Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Changing Canada’s National Anthem

Posted July 29, 2017 by jim young in Politics

“You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.” – Pearl S. Buck

I don’t understand why so many people are afraid to make changes. Unless the change is simply for the “sake of change”, it’s rarely a bad thing.

We change every day. You are not the same person today that you were yesterday, unless perhaps you were comatose yesterday.

Most of the time, change is a good thing.

The latest controversy in changing the lyrics of our National Anthem has arisen over the suggestion to change “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”.

The use of the gender specific “sons” was quite relevant in 1913 when it was changed from the 1908 version which read “thou dost in us command”.

In 1913, it was decided “thou dost in us command” was no longer relevant so it was changed to “in all thy sons command” which really has lost its relevance through the passage of time as well.

What’s that, you say? “In all thy sons command” was NOT part of the original lyrics? Well that kind of blows the justification against change that “we should sing the National Anthem the way it was written” out of the water then, doesn’t it?

In fact – if you want to sing Canada’s National Anthem the “way it was written” – you’ll have to sing it in French as it was first written and performed in 1880.

The “closer to the original” English lyrics of “thou dost in us command” was in fact gender-neutral in the first place.

While we’re at it – let’s fix ALL of the the National Anthem and try to get it right once and for all so it doesn’t have to be changed again.

The second line of O’ Canada is probably the most offensive of all.

“Our home and native land!” Native to whom?

Isn’t this just a constant reminder that we have chosen to make our home in a land that was previously occupied by the people of the First Nations?

And even if you choose to interpret “native land” to simply be “born in Canada” that still excludes over 20% of Canadians that were born in foreign countries.

Isn’t that kind of like saying “We’ll let you be one of us – but we’re going to exclude you from our National Anthem”?

In 1990, Toronto City Council recommended changing “Our home and native land” to “Our home and cherished land” for this very reason.

What’s wrong with that?

Or we could change it back to the 1909 version by Mercy E. Powell McCulloch who wrote the second line as “In praise of thee we sing.” (But then it won’t rhyme if that’s important.)

The Ewing Buchan 1908 version suggested, “Our heritage, our love”. (Again, there’s a rhyming issue here.)

My choice would be to tell it like it is and sing “O’ Canada, Our home on stolen land.”

And lastly there is one other line in O’ Canada that needs to be changed although I am sure this one will meet the biggest resistance.

Let’s take god out of it and change “God keep our land glorious and free!” to something more relevant like “Let’s keep our land glorious and free!” or “Strive to keep our land glorious and free!”

Almost ⅓ of Canadians are non-Christians and I would be willing to bet that a large percentage of those claiming to be Christians are – well to be blunt – NOT!

Canada doesn’t even have an official religion anyway. Just as it is in the U.S., freedom of religion is an important part of Canada’s political culture.

Part of the Star Spangled Banner reads, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’ And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave…”

If Canada went to war with the U.S. how would god decide who he should support when both sides are counting on him? Why would you want to put your god in the middle like that?

Would you ask one of your parents to decide if they loved you more than your sibling?

We beat the U.S. in the war of 1812 but as we didn’t have a National Anthem asking god to protect us then, I guess we did it on our own.

So here’s my suggestion for our National Anthem:

O’ Canada! Our home on stolen land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see the rise,
The true north, strong and free!
From far and wide, O’ Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
Let us keep our land glorious and free!
O’ Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O’ Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

The third and fourth verses need some work too but nobody knows them anyway so we can get to them later.

You don’t have to add my name to the credit. Let Robert Stanley Weir continue to have the glory.

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