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Canadian police and military personnel honoured for bravery during 2010 Haiti earthquake

Montreal, Québec – January 10, 2013 – Today, Commissioner Bob Paulson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police proudly presented 14 individuals with the prestigious Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery for their life-saving actions following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010.

Thirteen police officers representing federal, provincial and municipal police services, as well as one Canadian Armed Forces member were recognized during today’s ceremony, which was held almost three years to the day since the earthquake. The event was hosted at the RCMP’s “C” Division headquarters in downtown Montreal.

“On behalf of our Government, I want to recognize these individuals who demonstrated incredible bravery and selflessness in helping save lives during a time of unimaginable devastation and turmoil,” said the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, on behalf of Canada’s Public Safety Minister, the Honourable Vic Toews. “They assisted strangers in a foreign land in a time of great need and under volatile and dangerous conditions. All Canadians can be proud of their exemplary action.”

“I am very proud of the actions of these individuals, who, despite the shock and devastation they experienced, sprang into action following the earthquake, risking their own lives to help rescue many victims from the rubble,” says Commissioner Paulson. “Their actions were truly commendable and served to further reinforce the tremendous international reputation of Canadian police and military overseas, not just as experts in their domain, but as heroes and humanitarians too.”

During the ceremony, a moment of silence was observed to remember those who had died in the earthquake, in particular, RCMP members Chief Superintendent Doug Coates and Sergeant Mark Gallagher.

One of the recipients, Inspector Michel Martin of the Sûreté du Québec (retired), spoke at the end of the ceremony. As Canadian Police Contingent Commander at the time of the earthquake, he highlighted the important contributions of the entire Canadian police contingent in the extremely volatile days following the earthquake. Many of them provided first aid, medicine, food and security to those around them even though they lacked many basic necessities themselves, saving many lives through their actions. The Commissioner’s Certificate of Appreciation will be awarded to 65 of the contingent members in recognition of their admirable efforts.

The RCMP’s International Peace Operations Branch has deployed hundreds of police officers to Haiti since 1993. This represents the Force’s largest and longest standing contribution to any peace operations mission. Municipal and provincial police services have been contributing candidates to RCMP missions since 1995. Quebec police services in particular have contributed heavily to the Haiti mission as it is a French-speaking nation.

photo of Commissioner Paulson (seated, right), the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation (seated, centre), Assistant Commissioner Franois Deschnes, Commanding Officer, C Division (seated left) along with the recipients of the Commissioner's Commendation for Bravery and their respective police chiefs or deputy chiefs.

Commissioner Paulson (seated, right), the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation (seated, centre), Assistant Commissioner François Deschênes, Commanding Officer, "C" Division (seated left) along with the recipients of the Commissioner's Commendation for Bravery and their respective police chiefs or deputy chiefs.

Background

The Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery is awarded to those who demonstrate outstanding courage in the face of extremely dangerous and volatile circumstances not commonly encountered in routine police work, and which pose an imminent threat of grievous harm, personal injury or death.

The process for recommending an individual for a Commissioner’s Commendation starts with a detailed investigation followed by several review stages within the RCMP. With 80 potential recipients, the process was much more extensive and complex, and required locating and interviewing dozens of witnesses in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, as well as in Canada and the United States.

Once a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery has been approved, the RCMP will consider recommending recipients for a national bravery decoration. As a result, the investigation for a Commissioner’ Commendation must meet the national decoration criteria as well.

The process began in May 2010 and concluded in June 2012 with the Commissioner approving the recommendation for 15 Commendations for Bravery and 65 Commissioner’s Certificates of Appreciation.

List of recipients

  • Constable Jacques Bouchard, Sûreté du Québec (SQ) (absent)
  • Lieutenant Detective Serge Boulianne (retired), Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM)
  • Sergeant Claude Cuillerier, SPVM
  • Constable Jonathan Hatfield, SQ
  • Constable Bertrand Fraser, Sécurité publique de Saguenay
  • Constable Yves Leclerc, SPVM
  • Corporal Louis-Philippe Leblanc (retired), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  • Sergeant Martin Leblanc, Ottawa Police Service
  • Inspector Michel Martin (retired), SQ
  • Sergeant Jacques Marcheterre (retired), RCMP
  • Staff Sergeant Major Pierre Pellerin, RCMP, C Division
  • Constable Paul- André Rodrigue, GRC, C Division
  • Sergeant Denis Roy, SPVM
  • Sergeant Detective Benoit Vigeant, SPVM
  • Major Mike Walker, Black Watch Regiment, Canadian Armed Forces

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For further information:

RCMP National Media Relations
613-843-5999

RCMP “C” Division Media Relations
939-8308