My mistake, I have committed another faux pas–Mr. or Mrs. is now deemed sexist. I should have entitled this blog:
“Looking for Mx (pronounced miks or muhks) Right”.
It just doesn’t have the same narrative flow.
In any event, if you in the trenches failed to notice, and you can be forgiven, Commissioner Lucki is now gone. It has been five long years, and we are once again faced with who is going to replace her. The government is moving slowly, surprise, surprise, and they haven’t really set up any search committee yet to find her replacement, even though Brenda was nice enough to give a months notice. Nevertheless it will take a few more meetings just to devise a list of board members on the search committee. This list will of course comprise of like minded Liberals or academics who fully appreciate the overall goals of the Liberal Party and Mr. Trudeau. The last time we went through this, there were a number of liberal elite persons chosen for this selection board, the likes of Frank McKenna, all who clearly needed a few more months at the trough. And after assembling this super group of intelligent and insightful people and a lengthy country wide search; the results of those expenses laden trips was that they recommended Brenda Lucki– and deemed her the most qualified of all that applied.
One can only hope that this same group is not brought together again.
Meanwhile Michael Duheme is wriggling his bottom into the leather executive chair to act as the interim commissioner. No doubt giving him some time to decide whether he should also take the time to polish up his RCMP resume, which he has already used to great effect throughout his career. So we can not rule him out.
Mr. Duheme was born in Quebec and includes on his resume–General Duties in Nova Scotia, ERT, VIP Protection, Peacekeeping Missions in Kosovo, was Director of Parliamentary Protection Service and the CO of N Division. Pretty well safe to say that Mr. Duheme is an Ottawa-centric figure. Having watched him at some Committee hearings, he was clearly better than Lucki in doing the shuffle dance, and he did somehow came out unscathed from most of the flames being thrown at the Commissioner during her troubled years. This you could view as either a positive or a negative.
Meanwhile, in the soul crushing corridors of Ottawa HQ, the cafeteria talk is abuzz with the who will be the next Commissioner question, that is if they are not still working from home. There will be jostling by the various sword carriers who will be aligning themselves with who they think that will be and how to best position themselves to be closer to the papal chair. I live a long way from Ottawa, but I still have friends that toil there, exasperated friends to be sure, but they have helped to clue me in to who the front runners are currently– and who are therefore the subject of this blog.
But before your “rapporteur” goes through this revelation for those outside of Ontario and Quebec who are not in the loop, we need to first review the obvious selection criteria that will be the primary and overriding considerations in this process.
- Mr. Trudeau, who declares himself a feminist, likes to have women around him in positions of authority. As a result the RCMP internally has tried to meet Mr. Trudeaus expectations with the promotion and raising up of women to the highest echelon. (they are actually now over-represented in terms of the makeup of the police employees).
2. It is equally clear that Mr. Trudeau has only two causes in his platform, and one favoured special interest group; climate change, diversity, and the Indigenous. He seems blind to the other major issues that constantly whirl around Ottawa, and obviously he is totally ignorant of policing issues, and in fact shows no real interest in them. This is the guy who never asked Lucki’s opinion in the fateful Cabinet meeting to declare the Emergencies Act.
3. Keep in mind that Trudeau, and the rest of that group do love a good public relations announcement. To announce the promotion by starting off: “The 1st _____”. Fill in the blank. First full-time woman Commissioner (Ms. Lucki), the first Indigenous, the first gay, the first transsexual, etc. We are still very much in the age of the race and gender being translated as a quality of leadership. Equity of outcome, not equality is the current practise in the Federal government.
So keeping these rules in mind, here are the current list of front-runners which I am told are being bandied about for the next Commissioner. They are not in any particular order and there is no betting money-line on FanDuel, or MGM to help parse the odds.
