‘All thy sons’ or ‘all of us’?

June 30, 2016   ·   0 Comments

ALTHOUGH THE HOUSE of Commons has approved Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger’s private member’s bill to make O Canada gender-neutral by changing the phrase following “true patriot love” so that “in all thy sons command” becomes “in all of us command,” the change won’t likely have become law by tomorrow, Canada Day.

The bill passed third reading on June 15 by a vote of 225 to 74, with support from all Liberals and New Democrats and a few Conservative MPs, but it likely won’t make it through the  Senate until fall, leaving a possibility that its sponsor, who is dying of ALS, may not live to see it become law.

Some Conservatives opposed the bill as a threat to Canada’s history and heritage. Others cited negative reaction to the change from their constituents and a backlash to a similar effort in the Harper government’s 2010 Throne Speech.

In the unusual circumstances, it would seem to us to be fully permissible for those of us singing the national anthem at services tomorrow or Sunday to choose which of the phrases to employ, since in all likelihood such a small change will go unnoticed by most of those listening in.

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