O Canada – Let’s Just Change The Lyric From ‘Sons Command’ To ‘Hearts Command’ Or ‘Us Command’, And Move On To More Urgent Matters

By Doug Draper 

(Less than an hour after the commentary below was posted, there was  word that Canada’s Harper government is backing away from making any changes to the lyrics of the country’s anthem, which begs a question – If this government can’t get its act together on what to do about one line in our national song, how well is it going to go on running the country?)

 Okay, so Canada’s federal parliament finally got back to work this March 3 after a long proroguing (or ‘shutdown’ for those who might not be all that familiar with the infamous ‘p’ word) and we are still working our way through one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Residents in this  Niagara region, and I include neighbouring communities and counties on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border in this, are experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates on the continent.

So what is one of the most talked about stories coming out of the first couple of days of Canada’s parliament getting back to business with a Throne speech and critical budget announcements from the government? Some of you may have guessed it – the lyrics to Canada’s national anthem!

For Niagara At Large’s growing contingent of American readers out there, what we are apparently now concerned about in this country is changing the second line of Canada’s national anthem from ‘in all thy sons command,” to something that is not sexist. And that is fine, and let’s do it. But do we have to strike a parliamentary committee, as the government suggested in its Throne speech, to get it done?

 If we are going to go to the time and expense (and it would most likely be costly) of striking a parliamentary committee to do anything, why not strike it to explore ongoing questions and concerns over equality for women when it comes to wages and other benefits in the workplace, if the government is that concerned sexism in the country? Why not rather hold one to discuss how we as a country could rally our resources together to engineer the most fuel efficient car for the 21st century? We might all be a lot further ahead in the long run.

But a parliamentary committee to change a couple of words in the national anthem? Why not just finally show a little leadership and do it. And I got an idea.

 In politics, they say, timing can often make or break you. And in that spirit, I suggest our government wait until this March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – when half the population who are Irish or wish they were Irish (just as an excuse to drink green beer all day) are doing just that. Just move forward boldly and change the lyric then from ‘in all they sons command’ to ‘in all thy hears command’ or, as many others have already suggested, ‘in all of us command’, and get it over with.

When they wake up the next morning with a hangover, you would probably have most of the media in this country, reciting or playing the new lyrics like the bunch of robots most of them already are. And would know or care about the difference? I’d  be willing to bet there would be more people upset if someone took Canadian Idol or an NHL hockey game off the air.

In the meantime, I’d like to suggest my own substitute line for ‘in all thy sons command’, which I think is more in keeping with the Canada we’ve become in the global morass of the 21st century and it goes like this –  ‘more oil from our tar sands we demand’.

There is a line that stays away completely from gender issues and speaks more directly to Canada’s growing status as a major exporter of dirty energy and an environmental rogue on this planet. To cap it off, the budget announcements of this March 4 sets the stage for weakening and ignoring what we have left of environmental protection standards in this country.

 And although you can show this longtime environment reporter all the polls in the world showing that most Canadians answer ‘yes’ when they are asked if they favour a clean environment, I don’t think most of them really care enough to make any changes in their personal lives for it.

Indeed, all the past few governments we’ve had in this country – the current Conservative government of Stephen Harper and the former Liberal government of the last decade – had to do was suggest that jobs and the economy would suffer if we worked harder to protect the environment, and that would be enough to turn a majority of Canadians away from the green stuff.

So I think ‘more oil from our tar sands we demand’ is a fitting lyric for our anthem, unless you can convince me there are two many words or syllables there to make it flow well in the song.

Please use the comment boxes below to offer your views on the subject of changing some of the lyrics of Canada’s national anthem. And if you are one of our American readers, don’t be afraid to wade in. Perhaps some of you feel there should be some changes made to the lyrics of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. I know a few have raised questions in the past that those line about ‘rocket’s red glare’ and ‘bombs bursting in air’ might be a bit too militaristic.

 Feel free, one and all, to wade in with your thoughts.

(Click on www.niagaraatlarge.com for Niagara At Large and more news and commentary on matters of interest and concern to our greater binational Niagara region.)

NAL O Canada, March 5, 2010

‘O Canada’ – Let’s Just Change the Lyric From ‘Sons Command’ To ‘Hearts Command’ Or ‘Us Command’ And Move On To More Urgent Matters

By Doug Draper

Okay, so Canada’s federal parliament finally got back to work this March 3 after a long proroguing (or ‘shutdown’ for those who might not be all that familiar with the infamous ‘p’ word) and we are still working our way through one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

This greater Niagara region, and we might just as well include neighbouring communities and counties on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border in this, is experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates on the continent.

