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Harper gov't says Canadian anthem lyrics won't change
Published Friday, March 5, 2010 5:57PM MST
After strong reaction poured in from across the country about the government's proposal to modify the lyrics to "O Canada," the Harper government now says it will not go forward with a review of the song's lyrics.
Earlier in the week, the throne speech mentioned a proposal to modify a lyric in the Canadian anthem. It promised to look into the wording of 'O Canada' to make it more gender neutral, suggesting the line, "all thy sons command" could be replaced.
This move comes only days after the Olympics had Canadians randomly singing the national anthem in the streets, dominated coverage of the throne speech, almost overshadowing mention of the Tories' massive deficit budget.
The government now says it will longer be considering changing the lyric "all thy sons command" because of public disapproval.
"We heard loud and clear and we thought to put this one aside," Treasury Board president Stockwell Day told CTV News Channel's Power Play of the initiative.
The line in the throne speech was believed to have been included under pressure from Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth.
The English version of the anthem was written back in 1908 by Robert Stanley Weir. The line originally read, "Thou doust us all command."
The writer's grandson, Steve Simpson, says the word "son" is not about gender -- but a reference to a patriotic command from a maternal goddess.
Paul Lorieau, long-time national anthem singer for the Edmonton Oilers, tells CTV News he's delighted to hear the anthem he's sung for the past three decades will remain the same.
"I think it was a no-brainer. There's no reason to ever consider something of this change, not with our national anthem. This is an institution, and should never be played with."
With files from CTV.ca