To my fellow Canadian citizens who have been living under a rock for the past few days, our National Anthem is changing. Yes. You read that right. The over-100-year-old national anthem is being changed for the second time in Canadian history. The people have spoken and they are unhappy with the so-called male-dominated national anthem. Where is the female inclusivity? They ask. Where is the gender equality? They ask. To which our wonderful prime minister Trudeau said “um… let me fix that” (of course, I’m paraphrasing).
Let me break it down for you who are wondering what the heck I’m rambling about. A group of incredibly angry feminists came together to voice their anger towards the Canadian National Anthem. They stated that the use of the word “sons” in all our sons command is incredibly sexist since it has no mention of “daughters.” As loud as these feminists yelled, there was a prime minster who heard their pleas. Trudeau has since been working his hardest to create a gender-neutral version of the anthem.
While I personally have my reasons to be against this radical change, others are incredibly proud that their diverse country is open to accommodating all of its people’s desires. That being said, let’s look at the history of the Anthem.
The National Anthem that you often hear in schools, or international sports games like the olympics, was not actually the original Canadian Anthem. The original version, written in 1880, was actually in French. It was in 1901 that a group of schoolchildren from Toronto translated the very popular French Anthem. This version was accepted by the general public and publish in 1906. Many years later there was a National Anthem Competition that was organized for the purpose of finding a more suitable translation to the original French version. An Anthem written by Mrs. Mercy McCulloch was chosen as the winner of the competition but unfortunately, this version didn’t achieve much popularity. Years later and we’re at Quebec City’s 300th anniversary. To celebrate, a very famous Canadian judge by the name of Robert Weir wrote what has been widely accepted as the current National Anthem. In 1914, Robert Weir changed one line of his version of the anthem from true patriot love, thou dost in us command to true patriot love, in all our sons command. This change came from the patriotism from the First World War. During World War One, only men could serve in the armed forces, hence the “sons.” It was only in June of 1980 that a bill was passed by the Secretary of State proposing Weir’s version of O Canada as the official National Anthem.
Let us analyze this for a moment. The national anthem that we have grown up hearing was written and accepted in the early 1900’s and has only been changed once. This change came from the patriotism in response to the First World War. Paying his respects to the many male veterans that had given their lives in World War One, Weir took it upon himself to acknowledge these veterans by dedicating a single line of the anthem to them. That seems only fair.
100 years later and the modern day person disapproves of the sexist national anthem. Trudeau, being the inclusive person that he is, also took it upon himself to change the national anthem to promote a more gender-neutral ideology.
If you ask me, which you’re not but I’m giving you my opinion anyway, I can’t help but think Canada is becoming a little too oversensitive. Not only does the anthem have historical value, being over 100 years old, but the anthem itself has a reason that it is written in that way. The reason being, in case it hasn’t sunk in yet, the veterans. Changing the line that represents the very veterans who gave their life during the First World War, in my opinion, is disrespectful and inconsiderate. I would imagine Weir did not write this version of the Anthem to break down women and impose that they are inferior to men. I do imagine that he wrote this version out of respect to the veterans.
But yes, of course, since the war was so long ago, lets just forget about all that the veterans did for this country just to make a few people happy. We may as well just stop recognizing Remembrance Day while we’re at it.
*insert sarcastic tone above*