#OCanadalyrics, #genderneutral, #FrancesLankin, #MaurilBélanger, #DonPlett
Ottawa, Feb 2 (Canadian-Media): A bill was passed Wednesday by the Senate to make Canada's national anthem gender neutral despite the opposition of some Conservative senators, media reports said.
The bill was first introduced by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016 and the bill, therefore needed royal approval by the Governor General of Canada before it officially becomes law.
After 18 months of debate in the Red Chamber, Independent Ontario Sen. Frances Lankin, the sponsor of Bélanger's bill, introduced a controversial motion in the Senate Tuesday evening to shut down all debate and move immediately to vote on the bill.
Lankin said she was overjoyed after the bill was passed.
"I'm very, very happy. There's been 30 years plus of activity trying to make our national anthem, this important thing about our country, inclusive of all of us," Lankin was reported to say.
"This may be small, it's about two words, but it's huge ... we can now sing it with pride knowing the law will support us in terms of the language. I'm proud to be part of the group that made this happen," said Lankin
The song was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908 and since then had been updated dating back to before the First World War when the author added the line that later was much debated.
12 bills had been introduced since 1980 -- when O Canada officially became the country's anthem in the House -- to remove the gendered reference to "sons" but all attempts had failed.
Manitoba Sen. Don Plett said Wednesday that such a change requiring any alteration in the national anthem should be put to a referendum.
"Clearly, I'm disappointed ... it's been a long fight, I believe the Canadian public wanted a say in our national anthem, just like they had in the great Canadian flag debate. This is an issue for the Canadian public to decide not just a couple of Independent senators," Plett was reported to state.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)