REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says he’s OK with allowing a politician to temporarily return to his old job as a police officer while retraining and recertifying.
Prince Albert Carleton MLA Darryl Hickie has been training for his return to active police duty when his political term is up in two years.
Hickie said in April that he wouldn’t run again in the next provincial election expected in 2016 and that he planned to return to the force.
But the Opposition NDP says Prince Albert residents who have encountered Hickie in the course of his investigations in recent days have raised concerns.
NDP justice critic John Nilson says people have told the Opposition they’re uncomfortable that a politician can conduct investigations involving his own constituents.
The premier says Hickie will quit his political post if he decides to return to active duty when his training ends later this month.
“I am certainly comfortable with a temporary arrangement and his continued focus on the constituents of PA Carlton while retraining and recertifying. Should Mr. Hickie decide to return to active duty at the conclusion of his retraining later this month he will be stepping down as an MLA,” Wall said in a statement emailed to media Tuesday.
“Darryl has received approval from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for his reinstatement.”
Nilson acknowledged that politicians can have other jobs, but he’s questioning how Hickie can collect two salaries paid for by taxpayers.
“Here, on the face of it, there’s an appearance of conflict, especially when you work two taxpayer-funded jobs. That’s the part that’s an issue,” he said.
“The problem is that you have access to information as an MLA that maybe the police shouldn’t have and vice versa. Police can have access to all kinds of identity information that an MLA can’t have.”
Hickie has represented the constituency of Prince Albert Carlton since 2007. He served as minister for corrections, public safety and policing from 2007 to 2009 and most recently was tasked with leading an all-party committee on improving traffic safety.
© The Canadian Press, 2014