01/06/2012 09:20 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

PM comments on charge against Goldring

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's anxious for the case against his former Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring to come to a conclusion.

At a stop in Edmonton on Friday, Harper was asked about Goldring being charged with refusing to take a roadside breathalyer test in December.

"Mr. Goldring left the caucus around a particular incident that's been in the newspapers," Harper said in his first public remarks about the matter.

"That will continue to be the case until this issue is resolved. I'm not going to comment on the specifics of that. We're obviously anxious to see what the resolution is."

Goldring, 66, voluntarily left the Conservative caucus after he was charged. Earlier this week, he changed his caucus affiliation to "Civil Libertarian."

Harper told reporters that he takes the issue of impaired driving seriously.

"One should be under no illusion that this government considers the issue of drinking and driving to be a very serious issue," he said.

"There are still far too many accidents and fatalities in this country that occur because of that problem and so this is an issue that we consider one of our highest priorities."

Goldring has not appeared in public or responded to interview requests since he was stopped by police at a mobile checkstop in north Edmonton on Dec. 4.

Edmonton Centre MP Laurie Hawn says he has spoken to his former caucus colleague.

"I have," Hawn said on Thursday. "And I just wished him well and hope that he can resolve the issues and carry on."

The first court date in the case against Goldring is Jan. 25th.