Canadian national anthem to go gender-neutral

Canada has been in the news for its steps towards gender equality a lot since the election of Justin Trudeau. Today, the country hit the news again, as the Senate have passed a proposal which was rejected back in 2016: that the words of the national anthem be amended to be more inclusive - and gender-neutral.

According to the BBC, bill proposes to change the words “in all thy sons command“ to “in all of us command.”

Few topics are more emotive than a national anthem, so it’s no surprise that it’s proving a divisive subject in Canada, with social media alight with discussion. At the same time, though, these feelings point to just how simultaneously powerful yet fluid - how easily constructed and reconstructed - are language, attitudes towards gender, and even the myth of nationhood itself. After all, the English language version of the Canadian national anthem "O Canada" is no stranger to amendments, given that it was originally written in French and only made the national anthem in 1980. The lyrics of "O Canada" were last modified as recently as 1913. What change was made? An adjustment of the words “thou dost in us command” to “our sons.”



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February 02, 2018 by Catherine Stowell

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