15 November 2014

Impersonating a Soldier

Big news this week, as someone was discovered to have impersonated a soldier at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa. The ensuing uproar and demands that he be prosecuted have missed the point about the purpose of that article of the Criminal Code forbidding the impersonation of a police officer or a soldier (or a priest, for that matter, but I think that’s in a different article).

The true intent of those measures, even if the text of the law is not clear on this point, is to prevent people from assuming and presumably exploiting official positions of authority, using the legal status of those positions for some personal gain or other antisocial purpose. This is not about “disrespecting the uniform” or any other such nonsense. I don’t see any allegations of this guy doing anything other than pretending to be a soldier, not compelling people to do things because of his supposed role, nothing. Should everyone dressing up as a “police officer” on Halloween be arrested and charged with this? Of course not.

Is the act disrespectful? Yes. Is it extra disrespectful at an official ceremony on Remembrance Day. Certainly. Does that make it criminal. Uh….no.

Untwist your knickers, people.


Anonymous said...

if he was just in uniform it would be fine.
But the fact that he's wearing decoration, medals and para wings is illegal and ridiculously disrespectful to the people who have actually earned their medals.

Ken Monteith said...

I still don't understand why this is a crime. Offensive, disrespectful, yes, but a crime? He didn't try to issue orders to anyone, he walked around in a costume.

I'm offended by a lot of things people do, but I would stop short of prosecuting people for their stupidity and insensitivity.