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EDITORIAL – Firing RCMP commissioner would only make things worse

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. (Image: RCMP)

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 mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

 

About Mel Rothenburger (7715 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Firing RCMP commissioner would only make things worse

  1. Sean McGuinness // June 16, 2020 at 7:21 AM // Reply

    Agreed. It would be good if people actually took time to think about how they want to change the system. Firing people might serve some short term political motives, but one is not going to solve problems in this way.

  2. Whether she is to stay or to go is not for me to say but if she was “forced” to admit there is a problem (actually many) with our national police force that’s troubling. How can she accomplish reform if her “heart” is in the wrong place? Is she that blind than needs others to remind her the seriousness of the situation? It was and it is the top brass fault in failing to recognize serious ailments and thus allowing the present situation to take hold.

  3. Dennis V Isfeld // June 16, 2020 at 6:14 AM // Reply

    Good Morning Mel,

    I am informing you that the 21st Commissioner of the R.C.M.P was female. Bev Busson was Commissioner from December 16, 2006 to July 16, 2007.

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 16, 2020 at 8:17 AM // Reply

      Thanks, I should have been clear that Brenda Lucki is the first female permanent commissioner. Bev Busson was a temporary appointment.

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