Late last month, Mauril Bélanger, a member of the Canadian Parliament, introduced a bill to change the country’s national anthem. It’s the second time he’s tried. Under the proposal, the line “True patriot love in all thy sons command” would become “True patriot love in all of us command,” including the other half of the population by changing two words.
Unable to speak because of muscular degeneration brought on by Lou Gehrig’s disease, Bélanger pressed a button and let a voice generator movingly make his point: “This change would render the anthem gender neutral,” he says in the clip above. The year before, he spoke unassisted and at greater length:
… In the century since the introduction of ‘thy sons’ in our national anthem, numerous events justify returning to the ‘us’ of the original version from 1908. Here are some of these noteworthy changes:
Women were first granted the federal right to vote in 1918, by the government of Sir Robert Borden.
… There was the 1929 Persons Case, where the Famous Five succeeded in having women recognized as persons and thereby eligible for appointment to the Senate. A few months later, in early 1930, Canada’s first female senator, Cairine Wilson, was sworn in.
… Our Canadian women won more medals than our men during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. It is no longer just “he shoots, he scores”; it is also ‘“he shoots, she scores.”
Last year, his motion was defeated. This year, he received a standing ovation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Bélanger “showed strength presenting his bill in the House.” The bill is expected to pass.