POLITICS
10/05/2011 10:32 EDT | Updated 12/05/2011 05:12 EST

Former Saskatoon member of Parliament charged with impaired driving

SASKATOON - A controversial former member of Parliament and Saskatoon mayoral candidate has appeared in court on charges of impaired driving.

Jim Pankiw was charged after an incident in July, and will next appear in court at the end of the month.

Pankiw served two terms between 1997 and 2004 representing Saskatoon-Humbolt first for the Reform Party, then the Canadian Alliance, then the Democratic Representative Caucus and finally as an independent MP.

Last year the Federal Court upheld a human rights ruling that dismissed a racism complaint over brochures Pankiw mailed to his Saskatoon constituents.

The taxpayer-funded brochures from 2002 and 2003 said aboriginals were behind higher crime rates, blackmail and terrorism.

In March 2009, a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that federal human rights law doesn't cover brochures that are routinely sent by MPs to their constituents.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission and a group of people in Saskatoon had asked the Federal Court to quash the tribunal's decision.

Justice John O'Keefe dismissed the application, saying the tribunal's ruling wasn't unreasonable because the brochures are not a public service, but allow MPs to share their political views with constituents.

Pankiw was a member of the now-defunct Canadian Alliance at the time.

Pankiw also made headlines for likening an aboriginal headdress to a Ku Klux Klan hood.

(The Canadian Press, CKOM)