Canada jumped upon the PC Express with both feet this week after its Senate passed a bill to make country’s national anthem “gender neutral” by taking out the word “sons” because it is too masculine.
The offending line in the tune “O Canada,” reads, “True patriot love in all thy sons command.” Critics insisted that “thy sons” was not “inclusive” enough, so a bill was introduced to change the line to read, “True patriot love in all of us command.”
The song was originally written in 1908 and made the national anthem by an act of Parliament in 1980.
Independent Ontario Sen. Frances Lankin celebrated the passage of the bill saying that activists have been trying to make the song “inclusive” for 30 years.
“I’m very, very happy. There’s been 30 years plus of activity trying to make our national anthem, this important thing about our country, inclusive of all of us,” Lankin told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “This may be small, it’s about two words, but it’s huge … we can now sing it with pride knowing the law will support us in terms of the language. I’m proud to be part of the group that made this happen.”
Conservative members of the chamber criticized liberals for using tricks and schemes to get the bill passed and said that forcing the changes without taking the issue to the voters was wrong.
“Clearly, I’m disappointed … it’s been a long fight, I believe the Canadian public wanted a say in our national anthem, just like they had in the great Canadian flag debate. This is an issue for the Canadian public to decide not just a couple of Independent senators,” said Manitoba’s Conservative Sen. Don Plett.
Critics of the gender-neutralizing of the anthem say that it was already written to be “gender neutral” in the first place. After all, male pronouns have never meant to be taken as just referring to men when used in a general sense. Male pronouns simply meant humanity in general, not just the male of the species.
To further complicate the matter, some versions of the 1908 lyrics actually did read, “True patriot love thou dost in us command.” It is unclear when or how it got changed to add the word “sons.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.