Last night the Canadian Senate passed a private-member’s bill making the National Anthem gender neutral.
Words will change from “in all thy son’s command” to “in all of us command” after royal assent.
Personally, I find this a great step forward for inclusiveness. When singing O Canada, there was always this need to ‘put in a bracket’ around the word “sons” and tell myself ‘of course women are included’ — but that is not what the words said. Is it not better to have the words express what is meant?
But this bill has been the subject of a long struggle to gain passage, so a lot of people must think differently.
What do you think? Do we devalue the words of a national hymn if they are not considered to be immutable?
– Susan Czarnocki, 2018-02-01
3 Responses to “At last! Canadian anthem is gender neutral”
While the original French version of O Canada has not been changed since written in 1880, the English version has gone through several rewrites since 1906. The Holy Cross has gone out, King and Britain come in but to be later ejected. Sons were added only in 1980!
That makes it even more difficult to understand why this change was seen as controversial!
Correction: Sons were mentioned in a 1908 version by R. S. Weir but other versions continued to circulate with Weir’s version gradually gaining more support until it with minor changes was adopted as the official English version in 1980.