is the before noon type of impaired driving charges," Murie said

'Wake-up call'

MADD's CEO said this "black eye" for the province should be a wake-up call to Premier Wall. Murie said over the past 10 years, Saskatchewan governments have a poor record when it comes to drinking and driving policy.

One step the province did not take during its review of impaired driving in 2013 was impounding a vehicle on the first offence, something that occurs in B.C. and Alberta. Murie said it works and should be in place.

Currently in Saskatchewan, the offender must be caught a second time to lose their vehicle. Only new drivers have their vehicles impounded on a first offence.

"What we found in B.C. was people hate to have their vehicle impounded and they'll do anything including changing behaviours so that doesn't occur and that starts to change the culture," Murie said.

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2016-08-17 | Link to this post