Following through with Liberal MP Mauril Belanger’s dying wish, the Senate passed legislation to make the country’s national anthem more gender neutral. The move changes the second line of the anthem from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” reports CTV News.
The bill will become a law once it receives formal royal assent. Belanger spent years promoting the legislation, and his desire kicked into high gear after he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2015. In June 2016, the Commons passed the bill while Belanger was in the House. He died two months later.
Conservatives opposed the legislation, and it stalled in the Senate before finally winning the necessary procedural votes this week: 225 to 74.
Conservative Senator Larry Smith’s office said in a statement that the “so-called Independent senators” had prevented debate “using tools never before applied by individual senators.
“In protest of these illegitimate actions, the Senate Conservative caucus refused to participate in a series of votes this evening.”
“O Canada” was composed by Calixa Lavallée in 1880. Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the original French lyrics. In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir wrote the English version, which is not a literal translation of the French version.
Weir’s English lyrics have been revised twice, most recently in 1980, when “O Canada” became the country’s official anthem. The phrase “thou dost in us command” was changed by Weir in 1914 to read “in all thy sons command.”
Reaction to the change received mixed reactions on social media. @theMCG tweeted: “Being offended by something so insignificant as the words “in all thy son’s command” of the national anthem doesn’t make you a stronger woman, man, or feminist. It means you’re easily butthurt. Next, the removal of “God” because, you know, offensive.”
Essie Bee wrote: “Yay! I’ve been singing “In all of us command” for years anyway. Some people forget that languages & dialects are living & fluid. If they weren’t, we’d be all be singing #OCanada in Latin, Norman French, Middle English, or Gaelic or one or more languages indigenous to Canada.”
The Voice of Reason tweeted: “When women are up for “equal conscription”, and represent an “equal” number of war dead I will happily change the singing of the anthem, until then #Allthysonscommand #NotMyPrimeMinister #1termanddone #JustinTrudeau #OCanada #OhCanada.”
David Mitchell wrote: “Words matter: Canada’s national anthem now officially #gender neutral. Finally!”