The federal government announced Friday that Mike Duheme will be the interim commissioner of the RCMP until a replacement is found for Brenda Lucki.
Ms. Lucki, who was appointed commissioner in April, 2018, is retiring.
Her tenure as the top Mountie has been marked by internal and external challenges, including allegations of systemic racism within the force, growing calls to defund the police and questions over the response to the devastating mass shooting in Nova Scotia in 2020.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Mr. Duheme, who currently oversees federal policing for the Mounties, will take over the job on Saturday.
“I have every confidence that his extensive experience in policing across the country and around the world has prepared him well to lead our national police force,” the minister said in a statement.
“I also want to take this opportunity to salute Commissioner Brenda Lucki for her years of service, including as the first woman to serve as permanent commissioner. She has dedicated her life to keeping Canadians safe, and we thank her.”
Mr. Duheme was among the RCMP officials to testify during last fall’s Public Order Emergency Commission into the federal government’s decision to use the Emergencies Act during the “Freedom Convoy” protests.
Some First Nations leaders have already made the call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appoint an Indigenous officer to serve as the Mounties’ next commissioner.
During a recent stop in Winnipeg, Mr. Trudeau called that an “excellent idea” but stopped short of making any commitment, saying the next appointment will be made through a yet-to-be-announced process.
Mr. Mendicino said the details of that process will be announced in due course.