Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to name assistant commissioner Brenda Lucki as Canada’s first permanent female RCMP commissioner on Friday, CTV News has learned.
Lucki is currently the commanding officer of the RCMP depot division in Saskatchewan, a position she’s held since October 2016. The depot division is responsible for training new members of the national police force.
The RCMP has been without a permanent commissioner since Comm. Bob Paulson retired in June 2017. Daniel Dubeau has been acting as commissioner in the interim.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to make the announcement Friday morning at his scheduled event at the RCMP Academy in Regina, Sask.
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.
The eight-month process to name the next RCMP commissioner included a six-women, four-men selection committee comprised of people with safety, policing, gender, labour, and Indigenous backgrounds.
The selection committee was tasked with coming up with a list of qualified candidates for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s consideration.
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 sexual harassment and misconduct.
Competition was tight for the job. Lucki was chosen from a list that included a male officer who outranked her and several female officers with high-level policing experience.
Sources say the government repeatedly appealed to Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth Carr, the highest ranking female officer in the RCMP and an Indigenous woman. She was not interested in the job.
In November on CTV’s Question Period, Goodale said that Canada will have a new commissioner of the RCMP “very early in the New Year.”
“We’re in the final stages of the interviewing process… there was a medium list and a short list, and now down to the final interviews in the next number of days and I hope to be able to make a recommendation to the prime minister very early in the New Year,” Goodale said at the time.
The new commissioner will be inheriting a police force that has dealt with cases of workplace harassment and discrimination, mental health, as well as labour issues and staffing shortages.