Vancouver Sun

Veterans have a long history in Parliament


The Parliament of Canada’s website says 797 out of the 4,216 MPs who have served in the House of Commons since Confederat­ion have some form of military experience. This works out to 18.9 per cent. The list includes those who have served in foreign militaries. For example, former MP Wajid Khan is listed as he served in the Pakistan air force from 1966 to 1973. The list also includes anyone who has received even basic military training. For example, NDP MP Wayne Marston is included because he took a military training program as a teenager in 1963. There are also a number of anomalies.

For example, NDP MP Djaouida Sellah is included because she volunteere­d as a doctor with the Red Crescent Society in Baghdad during the First Gulf War. The Parliament of Canada website lists 14 sitting members of Parliament as having military experience, which represents 4.5 per cent of the 308 MPs in the House of Commons. Seven are Conservati­ves, four are New Democrats, including Sellah and Marston, and two are Liberals. One, Jean-Francois Larose, left the NDP to form a new party in October. The Liberal party has had 303 MPs with military experience sitting in the House of Commons since Confederat­ion. The Progressiv­e Conservati­ves had 170 MPs with military experience between the time they were formed in 1942 and amalgamati­on with the Canadian Alliance in 2003. There have been 22 NDP MPs with military service since the party was founded in 1961. Four Bloc Quebecois MPs have had military service, including Paul Mercier, who served in the Belgian Army in the Second World War. The military has been well represente­d in the Red Chamber, where 213 of the 925 senators appointed since Confederat­ion, or 23 per cent, have had military experience.

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