Lawmakers in Canada voted Wednesday to amend the lyrics of the national anthem to make the song gender equal. Since 1980, “O Canada” has been the country’s official national anthem, but the song was originally written in French a century earlier for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, then translated to English later. The key lyrics that will be altered are “in all thy sons command.” The phrase will be replaced with “in all of us command,” according to the proposed legislation brought in January by Mauril Belanger, a Liberal Party MP. The effort to change the song’s lyrics follows the agenda set by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who took office late last year, that puts a priority on gender equality.
This is not the first effort to change the lyrics of “O Canada.” As recently as 2010, the Canadian government, then led by conservatives, suggested changes to the lyrics, but the proposal was thrown out after being summarily dismissed by rank and file Canadians. Critics of the current attempt to change the lyrics believe the people deserve a vote in the matter. The next step in the process is for the Senate to vote on the bill.
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