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Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and novelist Margaret Atwood are leading a group to change the lyrics of  O Canada, to be gender-neutral.

Photo Credit: CBC

Change the lyrics of Canada’s National Anthem?

A group of prominent Canadian women wants to change some of the lyrics to the Canadian anthem , O Canada.

They say the lyrics exclude about 50% of the population, that is, women.

The group, which includes novelist Margaret Atwood and former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, would make the anthem gender-neutral as it was originally.

The original 1908 lyric was “thou dost is us command”. This was chaned in 1913  to, “ in all thy sons command”.  Some think this might have been to encourage enlistment as the First World War loomed on the horizon, although it appears there is no documented reason for the change.

RestoreOurAnthem.ca is being launched on the 100th anniversary of the change made to Judge Robert Stanley Weir’s original English lyric. The group suggests an updated linguistic version of the original, to wit; “ in all of us command”

Whether the federal governming Conservatives will take note of the compaign this time is not known, but in the 2010 Speech from the Throne for the governing Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the announcement was made that Parliament would review the “original gender-neutral wording of our national anthem.”  The move was also supported at the time by Senator Nancy Ruth, who is also a member of this new group

However, there was an immediate backlash, with a poll suggesting three-quarters of Canadians were against a change.  Two days after the Throne Speech, a spokesman for Prime Minister’s Office said the anthem would be left as is.

 

As for this latest campaign, the Official Opposition NDP says the anthem is good as is.

New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair said yesterday in Ottawa, that the anthem shouldn’t be altered when it comes to gender.

“I think that when you start tinkering with an institution like a national anthem, that you’re looking for problems,” he said when asked about the proposal.

“We seem to have agreed on the English and French versions as they are and I think that’s probably a good thing.”

Supporters point out that the English version already incorporates changes recommended by parliamentarians in 1968 that added the lines “from far and wide” and “God keep our land.”

The inclusion of “God” in the anthem is also being raised as a point of contention.

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12 comments on “Change the lyrics of Canada’s National Anthem?
  1. Katrina says:

    I am a girl. i believe that we shouldn’t change it. They are lyrics. They aren’t meant to be offensive too anybody. Changing the lyrics is like changing our flag. Sure they were made in different times. Does that matter? We should cherish these things. Not destroy them

  2. Robert S Moulds says:

    Vlad Putin is right Canadian men are eunuchs if they allow for a gender neutral anthem. I prefer the maple leaf forever because it mentions god and the ensign over the silly sixties maple leaf.

  3. Mason Kress says:

    The only people this change should concern is the people under the age of 30. we are the ones who have to deal with this idioitic change not you old timers

  4. Phil Anhalt says:

    These women are probably the same ones that want to change Fathers Day and Mothers Day to a neutral generic load of crap. Step up to more important issues such as, finding something else to complain about.

  5. Clint says:

    To the “Changers”, get down off your high horses if you want to do something real for the people and the country. You can be more productive by spending your energy toward helping the poor students with their reading, math, and life skills, instead of playing with the words of the national anthem. Instead give every kid a computer, be a “Big Brother/Sister” mentor them because computer can teach how to read but only waste time chit-chatting aimlessly on social networking sites.

    This politically correctness is a time wasting, meaningless, counter-productive activities which everyone is too scared to crisis for being labelled as political incorrect.

  6. Jim Cowan says:

    Yup ! In with the women and out with the god.

  7. Janet says:

    I personally don’t think a change needs to take place, but if it must why not just replace the word “sons” with “souls”, thus not such a huge change in lyrics and pertains to everyone.

  8. Kerry Bourke says:

    I am a 76 year old male. Not only would the proposed new wording address the obvious gender inequality of the current words, it would do away with the insinuation that to be a Canadian it is necessary to be born here (In all thy Sons command) which is very much not the case!

  9. ken therrien says:

    If we could arrive at a gender neutral version that still made sense as a lyric then I’m fine with that.

    The inclusion of god is another issue however. Frankly I find it embarrassing to sing it and even more so when I hear it played on the international stage. We are a modern, intelligent country yet our anthem contains a reference to the imaginary friend of some bronze age desert dwellers.

    The next time you hear the anthem try substituting the word god with Zeus, Apollo, Jehova, Vishnu, Santa, the easter bunny or any other imaginary being and see how ridiculous it really is.

    A childhood friend used to reference his imaginary friend, Steve the Giant Chicken. If we are going to continue to present ourselves on the national stage as a delusional and superstitious country let’s at least be distinctive: Steve the giant chicken keep our land, glorious and free….