March 06, 2015

Canada's top fake soldier pleads guilty

Jonathan WadeRebel Commentator

Canada’s top fake soldier, Franck Gervais — a 33 year old construction worker from Cantley, Quebec — pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of unlawful use of a military uniform related to his “fifteen minutes of fame” during a CBC Remembrance Day interview.

It’s amazing how he was able to freely walk around pretending to be an airborne soldier — including wearing a Pathfinder torch — from the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR).

Fake sergeant Franck Gervais was wearing the maroon beret of the parachute company of the Royal Canadian Regiment. The Pathfinder torch he was also wearing is only earned by Canada’s elite soldiers. In fact, the Patrol Pathfinder course is deemed one of the hardest course in the Canadian Forces and only a small tight-knit group has the privilege to wear this torch.

But his impersonation got worse -- Gervais was wearing the Medal of Bravery which has been awarded to Canadian soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way to save their brothers-in-arms.

While Gervais pleaded guilty, it remains unclear what really motivated him to dress up as a soldier — a gesture that displays a true lack of respect towards real veterans. Gervais was once a cadet and wore the rank of sergeant, but that’s far from being a RCR airborne Pathfinder sergeant!

Civilians posing as a decorated soldier are a growing concern in the United States since the start of the global war on terrorism. It is everyone’s duty to keep an eye on fake soldiers and to report them if they have any doubts.

Jonathan Wade served in the Canadian Forces with distinction for more than fourteen years prior to his honorable discharge in June 2014, a career which led him to travel across the globe, deploying to Afghanistan in 2009 to mentor and advise the Afghan National Army—where he was awarded the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation—and shortly to Haiti following the earthquake of 2010.

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commented 2015-03-07 13:12:52 -0500
Thank you Mr. Wade for your 14years of service in Canadian Forces. Glad you made it back alive. JD
commented 2015-03-07 11:08:03 -0500
Well, I feel kind of sorry for the poor sad, sack. It’s hard to imagine an adult feeling so unfulfilled with his real life that he had to conjure up this imaginary world and develop it to such an extent that he deceived wife, family and friends.
commented 2015-03-06 15:56:43 -0500
Thank you very much Joan – I really appreciate your comment! I am very eager and motivated to write great stories for The Rebel! I hope you will like what I write in the future!
commented 2015-03-06 14:48:40 -0500
Jonathan, I agree. It is great to have your experience reporting on this site.

I look forward to reading more pieces written by you.
commented 2015-03-06 11:57:14 -0500
Indeed you are right – there were cases in Quebec -where I live- of home invasions made by thugs who were wearing police uniform, making it easier for them to enter the houses of elderly people. It is everyone’s job to remain vigilant and to ensure that the “authorities” are giving you strong proof of their real role.

As a combat veteran of Afghanistan and a 14 years veterans of the Canadian Forces, I also believe that having reporters / journalist such as myself, it will become easier for the media -such as The Rebel here- to openly call out those fakes.
commented 2015-03-06 11:15:36 -0500
Jonathan, it’s a problem.

Once, we told kids that if they get lost, go to a police officer in uniform. In today’s reality, I would never tell a child to ask someone in uniform for help.

Twelve years ago, I was SWATTED. We didn’t call it that then but that is what it was. I woke to loud pounding and looked outside to see a SWAT truck parked on the curb and uniformed officers, full shields, guns drawn, running around my place.

I phoned the local desk sergeant and asked why they were there, who dispatched them, etc. He said he had no idea, that they probably weren’t real police but just someone using their gear. He managed to call them off, though.

Around the same time, an OPP “officer” with a pager, an opp email address, and I spoke to him at an OPP number asked me to send him banking details by email. I contacted London and tried to leave a message when he was not there and was told that while the “officer” whose name was used to do that was a real cop, he did not contact me, speak with me, or ask me to email him banking details.

If criminals with similar access to military identity articles, including software and operations, are posing as military … we are in big trouble.
commented 2015-03-06 10:35:02 -0500
I agree with you Joan, especially when it comes to medals and parade uniform. As for the camouflage articles, an army surplus is normally not allowed to sell the “real” stuff since it would most likely come from a Canadian soldier who sold them his own equipment. Unfortunately, it would be way to hard to enforce such a policy, hence why there are laws making it illegal to wear those uniforms.
commented 2015-03-06 10:30:41 -0500
Jonathan, so we expect criminals who buy these things on ebay to respect the law?

Maybe that should change. Maybe it should be criminal to sell them.

It just seems to me that by allowing the sale of military identity articles, we are expecting to profit from those we know do not respect an honour code.

In today’s world where, according to you, Jonathan, this problem is worsening, maybe we should not allow anyone to sell military identity articles lest they sell them to our enemies who we know have lots of money to buy.
commented 2015-03-06 10:15:03 -0500
It is illegal to use a military uniform and medals if you pretend to be a soldier and you’re not. As I said, Joan, you can find these items everywhere on the internet. He could showcase them at his home without an issue, as long as he’s not pretending he earned them.

Here’s the Criminal Code of Canada on that subject:

Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) – Unlawful Use Of Military Uniforms or Certificates
419. Every one who without lawful authority, the proof of which lies on him,
(a) wears a uniform of the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force or a uniform that is so similar to the uniform of any of those forces that it is likely to be mistaken therefor,
(b) wears a distinctive mark relating to wounds received or service performed in war, or a military medal, ribbon, badge, chevron or any decoration or order that is awarded for war services, or any imitation thereof, or any mark or device or thing that is likely to be mistaken for any such mark, medal, ribbon, badge, chevron, decoration or order,
© has in his possession a certificate of discharge, certificate of release, statement of service or identity card from the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force that has not been issued to and does not belong to him, or
(d) has in his possession a commission or warrant or a certificate of discharge, certificate of release, statement of service or identity card, issued to an officer or a person in or who has been in the Canadian Forces or any other naval, army or air force, that contains any alteration that is not verified by the initials of the officer who issued it, or by the initials of an officer thereto lawfully authorized, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 377.
commented 2015-03-06 09:58:51 -0500
Pamela, there were clear signs that he was faking. An infantry sergeant always wear a red sash – he didn’t had one, his beard was not properly trimmed, his beret was way too small… As for the medals and the uniform, you can find everything on ebay or in army surplus…
commented 2015-03-06 09:57:31 -0500
I echo Pamela’s post. Is it legal for families/recipients to sell the uniform, Medal of Bravery, Pathfinder torch? If so, and if it’s legal for someone like Gervais to buy them, what are the rules? Can he display them at his home? Can he wear them provided that, when asked, he does not make false statements about his identity? If it is legal to buy and sell these things, I suppose an argument could be made, if he wears them, he is wearing his own property?

Not that I agree with that. If that is so, maybe we need to criminalize selling these items.

On the other hand, if they were stolen, why no theft charges?

Not only military but also police, even physician and EMS uniforms are misused by criminal organizations and could be used to commit crimes against the state, to gain access to secure facilities. We know, for example, that Hells has plenty of police uniforms and gear, including hacking software. If Hells has them, we can be sure IS, China, Russia have them.

And if criminal organizations can so easily get so much police gear, are they stock piling military gear as well? To ambush troops in the field?

Of course, it may be that Gervais did what he did out of envy or extreme admiration, because he puts military on such a high pedestal that he just wanted to belong.
commented 2015-03-06 09:38:42 -0500
How would one tell they are fake Jonathon? more to the pount, how was he able to get the medals and outfit to begun with??
commented 2015-03-06 07:28:00 -0500
Do we know the sentence / fine ?