Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is expected to announce an interim minister to replace the deputy premier Monday.
Don McMorris announced Saturday he was resigning from cabinet after being charged a day earlier with impaired driving.
The minister once responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority tendered his resignation from cabinet as well as caucus.
In a statement released to the media Saturday morning, the former MLA for Indian Head Milestone says he was charged with impaired driving on Friday, August 5, 2016.
“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,” said McMorris in an emailed statement.
“But saying sorry is not enough. I have spoken with Premier Wall and tendered my resignation from cabinet, which he has accepted. I will also be leaving the government caucus while I deal with the legal aspects of this matter and seek counselling.”
McMorris underscored in his release about the dangers of drinking and driving.
“It is dangerous and unacceptable and we must do everything we can to stop it. 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.
“I never should have gotten behind the wheel after drinking. I know better. I am very sorry and take responsibility for my actions.”
In a statement sent through email after McMorris’ news conference, Premier Brad Wall says he has accepted the former minister’s resignation.
“I am very disappointed in his actions. Drinking and driving risks and ruins lives and is completely unacceptable,” said Premier Wall.
“I respect that Don has taken full responsibility for his actions and I support his decision to step away from caucus and seek counselling. I will be naming an interim minister to assume his responsibilities on Monday and will be available to speak with the media at that time.”
Before being elected, McMorris spent many year with the Saskatchewan Safety Council.
In 1999, he was elected as the MLA for Indian Head-Milestone and was re-elected in 2003, then again in 2007 and 2011. He served as Health Minister from 2007 until 2012.
In May 2012, McMorris moved to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure before becoming the Minister Responsible for SGI in June 2014 (along with holding several other portfolios). In May 2015 he was named Deputy Premier.
Saskatchewan holds the record for the province with the highest number of impaired drivers.
According to SGI, in 2014 there were 50 fatal collisions involving alcohol. There are almost 100 non-fatal collisions per month linked to impaired driving, resulting in almost four incidents per day.
Just recently, 49-year-old Catherine McKay of Saskatoon, who was found guilty of impaired driving causing death, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a family of four was killed in January.
SGI has made impaired-driving a priority in Saskatchewan. During May’s province-wide traffic safety blitz, Police stopped more than 350 impaired drivers. In total, there were 359 impaired-driving related offences.
Drinking and driving remains the number-1 contributing factor in fatal collisions in Saskatchewan, according to SGI.