On January 31, 2018, the Canadian Senate passed a Bill that will change “in all thy son’s command” to “in all of us command” in the Canadian National Anthem.
Bill C210, “An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender),” was introduced to the Senate as a private member’s bill in 2016. It amends the National Anthem Act to substitute the words “of us” for the words “thy sons” in the English version of the national anthem, thus making it gender neutral.
It was introduced by a member of the Senate, the Hon. Mauril Bélanger (Conservative) on January 27, 2016. The bill was passed by the House of Commons on June 15, 2016.
In introducing the Bill, Bélanger said:
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to introduce this bill, seconded by my colleague, the hon. member for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill. I am quite proud of her.
On September 22, 2014, I introduced in this House the same bill, which advocates a simple change in the English lyrics of our national anthem. It proposes that “True patriot love in all thy sons command” become “True patriot love in all of us command”, therefore replacing only two words, “thy sons”, with “of us”. This change would render the anthem gender neutral.
Although my bill was defeated in the last Parliament, the drive to make O Canada more inclusive has been advanced. Members from all parties supported my bill in what was the first vote on such an initiative in the House of Commons.
I commissioned an opinion poll on this issue which showed solid support for this initiative: a total of 58% supported this measure and only 19% disagreed.
I look forward to engaging with my colleagues as we address this important matter once again.
By the way, it is 2016.
Mr Bélanger did not live to see the final ratification of the Bill, which will be sanctioned upon receiving Royal Assent from the Governor General (a formality). He died if ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in August, 2016.