POLITICS

Saskatchewan cabinet minister resigns, takes top job with oil and gas lobby group

09/18/2014 11:55 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:58 EDT
REGINA - A Saskatchewan cabinet minister who resigned Thursday to become president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says there won't be a conflict between his old job and the new one.

Tim McMillan has promised not to personally lobby the province for one year, a provision set in the new Saskatchewan Lobbyists Act. Other people within the oil-industry lobby group will be the ones to contact the Saskatchewan government, he said.

"That's a role I won't be involved with," McMillan told reporters at the legislature. "I will be very clear and careful and wouldn't do anything that would be deemed not responsible in this regard."

McMillan said he is immediately stepping down as the minister in charge of rural and remote health and plans to resign as the legislature member for Lloydminster at the end of the month.

His job with the Calgary-based association starts Oct. 1.

First elected with the Saskatchewan Party in 2007, McMillan has held several other cabinet portfolios, including energy and resources.

Glen Scott, the chair of the board of governors of CAPP, said in a statement that McMillan has had "a strong connection to the energy industry over many years, including ownership of an oilfield services company."

"He is well-positioned to lead CAPP's activities in the policy and regulatory area, and in communications, both of which are extremely important to the continued success of our industry."

Scott said the chief executive officer of CAPP, Dave Collyer, will help with McMillan's transition until Collyer's planned retirement at the end of the year. At that time, McMillan will become both president and CEO of the lobby group.

Premier Brad Wall said McMillan will be missed and wished him the best in his new career.

The province's new Lobbyists Act prohibits ministers from lobbying for one year after they leave cabinet. Under current legislation, McMillan is prohibited from lobbying for the energy sector for one year after leaving his energy post, which he did in June.

Although the new law has yet to be proclaimed, Wall said he and McMillan agreed it should be followed.

"I indicated to Tim ... that we needed to go with the spirit of the new act," said Wall.

"For a year, we've just simply asked him not to contact the government in any official capacity or any MLAs in any capacity at all."

Wall believes a year is long enough, but said that could change in the future.

NDP House Leader Warran McCall said the optics of McMillan joining CAPP aren't good. But he's even more concerned about McMillan abandoning the people in his riding.

"Throwing things over for a better gig, I don't think that's the best reason to be leaving your job as a member of the legislature or a cabinet minister."

Wall said politicians in neighbouring areas will help manage issues in McMillan's constituency, and Health Minister Dustin Duncan will temporarily take over rural and remote health until a new minister can be appointed to the post.

Wall must call a byelection to fill McMillan's seat by the end of March.