Watch above: A Quebec man who showed up in full uniform at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day sparked outrage from real soldiers after he appeared on national television. Now he’s under pressure to explain why he did it. Jacques Bourbeau reports.
OTTAWA – Ottawa police say they have spoken with the man they suspect posed as a fake solider at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa this week.
“We’ve spoken to someone, but until he comes in we can’t be 100 per cent sure. We’re still investigating,” Const. Marc Soucy said Friday.
Soucy said the man, identified as Franck Gervais, will “eventually” come in for questioning – but he couldn’t say when.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to impersonate a Canadian Armed Forces member which is punishable by a summary offence.
If convicted, it can lead to a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both.
The Department of National Defence said Gervais, who was dressed as a decorated Canadian Forces army sergeant at the National War Memorial on Tuesday, is not a member of the military.
Gervais lives in Cantley, Qc. with his wife and works at Potvin Construction in Rockland, Ont. A manager said Gervais, who built stairs for the company, has been suspended with pay while police investigate.
“We have been made aware of the situation regarding one of our employees and are currently gathering information following this regrettable incident,” reads a statement from Potvin released to Global News.
Red flags were raised after Gervais was interviewed by the CBC.
He appeared in a soldier’s uniform claiming to be a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment.
“Well, for me it’s first to remember what people have done for us,” Gervais told CBC reporter Diana Swain when asked what is was like to attend the ceremony.
Soon after the interview, however, a flurry of complaints flooded the CBC concerning the soldier’s status which also prompted an investigation by the DND.
“The Canadian Armed Forces have no indication that Mr. Franck Gervais is a member of the military,” a spokesperson for the Defence Department said in an emailed statement to Global News.
“Such activities are a disservice to the proud men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who earn the right to wear their uniforms through their hard work and the sacrifices they make for our country.”
A tweet from the Ottawa Police says the man “possibly made unlawful use of military uniform or certificates at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa.”
The CBC released a statement Wednesday about the unfortunate incident.
“To civilian eyes, he appeared to be an authentic soldier,” the statement said. “We have since learned that he was not, that his uniform was not correct, and that he was wearing medals he had not earned.”
“All this was drawn to our attention by veterans and serving members, who were understandably angry at seeing this counterfeit soldier. We regret this, and are following up to learn more about the man.”
-With files from The Canadian Press