A bill to make Canada’s national anthem gender-neutral has passed the country’s senate. The words “true patriot love in all thy sons command” will be changed to “true patriot love in all of us command.” Before becoming law, it must receive ‘royal assent’ from the governor general before becoming law. The move was sponsored by late Canadian politician Mauril Bélanger and received support by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who described it as “another positive step towards gender equality,” and author Margaret Atwood, among others.
But not all Canadians are as excited about it. The bill passed the country’s House of Commons in 2016 but was under debate for 18 months in the senate, facing opposition from the Conservative Party whose members described it as “shameful, anti-democratic,” and saying that “somethings just shouldn’t change.”
However, it’s supporters have also voiced their feelings. “I’m very, very happy,” said as Independent Ontario Sen. Frances Lankin, who sponsored the bill. “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. … 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”
O Canada has been Canada’s national anthem since 1980 and changes have been proposed several times but this is the first time a proposal has been successful.