Published Feb 07, 2018It's official: Canada's national anthem is now gender neutral.
As previously reported, the lyrics of "O Canada" that read "in all thy sons command" have now been changed to "in all of us command" after legislation to change the song's lyrics was signed into law this morning.
A private member's bill, passed initially by late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger in 2016, argued that the gendered reference to "sons" was discriminatory.
"[Bélanger's] long advocacy for the subject has actually changed the course of our history. Now, women across this country will be well-reflected in their own national anthem," Heritage Minister Joly told reporters earlier today.
Bélanger's widow, Catherine, told reporters that "this is a wonderful day. My granddaughters and I are on cloud nine and I am sure Mauril is smiling."
After receiving royal assent this morning, the change was made law by the governor general's secretary Assunta Di Lorenzo. Gov. Gen. Julie Payette is currently in South Korea ahead of the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Joly noted that Canadian Olympic athletes already sang the altered version of the anthem during a flag-raising ceremony in the athletes' village this morning. She added that officials from her department have been tasked with changing the lyrics on the government's website, in addition to materials the federal government distributes to schools.
CBC reports that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who voted against Bélanger's bill in the House of Commons, told reporters he was "disappointed" by the lyric change.
"O Canada" was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, long before it was officially adopted as Canada's national anthem in 1980. Weir added the line "in all thy sons command" after World War I.