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Canada Senate votes to make national anthem gender neutral

Canada Senate votes to make national anthem gender neutral

Senator Frances Lankin (left) sponsored the bill to change the national anthem

The Canada Senate last night voted to adopt gender-neutral language in the country’s national anthem.

O Canada was written in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir, but only adopted as the national anthem in 1980.

The debated line in question currently reads: ‘True patriot in all thy sons command.’

The approved legislation – opposed by some Conservative Senators – will replace this with ‘True patriot in all of us command.’

The late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger introduced the legislation as a private members bill before his death in 2016.

All-inclusive national anthem

One of those urging the Senate to pass the legislation was author Margaret Atwood, author of the Handmaid’s Tale.

Yesterday, she tweeted ‘Dear Senate of Canada: @SenateCA: Re: Bill C-210: Pleeeze vote for an all-inclusive National Anthem tonight! Pleeeze don’t make me draw a cartoon strip about how the Senate thinks little girls suck so much they don’t exist!’

This morning she tweeted a simple: ‘Thank you @SenateCA!’

Sponsoring the bill was independent Senator Frances Lankin. She said after its passing, ‘I’m very, very happy. There’s been 30 years plus of activity trying to make our national anthem, this important thing about our country, inclusive of all of us.

‘This may be small, it’s about two words, but it’s huge … we can now sing it with pride knowing the law will support us in terms of the language. I’m proud to be part of the group that made this happen.’

Opposing the change, Conservative Senator Don Plett said the matter should have gone to the public for a referendum.

‘Clearly, I’m disappointed … it’s been a long fight, I believe the Canadian public wanted a say in our national anthem, just like they had in the great Canadian flag debate.,’ reports CBC.

‘This is an issue for the Canadian public to decide not just a couple of Independent senators.’

Not the first time lyrics have been changed

Weir himself originally wrote the lyric ‘thou dost in us command’, but updated it later before the First World War to ‘in all thy sons command.’ However, some Conservative Senators have argued that it is wrong to further change the lyrics after the original composer’s death.

Not familiar with the Canada anthem? Here’s a clip of LGBTI icon kd lang singing it at a hockey match way back in 1987. Indicating controversy over the lyrics even back then, she omits the word ‘sons’ in the third line.

What do you think about the change? Leave your comments below.

See also

WATCH: Justin Trudeau formally apologizes to LGBTQ2 Canadians for ‘unjust treatment’