The national anthem is something that kids sing at school each and every morning. It is a song which opens hockey games, and a song which is featured in commercials to create a more nationalistic feel. Is Canada’s national anthem “O, Canada” accessible to all Canadians?
The contested lyric in O, Canada is “true patriot love in all thy sons command”, and Members of Parliament are putting forth another amendment to change the “thy sons” lyrics to “all of us”. The distinction between “sons” as opposed to the gender-neutral term “us” , an umbrella term that applies to individuals who do not subscribe to the pronoun ‘he’. This bill was introduced in parliament by the liberal MP Mauril Belanger, and was defeated last April (Kilpatrick, 2016).
Last week, another amendment was put forward for the request for the “all of us” change, be changed to “all of our” (Tumilty, 2017). According to conservative Senator Tobias Enverga, “our” is a more grammatically correct pronoun when compared to “us”. This bill was shot down yet again, at least for now, as many conservative senators wanted to maintain the ‘historical origins’ of the anthem. With the death of the MP Belanger who proposed the bill comes the need for a new sponsor of this bill. While the MPs are off for summer vacation, this debate remains heated. Is it more valuable to honour the Canadian male soldiers fighting in World War I, or to inspire all Canadian individuals who sing the national anthem? Language is powerful. Which do you prefer? Happy Canada Day!
Kilpatrick, Sean. “Liberal MP Launches Fresh Bid to Get ‘in All Thy Sons Command’ out of O Canada to Make It More Gender Neutral.” National Post. N.p., 25 Jan. 2016. Web. 20 June 2017.
Tumilty, Ryan. “Battle over Anthem Continues.” PressReader.com — Connecting People Through News. Metro OTtawa, 19 June 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.