Charlie Hebdo Attack Boosts French Support for Military Service, Poll Shows

The Charlie Hebdo massacre has driven 80 percent of French people to support restarting mandatory military service, according to a poll published by Ouest-France newspaper.

The popularity of reinstating conscription for men and women rises with age, the paper said yesterday on its website. It is supported by 69 percent of those under 35, by 78 percent of those 35 to 49, and by 90 percent of those older than 65, the paper said yesterday on its website.

“Le service national,” as military service is known in France, is viewed as a way to mix people from different social classes and milieux, promote republican values and strengthen national unity, Ouest-France said.

What kind of crisis would it take for Canadians to support mandatory military service, or even the idea that citizens share responsibility for defending our values and our way of life? Although more than 1 million Canadians fought in World War II, each of Canada’s experiments with conscription in World War I and World War II ended in a political crisis.

Surveys in the past few years have shown that about 60 percent of French people regret the end of military service in 1996 under President Jacques Chirac.

The self-administered online survey by Ifop took place January 21-23 among 1,051 people representative of French people aged older than 18.

Here are a few links in French for more information:

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