Senator calls for RCMP boss to quit, saying she doesn’t understand racism

Senator calls for RCMP boss to quit, saying she doesn’t understand racism

OTTAWA — RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki should resign or be removed to ensure the national police force can properly serve Indigenous communities, a Saskatchewan senator said Monday.

Sen. Lillian Dyck said Lucki has shown recently she does not fully understand systemic racism or have the knowledge and skills be the country’s top policewoman.

The commissioner’s departure would benefit all Canadians, including Mounties, said Dyck, a member of the Progressive Senate Group and of the Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Lucki initially stopped short last week of endorsing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assessment that the police force, like all Canadian institutions, exhibits systemic racism.

In a sudden reversal Friday, Lucki spoke with regret for not having done so.

“During some recent interviews, I shared that I struggled with the definition of systemic racism, while trying to highlight the great work done by the overwhelming majority of our employees,” she said in a statement.

“I did acknowledge that we, like others, have racism in our organization, but I did not say definitively that systemic racism exists in the RCMP. I should have.”

Trudeau has expressed confidence in Lucki.

“There are some deep changes we need to make in our institutions, and we need to work with people who want to make those changes, who want to be part of the solution — and I know Commissioner Lucki is one of those,” he said Friday.

Dyck noted that two years ago Lucki apologized at a hearing of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women “for the way we were treated by the RCMP” and promised that the force would do better.

“It is clear now that she does not possess the knowledge or leadership skills to keep her promise,” Dyck said in her statement.

“Canadians and Indigenous women, in particular, deserve to have the best possible commissioner who will be able to initiate and lead the necessary changes in the RCMP to keep us safer and protect us from violence.”

An RCMP spokeswoman said the force “does not comment on statements provided by individuals.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2020.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

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