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Don McMorris Pleads Guilty To Impaired Driving

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REGINA — The former deputy premier of Saskatchewan has pleaded guilty to impaired driving.

Court heard Don McMorris had more than 2 1/2 times the legal blood alcohol limit in his system when he was pulled over by RCMP last month in a construction zone.

Provincial court Judge Barbara Tomkins fined him $1,820 and suspended his licence for one year.

The Crown was asking for a higher fine, but the judge said McMorris showed genuine remorse and that she was impressed by him saying he was ashamed.

She also said he has already lost credibility with the public.

"I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed of my actions that day.'" —Don McMorris

Court heard that McMorris had been drinking while watching a football game and visiting with an old friend the night before he was stopped by police.

McMorris was a key member of Premier Brad Wall's government and oversaw the province's liquor and gaming authority.

He resigned from cabinet after announcing he'd been charged. He also left the Saskatchewan Party's caucus while he dealt with the legal aspects of the matter and to seek counselling.

"I am extremely embarrassed and ashamed of my actions that day,'' he said Wednesday.

"One incident is too many, and I'm that one incident.'" —Don McMorris

The day after he was charged, he admitted he should never have been behind the wheel after drinking.

"I know better. I absolutely know better. I take responsibility for my actions,'' he said on Aug. 6.

He pointed out that he had indicated many times that drinking and driving is dangerous, which is why the government strengthened laws and penalties to combat it.

"One incident is too many, and I'm that one incident."

Wall said he was disappointed with McMorris

Wall issued a short statement at the time in which he expressed his disappointment with McMorris.

"Drinking and driving risks and ruins lives and is completely unacceptable,'' Wall said.

McMorris was the minister of Crown investments and was also the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, the government's publicly owned automobile insurer.

In May, the insurer launched an ad campaign against impaired driving, which noted that in 2014 there were more than 1,100 collisions where alcohol or drug use were factors, resulting in 61 deaths and 541 injuries.

McMorris was also overseeing a promise by Wall to privatize some liquor sales. The province announced last November that it was selling 40 of its 75 government-owned liquor outlets and adding 12 private retail stores across the province.

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