Conservative politicians stop Canada’s anthem going gender-neutral

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A bill to make Canada’s national anthem gender-neutral has failed, despite support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and both parties.

The move would have scrapped the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command,” replacing it with “True patriot love in all of us command”.

Introduced by the late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, the bill to reform O Canada passed the final House of Commons vote in June by an overwhelming margin of 225 to 74.

trudeau getty


Bélanger, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was present for the Commons final vote, but has since died.

Despite the bill easily passing the Commons, Conservative Senators have blocked it from becoming law for 12 months – and it will now be delayed until autumn, at least.

Conservative Senator David Wells has told CBC News: “I’m trying to protect the tradition rather than, you know, water it down with a politically correct version that is historically inaccurate.

“I don’t misrepresent why I’m [using parliamentary stall tactics] … I don’t like this bill, and I will do what I can to ensure it doesn’t pass.”

This is despite historians agreeing that the original line was “thou dost in us command,” while the French version does not refer to ‘sons’ at all.

Ramona Lumpkin, vice-chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, hit out at the politicians who stopped the move to a gender-neutral anthem.

“We’re so close and I really regret that there are a few senators who seem to have dug in and decided to delay. I hope it’s not a permanent block.

“It’s not as if the words were brought down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets like the Ten Commandments,” she pointed out.

“They are words created by humans and subject to change as our social and cultural conditions change, and thank goodness they do.”

trudeau getty


Wells dismissed opposing arguments, stating that the anthem cannot change to match what he called the “flavour of the day”.

“I get a lot of emails, and many comments to me personally, from people who don’t want to see the anthem change, who see it as a part of our tradition and who see this attempt to change it as political correctness run amok,” he added.

“It is a slippery slope. Calls for inclusion will always be there, but my belief is all Canadians are already included in the national anthem.”

Women are not mentioned in O Canada. The latest statistics show that women make up the majority of Canadians.

It is also not clear what is at the end of the “slippery slope” Wells spoke of.