Current Affairs

Canada is making its national anthem gender-neutral

Nick Duffy June 7, 2016
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Canadian MPs have voted to make changes to the country’s national anthem to make it gender-inclusive.

The country’s Parliament is currently addressing a bill, tabled by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, which tweaks the country’s national anthem O Canada.

The bill, which passed by a vote of  219-79 on a free vote thanks to a cross-party coalition of support, would scrap the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command”.

Instead, the tweaked anthem includes the line “True patriot love in all of us command” – indicating that all are included.

The move was staunchly opposed by some conservative MPs, but historians pointed out the original line was “thou dost in us command” – while the French version does not refer to ‘sons’ at all.

Bélanger, who has a fatal diagnosis of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was not present for the vote.

The country’s PM Justin Trudeau said: “I was proud to vote for Mauril Bélanger’s bill to make O Canada gender neutral. It passed second reading tonight and now goes to committee.”

New Democrat MP Christine Moore explained of the change: “We are in 2016. The Canadian population will understand why we want to make the change.

“It is not a big change, and there will not be a big difference in the national anthem, but the difference is significant for women all across Canada.”

Prime Minister Trudeau – who came to power in Canada last year –  has put equality at the heart of his leadership: appointing a diverse, expert-led gender-balanced cabinet, speaking out against homophobia, and becoming the first Canadian PM to march at Pride.

He also made history by flying a rainbow flag from Parliament Hill, and announced a raft of new trans rights protections that will bolster anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of gender identity.

Related topics: Americas, Canada, Canada, gender, Inclusive, Justin Trudeau, national anthem, O Canada

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