From military to public service
This being Remembrance Day, and this being a political blog, it seems a good time to remind folks that public service takes many forms -- one can serve the country in uniform, or as a member of Parliament. Or, for 733 people in Canada's history, you can do both.
The Parliament of Canada's website contains a list of all members of Parliament who have also done military service. It notes that the list was compiled with the help of some notable (and sadly, recently departed) people who had political and military careers, such as former defence minister Barney Danson, former Sun columnist Doug Fisher.
So, some interesting numbers:
As mentioned, 733 people in total have done military and Commons service.
In the current Parliament, 12 people have a military background. Six are Conservatives: Gordon O'Connor, Peter Goldring, Laurie Hawn, Corneli Chisu, Pierre Lemieux and Ted Opitz. Four are New Democrats: Alex Atamanenko, Christine Moore, Wayne Marston and Djaouia Sellah. Two are Liberals: Marc Garneau and Kevin Lamoureux.
In total, 326 people with military backgrounds have represented ridings for the current Conservative party or its three predecessors, the Reform Party, the old Progressive Conservative party and the Conservative party (1867-1942).
The Liberals have had a total of 278 former military people serve as MPs, while for the NDP and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, that total stands at 40.
Naturally, there were far more MPs with military service in the Parliaments of the immediate, post-WWII years. From 1945 to 1949, in the 20th Parliament, a full 90 members had military backgrounds. In the 1960s, even, that number was still high: 99 MPs with military service in the Parliament that lasted from 1963 to 1965.
And while Parliament and the military haven't always been women-friendly places, we have seen a number of women entering Parliament after serving in the military too. But that's a single-digit number: seven.
If you're still curious about the people who've linked military and political service, you can head over to the site (link above). It's very easy to search.