There are many issues that the Corporal Ron Francis case is remembered for and about which there has been comment and analysis but there is one aspect that I feel is not highlighted and this is corporal Francis’ unwitting testimony as to depth of the true source of his trauma. In spite of his difficulty in speaking through his sorrow, the good corporal’s words in a media interview are crystal clear in their conveyance of this personal and national tragedy, ” … I had to shovel a childhood friend into a body bag … someone sneering at you, they treat you like someone from outside the community but you are from that community. It is a very hard life policing your own and I had to shut my emotions off for such a long time just with that … Sorry sis, I had to arrest my sister twice when she was 16 … Sorry bro. I had to arrest my brother … ”
I would like to remember the confusion, the achievement and the tragedy of Ron Francis’ life and that of this nation whose birthday we celebrate today. I have no special access to the facts but somehow I have no doubt that his disorder was the manifestation of personal tendencies but I will also say, with the same certitude, that he must have been the victim of the condensation in his psyche of the collective traumas of his community. I dedicate my Canada Day to him and the Red Serge he loved so much.