Canada has a new version of its national anthem, actually it is a single phrase that changed in the English version of the O Canada.
However, the tiny change was the cause of a strong political struggle in Ottawa .
This week the Senate approved the bill of the liberals to modify the national anthem and make it “neutral” in terms of gender.
The idea was of deputy Mauril Bélanger , who died in 2016 after a tough battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In his vision the phrase “in all thy sons command” should be changed so as not to be linked only to the masculine gender.
The result was to modify it by “in all of us command” .
Mauril’s bill to make O Canada gender neutral passed third reading in the Senate tonight – another positive step towards gender equality. #inallofuscommand
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) 1 February 2018
— Sen. Denise Batters (@denisebatters) 31 January 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the first to celebrate the approval of the bill, which now only has to receive a house vote to enter into force.
But those who rely on historical and heritage perspective have also offered counter-arguments.
The version that was used until now in English had been written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, and, to the surprise of many, at that time was gender neutral, since the phrase he used was “thou dost in us command” .
It was not until about 1914, in the context of the First World War , that the “in all thy sons command” version was introduced as a way to encourage the young people who enlisted to fight in Europe.
The change affects only the English version, because the original letter in French remains the same.