Sen. Lillian Dyck questioned the competency of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and called for her to resign or be removed from her post in a statement shared to Facebook Saturday and released to media on Monday.
“Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s statements in the last few days reveal that she does not possess the necessary knowledge or skills to remain as the RCMP Commissioner,” said Dyck. “She should step down or be removed immediately. This will benefit all Canadians, including the members of the RCMP.”
The head of Canada’s federal police told national media on June 10 that “unconscious bias” exists in her ranks but disputed the definition of systemic racism.
On June 12, Lucki walked those comments back.
“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,” she said in a statement.
Dyck, a member of George Gordon First Nation on Treaty 4 territory, Sask., took umbrage at those comments.
“Her recent statements show that she does not fully understand what systemic racism is; thus, she will not be able to implement or envision the way forward to eliminate systemic racism in the RCMP,” replied Dyck. “Her unexplained about-face yesterday on whether or not systemic racism exists in the RCMP is paradoxical and unacceptable as a leader – as the RCMP Commissioner.”
Dyck also brought up comments Lucki made when she testified before the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2018.
“It is very clear to me that the RCMP could have done better, and I promise to you we will do better,” Lucki said then. “You are entitled to nothing less than our best work in your communities. I believe it’s never too late to do the right thing, and I want this apology to be just one more step in the RCMP’s commitment to reconciliation.”
Dyck said that Lucki “does not possess the knowledge or leadership skills to keep her promise.”
She issued the statement on Facebook the day after RCMP from Sunny Corner, N.B. shot and killed Rodney Levi, 48, a Mi’kmaw father of three from Metepenagiag First Nation.
Levi was attending a barbecue at his pastor’s house when he reportedly became paranoid prior to RCMP being called.
Sister Linda Levi told APTN News that Rodney was a loving father who was struggling with mental health issues that week.
The Boom Road Pentecostal Church in a June 14 statement confirmed Rodney was a congregation member.
“Rodney Levi was a welcomed guest at our home and he attended our residence where he shared a meal with my family and I on Friday evening,” said Rev. Brodie MacLeod.
Also on June 14, Metepenagiag First Nation Chief Bill Ward asked community members not to speak with media.
Quebec’s police watchdog agency, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) is investigating the incident at the RCMP’s request because no such agency exists in N.B.
BEI said it will submit its investigation to the coroner and the N.B. Public Prosecution Services who will decide whether to press charges and whether to make the report public or not.
“Please respect this investigation,” said Ward on Facebook. “The family will reach out to the media when they are ready. Thank you and please share.”
In a Facebook live video, Ward echoed Linda’s sentiments, saying he spoke to Rodney who was in good spirits just hours beforehand on the day of his death.
“He had his demons. But he was always very friendly. Never tried to harm anybody,” Ward said of Rodney.
Federal politicians took waves of questions last week about systemic racism, police brutality and policing reform.
The scene was no different Monday.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh accused the government of empty gestures and called for immediate action.
“We’re calling for real action, ending systemic racism in the policing, starting with ending racial profiling, carding on street checks at the federal level. That’s something concrete that can be done,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked whether he supports a call from Sen. Murray Sinclair to have potential police officers screened for their views on race.
He responded by defending Lucki’s record as commissioner.
“We have over the past years, including under commissioner Lucki, transformed a number of the protocols around hiring of the RCMP, although other police forces are jurisdictions of other orders of government,” said Trudeau.
“And we will commit to doing more. We know there are many, many different things that need to happen in order to go after and to reduce systemic racism and we will work with communities to prioritize which ones we should do first and most rapidly.”
Trudeau also referred to the “many stacks of recommendations” the federal government has acquired over the years but did not specify what measures Ottawa plans on taking to address police violence and systemic racism.
On Monday, Lucki declined APTN’s latest interview request. We also requested an interview on June 8, which was not granted.