That’s what I find myself asking. This week the House of Commons passed a piece of legislation that officially changed our national anthem from “In all our sons command,” to “In all of us command.”
There’s a historical context to this. “O Canada” was first performed in 1880 in French. The French lyrics have remained the same, but the English lyrics have gone through a few versions.
The most popular English version was written by Robert Weir to mark the 300th anniversary of Quebec City in 1908. His original lyrics were “True patriot love thou dost in us command,” were changed to “True patriot love in all thy sons command.” Nobody knows why the changes were made, but there are theories run to the idea the suffragette movement was at its peak. The song became the official anthem in 1980.
If the Liberals led with that argument I wouldn’t have an issue with it because there’s no arguing with history. Instead of that they went with the concept of making it gender neutral and playing the feminist card.
The anthem doesn’t offend me. I’ve always thought the word “sons” as gender neutral anyway. In French the word “Ils” is the male plural of they. You’d use it even if there’s a group of 3 guys, and 2 girls it would still be “Ils.” That’s what I’ve always thought of “sons” as.
The question of this lyric has never been on my mind. It’s never been a priority for me. Why is it a priority for our elected officials? Aren’t there more meaningful ways to strike a blow for feminism. What about looking into wage equality? Recent surveys say women make 85 cents to ever $1 men make.
Or what make it easier for women to start their own businesses? Or even changing laws concerning harassment in the workplace? Or making it easier for pregnant women to get promotions, and keep jobs after having the baby. There have been a few stories lately of women who have hidden their pregnancies in order to get the promotion. There are ways for politicians to make a difference. Changing the lyric to the anthem is kind of meaningless.
Learn more about O Canada’s history from the Canadian Encyclopaedia.