Statement from Commissioner Duheme to Canadians

May 25, 2023
Ottawa, Ontario


It's an incredible privilege for me to lead Canada's national police service as the 25th Commissioner of the RCMP.

I've worked as an RCMP officer for over 35 years, with postings across Canada and abroad, leading many teams. Now I stand at the helm feeling very humble.

I am committed to keeping our organization moving forward on the journey of being the healthy and inclusive workplace that all employees deserve. I want us to be known as an organization characterized by its respect for diversity and valuing the contributions of all employees. Looking outwards, we will continue to work towards reconciliation and demonstrate the tangible action being taken to learn from our experiences.

I'm incredibly proud that the RCMP is one of the most respected police organizations in the world – and I'm committed to continuing to make it a more modern, inclusive, accountable, and trusted police service.

I want to see growth in who we are and what we're capable of. A key priority for me is to foster a workplace culture that's rooted in respect and accountability to assist in attracting new talented police officers. I want Canadians to know we take our renewed core values to heart and we intend on demonstrating that change by serving with excellence.

I'm looking forward to the challenge and you have my word that there's going to be progress.

I want to thank Commissioner Lucki for leading our organization since 2018. We'll continue to advance our mandate by furthering our modernization goals, strengthening relationships with all partners, and continuing to protect and support the safety of communities in Canada and beyond.

I know that together, we'll continue to give our best to keep you safe.

Mike Duheme

Commissioner's Change of Command Ceremony speech

View the Commissioner's full speech

Good afternoon, and thank you so much, Minister Mendicino, for your kind words.

It is an honour to gather here today on unceded Algonquin Anishinabeg territory, and I thank Elder Potts for being here today to acknowledge our roots and continue the important steps on our journey of reconciliation.

We honour all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, and their valuable past and present contributions to this land, as well as their traditional territories.

I would like to thank and acknowledge outgoing Commissioner Brenda Lucki for her leadership. Brenda, on behalf of all RCMP employees, thank you for your service. We appreciate you and wish you nothing but good times in your retirement.

I would also be remiss to not take a moment to thank my family, including my mom and dad, and especially my partner Nathalie. Accepting this position means long hours, no weekends and a few distracted dinners.

I appreciate your support in helping me take on such an important role at this stage in my career.

As someone who has been part of the RCMP for over 35 years, I thought I had done it all… I guess not!

From my beginnings in New Minas, to PEI, to Ottawa, to Montreal as a new commissioned officer, and back in Ottawa in 2015, I've met so many wonderful people who've had a positive influence. These people are part of the countless memories made over the course of my career.

I know what it's like to train at Depot, and how it feels to don the Red Serge and Stetson that very first time. I know the deep sense of pride and responsibility of serving communities in provinces and territories across Canada, and how meaningful it is to take part in a peacekeeping mission abroad.

I know how much we rely on our partners across the country: police organizations, federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, national Indigenous organizations and other stakeholders, as well as our international colleagues.

And now I stand at the helm of this wonderful organization, feeling very humble and knowing I have so much more to give, and to learn.

It's especially meaningful to serve as Commissioner for the RCMP's 150th year. Because it's not about my career and my own legacy — and it's not about keeping the seat warm for the next Commissioner.

I'm here to lead change and growth within this organization — to make decisions that move the yardstick for the RCMP, because I know there's a lot we can accomplish together.

These past two months have been a whirlwind of briefings, interviews, and meetings. I have even had the opportunity to foster the RCMP's historic relationship with the Royal family, when I presented King Charles III with a horse! I was immensely proud to watch our Musical Ride members lead the procession for the coronation, along with a worldwide audience.

As much as I loved taking part in those moments, my favourite part of this role is getting to meet with RCMP employees across the country and internationally. I love hearing what's on your mind — what you love about your jobs, and where you think we can make improvements.

I know without a doubt that our employees are the best ambassadors for the RCMP — which means that a key part of my job is to make sure the 30,000-plus ambassadors I work with are well supported, with the tools, training, and resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

I want all of our employees to be proud to belong to this organization, and to know that they're equipped to make a real difference in the communities we serve.

I know that the RCMP has much to learn and can continue to grow as an organization.

