Trudeau names Brenda Lucki new commissioner of the RCMP
Published Friday, March 9, 2018 11:30AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 9, 2018 3:37PM EST
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Brenda Lucki as Canada's first permanent female commissioner of the RCMP. In her first public remarks as the incoming 24th RCMP commissioner, Lucki said she is humbled by the appointment, and outlined her vision for a more diverse RCMP.
"It’s only together that we will continue to work towards a modern police force. It’s only together that we can build and maintain relationships based on trust, and it’s only together that we can build an RCMP that is reflective of our diverse population," she said. "I truly believe that if people see themselves reflected in their police organization, that they themselves may see a future for themselves within that service, within our organization."
Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Friday morning at the RCMP Academy in Regina, Sask.
"From the day that she chose the RCMP, assistant commissioner Lucki has made it her mission to serve the public. She’s known for being a hard worker, a dedicated officer, and someone who is constantly looking for ways to improve the status quo," Trudeau said Friday.
Commissioner-designate Lucki will take over as the head of the RCMP on April 16. She had been the commanding officer of the RCMP depot division in Saskatchewan since October 2016. The depot division is responsible for training new cadets.
The RCMP had been without a permanent commissioner since Comm. Bob Paulson retired in June 2017. Daniel Dubeau has been acting as commissioner in the interim. Lucki thanked Dubeau for his work over the last nine months.
Trudeau said he is confident in her ability to address the challenges currently facing the RCMP and he looks forward to working with her to improve the national police force.
Sources say a lack of leadership in the role has paralyzed parts of the RCMP. When she takes the helm, Lucki will face a staffing crisis and members still grappling with issues of discrimination, sexual harassment and misconduct.
Goodale acknowledged the damage done to the RCMP’s reputation and internal morale as the result of workplace harassment and discrimination, sexism, bullying, and labour issues.
Goodale said Friday’s announcement was about reinforcing the best of the RCMP during “a period of transformation.”
"It’s a tough job, and a dangerous job, the highest calling of public service. Unique in all the world, the RCMP shoulders enormous responsibilities," Goodale said.
During her address, Lucki pledged to address these challenges head-on.
“I will not have all the answers, but I definitely plan on asking all the right questions. And maybe some difficult ones," she said.
“I plan to challenge assumptions, seek explanations, and better understand the reasons how we operate. This means that no stone will be left unturned. And if what we find works, then we carry on until we unearth the issues that need addressing.”
Lucki joined the RCMP in 1986 and has served in various divisions, including serving in the former Yugoslavia. She also trained police for the United Nations civilian police mission in Haiti, and has experience in undercover operations and drug units.
She has an arts degree from the University of Alberta and has received a number of awards, including being named a Member of the Governor General’s Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2013 for her work on improving RCMP relations with First Nations people in Manitoba.
Competition was tight for the job. Trudeau said most of the candidates were from within the ranks of the RCMP.
"I’m very, very excited about being able to appoint the absolute best person for the job to be commissioner of the RCMP, who just happens to be a woman," Trudeau said.
Matthew Dube, NDP Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, congratulated Lucki on the appointment in a press release and said she will face a difficult mandate to work to change the culture within the police force.
“I am proud to finally see a woman leading the RCMP,” the statement read. Dube also cited the importance of the RCMP improving its relations with First Nations communities.
“She brings an important and crucial expertise to her new position,” Dube said, citing her experience on Indigenous relations.
At the end of the announcement Trudeau, Lucki, and Goodale went to check on the two Mounties who collapsed during the announcement, one while the new commissioner was speaking, and one during Trudeau’s media availability.
With a report from CTV News’ Mercedes Stephenson