Changes to the national anthem

Great new changes

Let’s just take a moment to say how the history of O Canada, our national anthem, is so rich and fascinating.

The thing is, I don’t remember learning about the history of our national anthem in school. I never learned the words to the French version (just how to phonetically pronounce them). I never learned the origins of the anthem are, in fact, French. I never learned the words were translated into English by many people before Robert Stanley Weir’s translation became popular.

I didn’t learn it wasn’t until 1980 that his version of the anthem became the official version.

I never learned the original version included the phrase, “thou dost in us command” – a phrase we would today find gender neutral.

I never learned these things, but I am excited to learn that the national anthem will now read “in all of us command.”

The change is minor, but it helps reinforce Canada’s inclusive image. It will have the most effect on students, as they are among the few who hear the anthem almost every day. The changes will also impact sporting events.

This change also isn’t new. There were many attempts to change this particular lyric since the early 2000s. I wasn’t surprised at all when the announcement came. Royal assent for the bill could come as early as this week.

The change does not alter the overall feeling of the anthem. It remains an inspiring piece many athletes will be excited to hear while standing on the podium at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as they show the world we are the true north, strong and free.

– Olivia


Election promises?

Last week the lyrics to Canada’s national anthem, O Canada, became more gender neutral. The line “in all thy sons command” will now be “in all of us command.”

The change is waiting for royal assent from the governor general, which could come just in time for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday.  

Let me first applaud Canada. The lyric change is a big step towards gender equality. Who can argue with that?

The question I have is whether this was the best bill to be focusing on right now.

The Liberal government is under scrutiny about the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. This summer the federal government is set to roll out a framework to legalize marijuana, hopefully in a safe and measured way. And internationally, Justin Trudeau has to figure out the North American Free Trade Agreement and trade opportunities with other countries.

I’d say the government’s hands are full. Yet the senate carved out time to pass this new bill to make our national anthem gender neutral.  

Going one step further, some MPs are also asking for public funds to be put towards an awareness campaign to tell Canadians about the lyric change.

No thank you, that is not where I want my taxes to go.

With time, people will hear the new lyrics; they’ll be used in schools and sport stadiums across the country.

I think it’s time for the government to get back to trying to fulfill its election promises.

– Jaime

Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik