By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Russell Williams is now just another inmate at Kingston Penitentiary and his only ranking will be the number printed on his orange jumpsuit.
The Canadian Forces striped Russell Williams of his rank, medals and military benefits after his conviction in Belleville Superior court Thursday.
LGen. Andre Deschamps of 8 Wing Trenton says now that Williams has been convicted he’s expected to pay back every paycheck he received from the date of his arrest.
Deschamps met with the media for a press conference at 8 Wing Trenton to address the public’s concerns surrounding the events and to express his gratitude towards the police involved.
There’s no ground to revoke Williams’ pension and Deschamps said a court martial would not have any impact on his accrued benefits.
“All Canadians are stunned by the tragic events that led to the conviction of Russell Williams. The Canadian Forces felt it to the core,” said Deschamps.
When asked what troubles him the most about this case, Deschamps answered,
“We still don’t understand the why. And this is something that troubles Canadians at large as it troubles those who have known this individual. We would certainly like to understand because clearly we need to learn what we can from this awful tragedy,” said Deschamps.
Deschamps confirmed that Williams’ file was looked at extensively from every angle they could think of to see what they could have missed.
“The truth is we didn’t miss anything that was visible. That doesn’t mean that our process is perfect. But it’s sound,” said Deschamp.
Commanders will still have access to Air Force personnel’s personal information.
Deschamps expressed his appreciation to the personnel at 8 Wing who are personally affected by what’s going on and therefore they’re struggling to do their job and cope.
“I think the message that everybody recognizes that the acts of this one individual does not change the quality of the people that we have at 8 Wing and certainly in the Canadian Forces and the acts of the individuals that remain in the Canadian Forces is what matters not what Russell Williams did,” said Deschamps.
Deschamps said he is proud of the men and women who serve at 8 Wing Trenton. He said other Air Force wings across the country look to them as an example of determination.
“While doing so, we will not forget Marie-France Comeau, Jessica Lloyd and the other victims and their families. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers forever,” said Deschamps.