Mauril Bélanger relaunches his bid to render our national anthem inclusive

OTTAWA, January 27th, 2016 – The Honourable Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa-Vanier, introduced today a bill entitled An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender).  He was seconded by Ms. Leona Alleslev, MP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

On September 22nd, 2014, Mr. Bélanger introduced in the House of Commons Bill C-624, An Act to Amend the National Anthem Act (gender). The Bill advocated a simple change in the English lyrics. It proposed that “True patriot love in all thy sons command” become “True patriot love in all of us command”, therefore replacing only two words, “thy sons” with “of us”. This change would have rendered the Anthem gender-neutral. Mauril Bélanger remains committed in proposing this legislative initiative.

Last year, MP Mauril Bélanger commissioned an opinion poll on the matter.

The results, conducted by Mainstreet Technologies, were positive.  The questions and answers by more than 5,000 Canadians. The numbers show solid support for this initiative: 58% of Canadians approve this change and only 19% disapprove.  The margin of error is 1.35%; 19 times out of 20.

It is in the interests of fair treatment of both genders that MP Bélanger proposed the Bill.

“Although my bill was defeated in the last Parliament, the drive to make “O Canada” more inclusive has been advanced. Members from all parties supported my bill, in what was the first vote on such an initiative in the House of Commons. Re-lauching this legislative initiative is dear to me and to the numerous Canadians who express continued support following last year’s close vote. With my bill, I want to pay tribute to all the women who have worked and fought to build and shape the Canada we know today”, said Mr. Bélanger.

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“O Canada” officially became Canada’s national anthem on July 1st, 1980, a century after it was first unofficially sung, on June 24th, 1880.  The French version was written in 1880 and has remained unchanged. The English version of “O Canada” was slower to take root.  The English lyrics written by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir in 1908 became the most widely used. It is interesting to note that the phrase “True patriot love thou dost in us command” were in the lyrics.  In 1914, the year the Great War broke out, this wording was replaced by “True patriot love in all thy sons command.”



Office of the Honourable Mauril Bélanger, MP