(Canadian) MPs send soldiers to war, but few have gone themselves
As he goes from door to door wooing byelection voters in southwestern Ontario, Erin O'Toole talks about a lot of different issues, with one pointed exception: his 12 years as a member of the Canadian Forces.
O'Toole, the Conservative hopeful in the riding of Durham, is fiercely proud of his time in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Navy, which included Sea King helicopter missions after the 1998 crash of Swissair Flight 111.
It's just that he doesn't want to be seen as using his military service or work with veterans as a springboard to a political career.
"When you leave the military, you feel a sense of guilt because your friends are still there, they are still serving," said O'Toole, who traded the life of a soldier for law school in 2000.
His desire to be in public life comes from somewhere else, he suggested.
That reluctance to highlight a military resume, while seemingly common in Canada, is at odds with politicians in the United States, where time in the armed forces is often seen as a prerequisite of sorts for running for office.
"...time in the armed forces is often seen as a prerequisite of sorts for running for office."
Umm, the last president who actually served in the military was George H.W. Bush. Neither of this year's two major presidential candidates were veterans.
This article reminds me of the scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 where Michael Moore was in Washington asking random members of Congress if their own children were serving in the Iraq War. Go to the 1 hour 53 minute mark of this video: