I stopped reading here:
Steven Harper, in spite of his incessant rhetoric in support of the military, never served a day in uniform. Pierre Trudeau, as a young healthy man in the 1940s, was conscripted into the Canadian Army Reserve under the National Resources Mobilization Act. Though Trudeau’s brief, rudimentary and part-time service was as far from heroic as one might have imagined, it was military service nonetheless and would have made Trudeau a military veteran today. Harper never has — and never will — earn this right.
I thought the article might start talking about how the Trudeau government was responsible for providing Leopard tanks as part of Canada's NATO commitment, replacing the aging Centurions, or other items of substance.
What I read was the rubbish above, instead.
Trudeau stayed in Canada during the Second World War very comfortably, as an NRMA conscript. The trouble I have with that is that the military was very actively seeking officers like Trudeau to serve overseas since as most will realize, there was something of a war going on at the time. And not just any war, but a world war which Canada felt a large stake in. Large enough to raise three divisions for home defence, and conscript people like Mr. Trudeau in the first place.
Either way, though, I don't buy into the notion that an elected official needs to serve in the military to make public policy decisions related to the military any more than I think the principal of a high school needs to have been a janitor in order to be able to tell the housekeeping staff to clean up vomit in a classroom with a clear conscience. Prime Ministers rely on unelected experts to guide them, including the Chief of the Defence Staff as well as the civilian staff of the Department of National Defence. The Prime Minister is ultimately responsible for decisions - but really, power resides in a number of places, and technically I suppose we could involve the Governor General as commander-in-chief or even H.M. Queen Elizabeth if we wanted to.
But the petty sniping about this or that prime minister not having served in uniform? What nonsense. It's their job to pick experts and then rely on their expertise. I'd be very worried indeed about any elected official who claimed to have personal knowledge and expertise about every facet of modern life.
And at what level of the military must one serve before they are considered prime ministerial? Do we really think Mr. Trudeau's time as a Zombie in the Second World War elevated his knowledge of foreign affairs? Reportedly he wore a German helmet and rode a motorcycle to parade during this period, as part of his disdain for his military service. I've not seen that in a reputable source, but would not be surprised to read that it is true. And either way, what would it say about his ability to be Prime Minister 25 or 40 years later?