When I talk about growing the RCMP, I mean it quite literally. I want us to grow in numbers, so my first priority is recruitment. We must be an organization of choice, where employees are valued and respected. No other police agency in Canada provides the level of service, variety, and opportunity that we do. You could spend a few years in a remote detachment, take part in an international peacekeeping mission, then work in forensics or organized crime, or take part in the Musical Ride.

We recently charged a committee of Commanding Officers to work with the Chief Human Resources Officer on recruiting. They'll explore options on how Divisions can be leveraged even more in the recruiting process to address our current challenges.

I also want to see growth in who we are — so my second priority is to foster a workplace culture that's rooted in respect and accountability. To make sure we're living up to the RCMP's renewed core values and really looking out for each other, along with the people we serve.

Every employee has a role to play in ensuring a respectful environment. And I expect our leaders to take action when any issues or concerns are raised that go against what we stand for.

Values are just words unless you hold people accountable to them. So today I'm taking a meaningful step by signing our new core values statement.

The RCMP's renewed core values are:

  • Act with integrity: We conduct ourselves ethically, and do so with honesty, dignity, and honour.
  • Show respect: We treat all people with fairness. We value and promote reconciliation, diversity and inclusion by being considerate of the democratic rights, history and lived experiences of others.
  • Demonstrate compassion: We care for each other and the communities we serve by approaching each situation with empathy and a genuine desire to help.
  • Take responsibility: We are transparent about our decisions and actions and hold ourselves accountable for the results and impacts.
  • Serve with excellence: We commit to continuous learning, and work collaboratively with colleagues, communities, and partners to provide and support innovative and professional policing services.

To my Senior Executive Committee colleagues, I want you to uphold these values throughout each branch of this organization. We set the tone for the RCMP, and these values must be the foundation of all that we do.

I also expect Commanding Officers to join me in this commitment. Day-in and day-out, you are the ones leading your divisions by example. I understand and appreciate the key role you play in our organization, and I offer you my full support and gratitude for making us better. I am counting on you as we move forward.

We have already started putting action behind these words, and building momentum. One example is our independent review of the Code of Conduct — a process that was started by Commissioner Lucki. The goal of this review is to make sure our disciplinary measures are appropriate, and that they're applied properly and consistently. This is one more step in supporting a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.

Another step is our new Reform and Accountability program, which was created to show both employees and the public how we're progressing on our transformation and modernization goals. This new structure will allow for a centralized focus for reviewing recommendations and making sure that they're followed up on. It will help the RCMP deliver on what's expected of us.

My expectation is that our renewed core values will cascade down through our leadership to all divisions. All teams. Every single employee. This type of widespread change for the better isn't something I can do alone. It's every employee's responsibility to contribute to our collective work.

In one of my first appearances as Commissioner, I said we would leverage the Mass Casualty Commission's recommendations as an opportunity to learn and do better. I firmly believe we can be a better RCMP.

We can't be afraid of reform. This is how we will improve, and how we can move forward as a stronger, safer RCMP. All employees play a critical role in reforming our organization. Never underestimate the influence you can have, and the momentum that can start with you.

This ties into my third priority: supporting operations. Every day, RCMP employees put themselves at risk to protect Canadians. Our duty is to minimize those risks wherever we can. We need to make sure that employees on the front lines have the equipment they need to do their jobs safely, which includes the ability to detect threats before they harm communities.

Community engagement and crime prevention are at the core of our police service delivery model. Our goal is to prevent and reduce crime, enforce the law, and keep people safe, be it at the municipal, provincial, national or international level.

And that's exactly what we're going to keep doing. This is why it's so important that we continue to strengthen our partnerships with other law enforcement organizations and key stakeholders across our country and around the world.

I know that we can accomplish these goals together. I am honoured to serve the employees of the RCMP, and communities across Canada, as your Commissioner.

Leadership isn't something that comes with a title or a promotion. I see it clearly from employees throughout the RCMP. Leadership is something that's earned by building trust and taking action, day after day, in support and recognition of the people you represent.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to recognize everyone who contributed to this event: the many people who helped plan and organize, the Canadian Armed Forces for allowing us to use this space, and all those marching and performing.

Thank you for all of the time and energy you put into this. I'm deeply touched.

To you, to the entire RCMP, and to all people in Canada, I promise to carry out this role with the utmost respect, transparency, accountability, and care. And I will keep working to uphold your trust.

Thank you. Merci. Miigwech.

Mike Duheme


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