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RCMP's Michael Duheme named interim commissioner, replacing Lucki

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The federal government has named Michael Duheme as the interim commissioner of the RCMP, taking on the role as the search continues to find Brenda Lucki's permanent replacement.

Currently deputy commissioner, Duheme's first day will be tomorrow, as today is Lucki's last on the job.

The embattled commissioner announced last month that she was retiring after nearly 40 years on the force, in what Lucki called a "personal decision."

In a statement, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced his interim pick, while the search for a permanent leader continues.

“I have every confidence that his extensive experience in policing across the country and around the world has prepared him well to lead our national police force,” Mendicino said.

While Lucki made her departure publicly known a month ago, Mendicino is still promising more details about the process to identify the next commissioner "in due course." 

Duheme was previously responsible for the RCMP's federal policing program, which takes the lead on enforcing federal laws, collecting criminal intelligence, investigating matters of national security, providing security for major events, and conducting protective policing, which is the kind of security Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other high-level officials receive.

He testified next to Lucki during the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) late last year, telling the commission that his responsibility throughout the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests was to ensure that Lucki had the right information to brief deputy ministers and cabinet members, and to co-ordinate the requests for additional resources.

Most recently, Duheme addressed MPs studying foreign interference, where he said the federal police force had not received any "actionable intelligence" that would lead to an investigation in regards to Beijing meddling allegations.

"Deputy Commissioner Duheme has led a distinguished career with the RCMP, serving Canadians for over three decades across four provinces," Mendicino said.

According to his RCMP biography, Duheme has been an RCMP officer for more than 34 years. From Quebec, he began his career on general duty in Nova Scotia, but also has served on a Kosovo peacekeeping mission, has been a VIP protection officer, and was a past director of the Parliamentary Protective Service.

"He strives to empower RCMP officers to create value for the communities the RCMP serves, both domestically and abroad. He feels the increasing complexity of crime can be effectively countered by improving the organization's ability to respond to threats in collaboration with its domestic and foreign partners," his bio reads.

Coming into the role as the national police force marks its 150th anniversary, Duheme is taking the helm at a time when serious questions are being raised around future of the RCMP, and the ongoing work needed to address and reform years of systemic issues.

While saying that the RCMP has an "extraordinary history," Trudeau acknowledged the challenges ahead for the police force during a press conference on Friday.

"From the Emergencies Act commission report, to the upcoming mass casualty commission report in Nova Scotia, there are lots of experts leaning in and reflecting on the best way to ensure that Canadians are kept safe with the best possible policing right across the country, " Trudeau said.

"And as we move forward with the search for a permanent new commissioner for the RCMP… I can assure you that we are very much looking at how to ensure that the RCMP can continue to offer the very best service to Canadians from coast to coast to coast." 

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