Trudeau names Brenda Lucki as Canada's 1st permanent female RCMP commissioner

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named Brenda Lucki as Canada's first permanent female RCMP commissioner.

Lucki is currently head of the RCMP Depot training division in Regina

Brenda Lucki, commanding officer of Depot Division, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat over breakfast at RCMP depot in Regina last year. (Michael Bell/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Brenda Lucki as Canada's first permanent female RCMP commissioner Friday in Regina.

Trudeau was joined by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to make the announcement at the RCMP depot training centre in Saskatchewan as a symbolic gesture that the force is ready to make a culture change.

The leadership switch comes after blistering rounds of reports about allegations of discrimination and sexual assault in the national police force, and follows recommendations that the federal government legislate civilian governance and oversight of the Mounties.

The job posting said the next commissioner will also have to demonstrate their knowledge of Canada's "Indigenous culture and a sensitivity to the issues relevant to the diversity of the Canadian population."

The replacement for Bob Paulson, who retired at the end of June 2017, was chosen by a six-woman, three-man committee led by Frank McKenna, former premier of New Brunswick who served as Canada's ambassador to the United States.

Lucki, the commanding officer of Regina's Depot division, joined the RCMP in 1986. She served in the former Yugoslavia and helped train and select police units for the UN civilian police mission in Haiti.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Lucki received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Alberta. She also has a UN medal for bravery and a record of improving relations with Indigenous communities.

Beverley Busson briefly led the force, on an interim basis, from December 2006 to June 2007.

The committee

Goodale appointed former Winnipeg police chief Devon Clunis and Barbara Byers, a former senior executive with the Canadian Labour Congress, to McKenna's selection committee.

Clunis, Canada's first black police chief, led a modern, unionized police force for four years. Before her retirement from the large labour organization, Byers was responsible for several high-profile areas at the CLC, such as workplace training, employees with disabilities and LGBT workers.

The government also appointed to the committee Manuelle Oudar, chair and CEO of Quebec's board of workplace standards, equity, health and safety, as well as two prominent former female RCMP leaders — Busson and Marianne Ryan.

Ryan retired as deputy commissioner in Alberta, but left to become the province's ombudsman.

As interim RCMP commissioner, Busson was well-placed to engage with candidates on questions of police operations and organizational culture.

Tammy Cook-Searson, chief of Saskatchewan's Lac La Ronge First Nation, was among those on the committee able to assess the candidates for cultural sensitivity to Indigenous Canadians.

Rounding out the committee were the prime minister's national security and intelligence adviser, Daniel Jean, deputy minister at Public Safety Canada Malcolm Brown, and Status of Women Canada Deputy Minister Gina Wilson, who used to serve at the Department of Public Safety.

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