It almost seemed like the end of a Hollywood film where MP Mauril Belanger, who was recently diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease), finally saw his Bill C-210 being voted in the House of Commons. Bill C-210, the bill to make the Canadian national anthem more gender inclusive, passed in the House by a voice vote.
The specific change is to the line in all thy sons command, which will now change to in all of us command.
But what does this change do?
In the global pursuit for equality (especially when it comes to gender and sexuality), depiction in popular media is extremely important. This is why shows like Modern Family (which has one of the main families be a homosexual couple) are necessary as they seek to normalize how we depict the world. Shows that put minority characters (racial, ability or sexual) attempt to make these characters normalized and accepted in society. Depictions of any minority shows that they are accepted characters in our society, and that they can be, for lack of better phrase, ‘normal people’. The Canadian National Anthem is recited constantly and, while it may not mean to, having the word sons only highlights one gender identity.
What this bill does is show that our national anthem is accepting of everyone. It may not seem like a big difference, but it is. The gesture itself tells Canadians that we are an accepting people, who are making every effort, including changing a 136 year-old song, to make people feel included. The lyric changes itself, while small, exude the same feeling.
With MP Belanger’s health declining rapidly, there was a definite rush and anticipation in getting the private members bill passed. MP Peter Van Loan, Conservative member for York-Simcoe who has been a vocal opponent of the bill, said in the final debate that there are many citizens who would object to this motion and do not want the bill changed, and that they deserve to express their reasons why.
Do you think that the new changes make Canada more inclusive? Or are they pointless? Vote below!