Mendicino says next RCMP commissioner needs to push “to newer heights.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki arrives for a Public Order Emergency Commission hearing in Ottawa on November 15, 2022.  (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - photo credit)

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki arrives for a Public Order Emergency Commission hearing in Ottawa on November 15, 2022. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press – photo credit)

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino hopes the RCMP’s next commissioner will take policing “to new heights”.

On Thursday, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki announced that she is retiring after nearly five turbulent years at the helm of Canada’s national police force.

When asked what he was looking for in a replacement, Mendicino said there was “a wide range of priorities.”

“Someone who has the experience, the skills, the qualifications, the values ​​that are very much in line with the government, the stated mandate,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill on Thursday.

“But the most important thing will be to make sure we attract the very best and brightest person who will be able to meet the RCMP where it is and take it to new heights.”

CLOCK | Minister says next RCMP chief will ‘commit to… reform’

The federal government appoints the commissioner. The Liberals proposed an outside committee, chaired by former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, to consider candidates to replace Bob Paulson, who retired in June 2017. The committee hired Lucki for the job in 2018.

Mendicino said more details about the exchange process will be released soon.

“I can assure all Canadians that we will have a plan when the commissioner retires,” he said.

“We will be looking for someone who reflects the best values, skills and abilities and who is committed to continuing to reform this institution.”

Lucki’s last day as commissioner will be March 17th.

In a letter to employees, Lucki called her decision a personal one.

“I don’t like the ‘should have’, ‘should’ or ‘should have’ game,” she wrote. “Of course there are things I could have done differently, but I leave knowing that I did my best and take comfort in the knowledge that the RCMP, in its 150th year, is well placed to shine.”

The past few years have not been easy for the outgoing Commissioner.

Lucki faced criticism in 2020 when she told some media outlets she “fought” to define the term when asked if there was systemic racism in the RCMP.

She later said she believed systemic racism existed within the force.

She ended 2022 with calls for her resignation from opposition Conservatives and a provincial justice minister.

Alberta Attorney General Tyler Shandro called her appearances before two inquiries — the Commission into the 2020 Nova Scotia Mass Shooting and the Inquiry reviewing the government’s decision to invoke the Emergency Act — “unforgivable.”

And 2023 should also be a difficult year for Lucki.

“Tireless dedication”

Commissioner Paul Rouleau’s report on the federal government’s use of the emergency law to end last year’s convoy protests will be released tomorrow.

The commission hearings heard that Lucki believed there were enforcement options to clear the convoy protesters from Ottawa, but failed to alert the cabinet before deciding to invoke the emergency law.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

And next month, the Nova Scotia commission is due to release its findings, which are expected to critique the Mounties’ response to the active shooter and the RCMP’s communications with the public during the crisis.

While the timing of Lucki’s departure has raised eyebrows, Mendicino has insisted her decision was personal.

“On the simplest of days, serving as Commissioner of the RCMP is a challenging task.” said Mendicino.

“The commissioner has worked tirelessly to do whatever she can to protect Canadians.”

Mendicino praised Lucki – the first woman to serve as permanent RCMP commissioner.

“She inspired future generations of young women to better reflect themselves in this institution,” he said.


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