RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said Wednesday she is stepping down as the head of Canada’s national police force.
Lucki will exit the top job on March 17, she said in a statement. She was appointed in 2018 and was the first woman to permanently hold the role.
She has faced intense criticism in recent years for the RCMP’s handling of multiple crises, including the mass shooting in Nova Scotia and the response to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa and at border crossings across the country.
Multiple sources told Global News the government was not planning to extend Lucki’s mandate.
“Today I announced that I have made a personal decision to retire. This was not an easy decision as I love the RCMP and have loved being the 24th Commissioner,” Lucki said in her statement.
“As Commissioner, I was asked to modernize and address the RCMP’s internal challenges. This was a significant mandate and with the support of my senior executive team and the commitment of all RCMP employees, we’ve accomplished a lot.”
She added that she leaves the post “knowing I did my best and take comfort that the RCMP is well placed to shine in its 150th year.”
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Lucki has been accused by some top RCMP officials of political interference for allegedly pressuring staff to release information about the Nova Scotia shooter’s firearms at the behest of the federal government, which announced gun control legislation days later. The commissioner has denied she was acting at Ottawa’s behest.
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During the public inquiry into the government’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act in response to last year’s protests, evidence was presented that showed Lucki told a government official she believed city police had not yet exhausted “all available tools” to end the occupation.
That email was sent hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the emergency powers that Lucki later defended as helpful to police in clearing the blockades.
Last November, Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro called on the federal government to fire Lucki over these and other issues that he said had broken the public’s trust in the RCMP.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who oversees the RCMP, and Trudeau have publicly expressed confidence in Lucki remaining on as commissioner.
“I want to thank Commissioner Lucki for her years of service to the RCMP,” Mendicino said in a tweet, adding he appreciated her “partnership and dedication.”
—With files from Mercedes Stephenson
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