National anthems rarely change. Even when the intentions of anthem writers are not completely in-line with the politics of the day, countries tend to stick with tradition. Our neighbors to the north, though, are shaking things up. When some citizens complained about the words of the anthem, politicians took note.
“O Canada” is hardly controversial. The song became Canada’s national anthem in 1980. It does what most anthems do. Yet one piece of gendered language wasn’t seen as inclusive, and so some Canadians took umbrage. “O Canada! / Our home and native land! / True patriot love in all thy sons command.”
It was the “sons” that made some feel excluded. A new bill changes the wording to include everyone; “in all thy sons command” will now be “in all of us command.”
The proposed change “must now receive ‘royal assent’ from the governor general before it becomes law,” CNN writes.
“The move, sponsored by late politician Mauril Bélanger, was praised by prominent Canadians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ author Margaret Atwood.”
Mauril’s bill to make O Canada gender neutral passed third reading in the Senate tonight – another positive step towards gender equality. #inallofuscommand
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 1, 2018
“Mauril’s bill to make O Canada gender neutral passed third reading in the Senate tonight — another positive towards gender equality. #inallofuscommand,” Trudeau tweeted.
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) February 1, 2018
“Thank you @SenateCA! ‘In all of us command’: Senate passes bill approving #genderneutral anthem wording,” tweeted Atwood.
As you would expect, there are critics of the proposed changes. The bill was delayed by the Senate after passing through Canada’s House of Commons in 2016
— Sen. Denise Batters (@denisebatters) January 31, 2018
“Shameful, anti-democratic behavior by #Trudeau-appointed senators, including #SenCA Speaker, as they shut down legitimate debate in Chamber,” tweeted Conservative Sen. Denise Batters.
Dissappointed to hear the Liberals changed our national anthem. Somethings just shouldn’t change. #cdnpoli
— Bob Saroya, MP (@BobSaroya) February 1, 2018
“Dissapointed [sic] to hear the Liberals changed our national anthem. Somethings just shouldn’t change,” tweeted Conservative Member of Parliament Bob Saroya.
— Prem 🇨🇦👌🏻🙏🏻💕 (@Prem_S) February 1, 2018
Even some of the citizens are weighing in. “#SorryNotSorry but I am NOT changing the way I sing O Canada,” one tweeted.