Wednesday, 10 August 2016 11:53

Sask.’s deputy premier shows infallibility

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On May 13, Saskatchewan Government Insurance announced it was launching a “new, emotionally-charged multi-media advertising campaign to raise awareness about impaired driving. The campaign shows the void, literally, that is left behind when a friend or loved one is killed by an impaired driver. The absence of that person leaves a hole in the lives of those left behind, demonstrating the campaign slogan that “impaired driving impacts lives, families — everything.”

Don McMorris, minister responsible for SGI then stated, “Too many people are being killed in our province because someone chose to drive while impaired. SGI’s new ad calls on all drivers to remember that at any time, any one of us could lose someone we care about due to impaired driving. We owe it to ourselves, our loved ones and all other road users to never drive if we’re impaired by alcohol or drugs.”
One could get cynical and mock McMorris regarding the fact he was given an impaired driving charge Aug. 5 while using a government vehicle. The sad irony is obvious.
Like many places across Canada, SGI turns the spotlight to certain traffic safety initiatives.
They do media blitzes focusing attention to and provide information about safe driving practices.
In a June 24 Prairie Post article, Kelley Brinkworth, manager, media relations and communications with Saskatchewan Government Insurance, said there were 359 impaired-driving related offences for the month of May.
According to statistics released earlier this summer, SGIhas been doing very well this year. There was a $47.3 million dividend paid to the Crown Investment Corporation; there was $46 million in investment earnings, a $42.4 million underwriting profit and SGI is making headway outside of Saskatchewan as $797 million in premiums were written with $235 million of that premium written outside Saskatchewan.
The DUIcharge for the deputy premier is also too bad from a professional standpoint.
Wall’s right-hand man — who is also in charge of Liquor and Gaming and a member of the most popular government in Canada for the past number of years — has lost everything. It is gone, just like in all of the commercials depicting what happens when someone gets an impaired driving charge.
Those who get irritated by the repeated preaching of the perils of drinking and driving have never lost anyone or knew anyone affected by an impaired driving charge.
If emotion isn’t a factor, consider the cold hard facts. Mothers Against Drunk Driving commissioned a survey by the Applied Research and Evaluation Services at the University of British Columbia.
It stated in Canada between 1999 and 2010, “traffic crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs resulted in an estimated 14,256 deaths, 841,004 injuries and damage to 2,779,458 vehicles in property — damage only (PDO) crashes alone. It is also estimated that there were 11,880 fatal impaired driving crashes, 574,872 injury-only impaired crashes and 1,828, 589 PDO impaired crashes, totalling 2,415,341 crashes. Using a social cost model, these deaths, injuries and PDO crashes cost Canadians an estimated $246.1 billion. Based on a population of 33 million people, that represents a cost of about $7,457 per Canadian.”
It is pathetic and disturbing, considering driving impaired is a choice — a conscience choice.
Provincial media commentary and subsequent comments from readers suggest arrogance or in the case of an NDP MLA the culture of the Sask. Party caucus and references were also made to a selfish attitude from McMorris allowing himself to get put into that situation.
Some of those sympathetic to McMorris may say “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Well, that may be so, but as an elected official who is under immense media and public scrutiny, it was a bad decision on McMorris’ part. Logically, it should be a good reminder for those who think they can beat the system.
One may be able to get away with it without getting in trouble or hurting anyone in the process, but eventually that game of drunk driving—Russian Roulette will catch up with you.
Only Don McMorris truly knows why he would put himself in a situation such as this and will probably be asking himself that for a long time.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor