The Canadian Senate has officially approved the law that will change the national anthem to reflect gender-neutral language. The lyric, “true patriot love in all thy sons command” has been changed to “in all of us command.” The change, first proposed more than 30 years ago along with other proposed legislation for the updating of the anthem, is now taking effect. Known as Bill C-210, the latest proposal was brought forth as a private members’ bill by the late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger and passed on January 31st, 2018.
The anthem’s lyrics have changed many times since its inception in 1880. Retired Senator Nancy Ruth, a Quadrangle society Member at Massey College, along with Senior Fellow Lorna Marsden (also a retired senator, and former President of York) and senior fellow Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon were all engaged advocates of the change. Then senator Nancy Ruth succeeded in encouraging Prime Minister Harper in putting a reference to changing the anthem in the 2010 Throne speech. This change was originally proposed in a law by Vivienne Poy, a former Chancellor of the University of Toronto, a senior fellow at Massey and a former senator as well. Governor General, Massey alumna and senior fellow, Julie Payette, will give the bill Royal Assent in the near future, making it the law of the land.
Congratulations to these outstanding Massey women and all who supported the amendment!