This candidate has been around before. He was in the front runner list when Commissioner Lucki got the job. He is a highly educated, far and above the others on the list, and was from 2016-2019 the Deputy Commissioner for Contract and Indigenous policing. Possibly disappointed in not getting the job last time, Mr. Brosseau went on to become Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security at Transport Canada, and most recently he became Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He has a Master of laws from Harvard Law School, and is a Fulbright scholar, so intellectually no slouch. He was born in Bonnyville Alberta and is of Metis heritage but one wonders if he can make another move from gill nets to handcuffs.
Rhonda is currently the CO of F division, who worked for 7 years in detachments such as Assiniboia, Grande Prairie, Buffalo Narrows. Then it was off to Ottawa. She went through a few departments over 9 years including being the executive officer of the Deputy Commissioner of Contract and Indigenous Policing. She was the travel officer with the Governor General, as well as stints with National Traffic Services, the National Use of Force program, and the National Operational Policy and Compliance unit. She was moved upwards through Mrs. Lucki’s reign on a continuous basis and when asks, speaks at length about her support for the troops. She is clearly an Ottawa wonk and can speak the woke language. She has been married a couple of times, but I have been told “she is married to the Force”. Upon becoming the CO of F Division she said her priority was “continuing our reconciliation efforts, with our Indigenous peoples”.
c) Raj Gill
Mr. Gill served for 29 years with the RCMP before becoming the Deputy Chief for Calgary Police Service. He was Assistant Commissioner for National Human Resources. Mr. Gill since arriving in Calgary is specializing in the area of “equity, diversion and inclusion” and developing an “anti-racism strategy” to combat the systemic racism in the Calgary Police Service. This of course doesn’t go over well with some, but it is the flavour of the day, and Mr. Gill is clearly an advocate to push that agenda forward. Mr. Gill would clearly fit the criteria of being able to announce “the 1st South Asian Commissioner of the RCMP”.
Ms. Huggins is currently the RCMP Chief Human Relations Officer. Of this group, she is the only one with no previous policing experience, and is a long time public servant. She is relatively new to the Mountie group starting in 2020, but now lays claim to “People Management Modernization” and her bio brags that “under Nadine’s direction we have created and are currently driving the People Strategy… and the Vision 150 Equity and Accountability and Trust Action Plan”. You will be forgiven if you are already tuning out. Though she could be headlined as the “1st Black Commissioner of the RCMP” and quite honestly that may be her biggest positive. There are quite a few rumours that Ms. Huggins has even been known to bad mouth the RCMP in quiet aside conversations. Maybe not the best look for a future Commissioner.
e) Mike Lesage
Mr. Lesage in 2021 was named a Deputy Chief with the new Surrey Police Service (so, might be out of a job in the next few weeks) but previously was an Assistant Commissioner for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. His forte apparently though is Community Policing and will be in charge of the SPS Community Policing Bureau. Mr. Lesage I am told has two things going for him, he is Indigenous, and he is good buddies with retired Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan. Quite frankly only one of those things may help him. He seems like an outside candidate at best.
So there you have it, the best the Mounties have to offer to replace Commissioner Lucki and fill her rather small shoes.
It’s also possible that there could be someone outside the realm of policing waiting in the wings. Gerald Butts? maybe?
It is understandable that if it is going to be someone from this group which we have just outlined, that they likely represent “more of the same”. They do not appear to be a group from whom radical and progressive initiatives will be forthcoming. They have all sharpened their teeth on being politically astute in terms of “diversity” and “inclusivity” and the language you must spew if you are to survive and prosper.
So, in any event, there your choices a) thru to e): or, it could be choice
f) – None of the above.
Feel free to let me know if any of the candidates have some appeal to you. I do not know any of them personally, but I am sure they are fine people. Remember though that we are not necessarily looking for a nice person.
Meanwhile, behind the RCMP curtain, the Mounties as we know them, is slowly disintegrating, brick by crumbling brick. To enter into a fight to reclaim their once national status is going to take a very strong and gifted individual. Or, they are going to be overseeing a total revamping of the current structure, and that too will take a monumental effort.
Cast your ballot. Oh sorry, I forgot, you regular members of the RCMP don’t have a vote.
Photo Courtesy of Louri Goussev via Flickr Commons – Some Rights Reserved