Michel Rainville

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Captain Michel Rainville was a Canadian soldier who has courted controversy on several occasions for his orders leading to public outcry. He was ultimately acquitted of criminal charges for his actions, but released from military service.[1]

Training exercises[edit]

On May 15, 1992,[2] Rainville was the officer in charge of an Escape and Evasion training exercise during which Canada's first female infantry officer, Sandra Perron, along with all the male candidates of the Infantry Basic Officer Course, was tied to a tree barefoot in the snow and punched. Although she did not raise any issue with the training, the incident was reported by Perron's boyfriend and upon leaving the Army photographs were leaked to the media, throwing the Canadian Forces into public disrepute, although Rainville defended himself saying that if he hadn't struck Perron, "she would have lost credibility" with other, male, officers.[1]

Two years prior to his deployment to Somalia, Rainville led an assault against the guard room at the entrance of the Citadelle in Quebec City, tying up the guards and taking weapons. This exercise to test the security of the installation had been approved by Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Daigle.[3] However, in 2001 Rainville was convicted and faced 14 years imprisonment when it was revealed he had tortured and sodomised fellow soldiers in the regiment.[3]

He also posed for a media photograph dressed in his Canadian uniform to which he added non-regulation knives; he was later characterized as a "Rambo type".[3]

Somalia affair[edit]

The Somalia Affair saw Rainville issue an autonomous 1993 order re-labeling petty thieves at a Canadian military base in Belet Huen as "saboteurs" and authorizing deadly force which resulted in the shooting death of an unarmed Somali named Ahmed Arush.[1] Rainville relied on the argument that a fuel pump used to service American MedEvac helicopters had been stolen deliberately to hinder the military effort, while critics pointed out that any saboteurs likely would have ignited the thousands of gallons of fuel surrounding it.[1] Rainville enlisted Corpoal Ben Klick of the PPCLI to lay in a truck bed at night, awaiting potential "saboteurs" with a rifle.[1]

Rainville had offered to buy a case of beer for the first Canadian to shoot a Somalian, "a six-pack for a wound, 24 for a kill".[2]

Later life[edit]

When he returned to Canada from Somalia, he was convicted of possessing pyrotechnical devices belonging to the Canadian Forces.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Desbarats, Peter. "Somalia cover-up: A commissioner's journal", 1997
  2. ^ a b Cudmore, James. National Post, "Former captain found guilty of raid torture", March 6, 2001
  3. ^ a b c d Sherene Razack. Dark Threats and White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping and the New Imperialism. 2004