An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
A CALL FOR THE FIRING or resignation of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki demonstrates how a good cause can get off-track when it over reaches.
Senator Lillian Dyck said Monday she wants Lucki out of the job because of comments the commissioner made about systemic racism in our national police force. Initially Lucki resisted acknowledging its presence but, after political pressure including from the prime minister, she backtracked and said she should have.
Dyck says Lucki’s change of mind isn’t good enough. A clean slate is a must, and all that. No doubt, others will join Dyck on the bandwagon.
Lucki is the first woman to serve as RCMP commissioner, and her appointment two years ago came after a distinguished 32-year career with the force that included assignments in Yugoslavia as well as several Canadian provinces.
“She will play a vital role in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, promoting gender equity, supporting mental wellness across the RCMP, addressing workplace harassment, and protecting the civil liberties of all Canadians.”
Those were the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when Lucki was appointed to the top job by an independent, non-partisan selection committee. He viewed her appointment as a fresh start for the force. Despite their brief disagreement on the meaning of systemic, he continues to defend her.
It’s not an easy gig. Aside from accusations of racism, the police force has frequently been the subject of sexual harassment and workplace bullying complaints.
Firing her, or forcing her to resign, would give Senator Dyck and maybe others some short-term satisfaction in demonstrating the strength of the anti-racism movement but it would accomplish nothing in the long run.
Even Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde says Lucki deserves credit for changing her mind in acknowledging systemic racism.
Lucki needs to carry on with the mandate she was given. Making her a sacrificial lamb would be unfair and counter-productive.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.