People in high ranking jobs can make the choice to drink and drive just like anyone else, so not surprising that quite a few politicians have been arrested on impaired driving charges in Canada. Especially in a place like Saskatchewan, with one of the worst impaired driving problems in the entire country, having one or two high ranking officials with an impaired driving conviction on their records comes as no surprise.
What is surprising though is that there are five candidates running for Saskatchewan’s April 4th election with impaired driving charges on their records, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) thinks that it’s sending the wrong message to the people of Saskatchewan.
Trina Cockle, the president of MADD’s Prince Albert branch, has said that she was stunned by the fact that Saskatchewan Party candidate Terry Dennis is a second time impaired driving offender, and she thinks that having him run makes it looks as though drunk driving is an accepted practice in the province.
Brad Wall, the Saskatchewan Party Leader, isn’t too concerned. He’s been quoted as saying he’s ‘more than comfortable’ with the knowledge he has candidates with convictions, and one of the reasons he probably feels that way is because most of their convictions are 10 years old or older.
Take Terry Dennis for example: his impaired driving convictions were in 1979 and 2001. He also disclosed his criminal convictions before he decided to run for office. Eric Olauson, running in Saskatoon University, was convicted for impaired driving in 1992 and 1993, and he’s since spoke out about he’s been sober for 7 years.
It’s easy to understand MADD’s worry that these politicians and political parties are sending the wrong message, but with convictions ranging from 10 to 20 years ago, these politicians have the opportunity to use their criminal records and their platform to send a message to the people of the province: don’t do what I did. Don’t drink and drive.