On Wednesday (January 31), the Canadian Senate passed a bill to make the lyrics of “O Canada” gender neutral. Formal royal assent is still required before this change becomes law.
Once it is law, however, the line “in all thy sons command” will change to “in all of us command.”
Making the lyrics to “O Canada” gender neutral was one of the final wishes of Liberal MP Mauril Belanger. After being diagnosed with ALS following the 2015 federal election, the push for this lyrical adjustment took on a greater sense of urgency for the Liberal government.
In June 2016, the House of Commons passed the bill. Sadly, Belanger died just two months later
“Mauril served the people of Ottawa-Vanier for over 20 years, and was a tireless advocate of francophone rights, national unity, and a fair and just society for all,” reads a statement issued by Justin Trudeau immediately following Belanger’s death.
It continued: “He held many positions in Cabinet over the years, including Deputy House Leader and Government Whip. Despite being very sick towards the end of his life, Mauril continued to serve Canadians with great dignity, courage, and strength.”
Although many support this lyric change, the Conservative government of Canada fought against this bill. After Wednesday’s vote, some senators from the right side of the aisle voiced their displeasure.
“Canada’s “independent” Senators shut down debate on the Anthem Bill in defiance of longstanding parliamentary tradition to allow full Senate debate,” wrote Senator Betty Unger on Twitter. “Our national anthem has just been changed by hijacking parliamentary procedure. A harbinger of things to come.”
On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” host Libby Znaimer was joined by diverse community leaders to discuss Canada’s sesquicentennial. You can watch this episode below.