NDP concerned MLA Darryl Hickie is going back to police work

The Opposition NDP is raising concerns that a sitting member of the legislature, Darryl Hickie, is returning to his work as a police officer in Prince Albert.

The Opposition NDP is raising concerns that a sitting member of the legislature, Darryl Hickie, is returning to his work as a police officer in Prince Albert.

Hickie left the Prince Albert police force when he was elected MLA for Prince Albert Carlton in 2007 for the Saskatchewan Party. He served as minister for corrections, public safety and policing from 2007 to 2009 and most recently led an all-party committee on improving traffic safety.

Hickie is not running in the next provincial election and has started training in preparation for a return to policing. To be back on active duty he must recertify in a number of skills.

However, NDP justice critic John Nilson claims people have told the Opposition they're uncomfortable that a partisan politician can conduct investigations involving his own constituents. 

"Some of the calls that came in were concerned about the fact that their MLA, who they might go to for problems, could also be issuing traffic tickets or other kinds of things," Nilson said Tuesday.

But Premier Brad Wall said Hickie has only been training. Wall said if Hickie returns to active duty before his term ends, he will step down as an MLA. That could happen in a few weeks as Hickie's training is expected to end later this month.

Wall also confirmed Wednesday that if Hickie steps down, a byelection would be triggered.

Plan approved by Conflict Commissioner

Wall also noted Hickie's training plan was approved by Saskatchewan's Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

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," Nilson 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 said in April that he wouldn't run again and that he planned to return to the force after completing his political term.

With files from The Canadian Press

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