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The last words on the anthem: Gender-neutral and traditional (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver Sun
March 14, 2002


The last words on the anthem: Gender-neutral and traditional

Before the politically correct of various hues, genders, languages, religions, regions and enthusiasms renew their ferocious debate over whether we should once more change the words to our national anthem so as not to give offence to somebody, let's all promise to keep calm and maintain perspective.

The question of whether O Canada should be recast to replace "in all thy sons command" with the gender-neutral "in all of us command" has got them riled even in the somnambulant Senate, where traditional Liberal conservatives are squaring off with conservative Liberal revisionists, all claiming to be traditionalists while wrapping themselves in the flag.

Curiously, conservative Alberta's Liberal Senator Tommy Banks -- he acknowledges that some think him a "curmudgeon" -- now backs a move to snip the male bias on grounds he's a traditionalist and the phrase wasn't there in the original 1908 lyrics.

But liberal Ontario's Senator Anne Cools is also waving the traditionalist banner. She firmly favours the masculine appendage to the anthem. It was added to the once gender-neutral verses in a revision that was itself later revised but would now, under Senator Vivienne Poy's private member's bill, revert to its original state.