The House

RCMP commissioner focused on changing the culture

In an era of cannabis legalization, a rampant opioid crisis and migrants flowing across the border, the RCMP's new commissioner says the biggest challenge facing her organization is battling the toxicity in law enforcement culture.
New RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says her focus is on improving the culture in the force. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Listen10:39

In an era of cannabis legalization, a rampant opioid crisis and migrants flowing across the border, the RCMP's new commissioner says the biggest challenge facing her organization is battling the toxicity in law enforcement culture.

"I think our police culture is the one portion we need to focus a lot of efforts on," Brenda Lucki told The House.

"People first. And if we put people first the operations will get even better than they already are and Canada will be safer as a result of it."

Lucki took over the national police agency in April, inheriting a heavy mandate to improve the culture at the RCMP.

Her mandate letter reads, in part, "your role will be to reinforce the very best of the RCMP and to support the organization through a period of transformation to modernize and reform the RCMP's culture. This transformation includes continuing to ensure the health and safety of RCMP employees and members are protected, including from harassment and violence in the workplace."

The RCMP has its first permanent female leader, after Brenda Lucki was named commissioner of the Mounties by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Lucki has an extensive resumé with the force, having served for 32 years spanning five provinces. She faces a big challenge — stamping out sexism and misconduct within the RCMP's ranks — issues that have plagued the force for decades 1:53

While addressing the culture of harassment, Lucki's attention is also being drawn to issues of gun violence and crime.

After recent shootings, several cities have asked the federal government to consider banning handguns. Bill Blair, the new minister of organized crime reduction, said Ottawa is open to examining that pitch but no details have been released.

However, Lucki is uncertain that's the best approach to tackle the problem.

"I'm not sure if a complete ban is the answer or tweaking the legislation to ensure more accountability. That's definitely something we need to study," she said.

"But the bottom line is one life taken by one handgun is one life too many, so we definitely need to look at alternative ways of dealing with that situation."

In an era of cannabis legalization, a rampant opioid crisis and migrants flowing across the border, the RCMP's new commissioner says the biggest challenge facing her organization is battling the toxicity in law enforcement culture. 10:39