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MPs okay with new O Canada lyrics

by Patrick Raftis

WELLINGTON CTY. - Perth-Wellington MP John Nater is okay with recently approved changes to Canada’s national anthem, though he feels there should have been more opportunity for public input.

On Feb. 1 a bill that effectively makes the anthem gender neutral passed the Senate and now awaits royal assent.

O Canada was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908 and altered in 1914 when the author changed the phrase “thou dost in us command” to “in all thy sons command.”

The new wording will have Canadians singing “in all of us command.”

“My concern with the change is it was never really discussed at any great length,” said Nater.

However, he added, “at the end of the day ... It’s properly gone through the legislative process ... so it will be the law of the land.”

Nater noted the new wording actually reflects the anthems’ original gender neutral lyrics.

“From a historical standpoint, the original wording was ‘thou dost in us command,’” he said. “So if we went back to that original … phraseology it would actually reflect the original pre-1900s, early 1900s language.

“So ... there is precedent for changes to the anthem. It’s happened a few times before.”

Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong echoed that sentiment.

“The new lyrics (‘in all of us command’) are closer to the original lyrics (‘thou dost in us command’) than the version it replaces (‘in all thy sons command’),” reads a statement from Chong. “In this case, the new lyrics are more historically accurate and will also include both sons and daughters.”

Nater said the different O Canada lyrics are “not going to change the world,” but more public input may have led to a more singable gender-neutral anthem.

“There is an argument that, with the way it’s written, the new version is a bit of a tongue-twister,” said Nater.

- With files from Chris Daponte

February 9, 2018


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