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Canada ups its bid for world’s nicest country by voting for a gender-neutral national anthem

Reuters/Gary Cameron
Sons and daughters and everybody else.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

After making multiculturalism an official policy and nominating a cabinet that’s half-female, Canada is seeking new heights in inclusiveness. The country’s House of Commons voted today (June 15) to rewrite its national anthem as gender-neutral, according to Reuters.

The vote was initiated by Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, who asked that the line “in all thy sons command” be changed to “in all of us command” in the song “O Canada.” The idea, he argued, was to make the anthem more representative of women and people who don’t identify as ”sons.”

The bill passed easily, with opposition from only a few conservative representatives. The previous conservative government had actually tried to introduce the change in 2010, but failed to vote it into law, the Guardian reported. Now the measure will go to Canada’s Senate.

Canada isn’t the first country to try to update its anthem for the 21st century. In 2011, Austria changed one verse to say “Heimat großer Töchter und Söhne,” “Land of great sons and daughters” instead of just “great sons.” Also among the countries with gender-neutral anthems is the United States—at least in practice. The last verse of the Star Spangled Banner, which reads ”be it ever when freemen shall stand,” is usually skipped in performance.

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