So what is one of the most talked about stories coming out of the first couple of days of Canada’s parliament getting back to business with a Throne speech and critical budget announcements from the government? Some of you may have guessed it – the lyrics to Canada’s national anthem!

For Niagara At Large’s growing contingent of American readers out there, what we are apparently now concerned about in this country is changing the second line of Canada’s national anthem from ‘in all thy sons command,” to something that is not sexist. And that is fine, and let’s do it. But do we have to strike a parliamentary committee, as the government suggested in its Throne speech, to get it done?

If we are going to go to the time and expense (and it would most likely be costly) of striking a parliamentary committee to do anything, why not strike it to explore ongoing questions and concerns over equality for women when it comes to wages and other benefits in the workplace, if the government is that concerned sexism in the country? Why not rather hold one to discuss how we as a country could rally our resources together to engineer the most fuel efficient car for the 21st century? We might all be a lot further ahead in the long run.

But a parliamentary committee to change a couple of words in the national anthem? Why not just finally show a little leadership and do it. And I got an idea.

In politics, they say, timing can often make or break you. And in that spirit, I suggest our government wait until this March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – when half the population who are Irish or wish they were Irish (just as an excuse to drink green beer all day) are doing just that. Just move forward boldly and change the lyric then from ‘in all they sons command’ to ‘in all thy hears command’ or, as many others have already suggested, ‘in all of us command’, and get it over with.

When they wake up the next morning with a hangover, you would probably have most of the media in this country, reciting or playing the new lyrics like the bunch of robots most of them already are. And would know or care about the difference? I’d  be willing to bet there would be more people upset if someone took Canadian Idol or an NHL hockey game off the air.

In the meantime, I’d like to suggest my own substitute line for ‘in all thy sons command’, which I think is more in keeping with the Canada we’ve become in the global morass of the 21st century and it goes like this –  ‘more oil from our tar sands we demand’.

There is a line that stays away completely from gender issues and speaks more directly to Canada’s growing status as a major exporter of dirty energy and an environmental rogue on this planet. To cap it off, the budget announcements of this March 4 sets the stage for weakening and ignoring what we have left of environmental protection standards in this country.

And although you can show this longtime environment reporter all the polls in the world showing that most Canadians answer ‘yes’ when they are asked if they favour a clean environment, I don’t think most of them really care enough to make any changes in their personal lives for it.

Indeed, all the past few governments we’ve had in this country – the current Conservative government of Stephen Harper and the former Liberal government of the last decade – had to do was suggest that jobs and the economy would suffer if we worked harder to protect the environment, and that would be enough to turn a majority of Canadians away from the green stuff.

So I think ‘more oil from our tar sands we demand’ is a fitting lyric for our anthem, unless you can convince me there are two many words or syllables there to make it flow well in the song.

Please use the comment boxes below to offer your views on the subject of changing some of the lyrics of Canada’s national anthem. And if you are one of our American readers, don’t be afraid to wade in. Perhaps some of you feel there should be some changes made to the lyrics of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. I know a few have raised questions in the past that those line about ‘rocket’s red glare’ and ‘bombs bursting in air’ might be a bit too militaristic.

Feel free, one and all, to wade in with your thoughts.

(Click on www.niagaraatlarge.com for Niagara At Large and more news and commentary on matters of interest and concern to our greater binational Niagara region.)

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3 responses to “O Canada – Let’s Just Change The Lyric From ‘Sons Command’ To ‘Hearts Command’ Or ‘Us Command’, And Move On To More Urgent Matters

  1. Fiona McMurran

    Nice, isn’t it, how the Conservatives so kindly provided us with a topic of discussion to take attention away from their lack-lustre budget? And the token nod to democracy on changing the lyrics — via a Parliamentary Committee — is such an insult. Where was the input from Parliament on the prorogation?
    This just in — the Tories have backed off the (non) issue of changing the wording of the anthem.

  2. Doug Draper’s sardonic wit is akin to the great John Stuart Mill on this mus(e)ical topic. Next he’ll be doing a topical piece on the Irish potato famine or some such. Eh, Canadians? Now those last two words should be the first two words of our anthem.

  3. I do agree with Fiona McMurran on this anthem trial balloon . This slight of hand to divert our attention from the post-prorogue throne speech and budget was a cynical act, an act that shows contempt to the public attention span. Sadly they were correct in their assumption that most would look up to see it float away and turn just in time to see the government “really listening” to citizens while it backs away from change. And thanks media for the articles, the on-line surveys, and the incredulous chatter. It was great help. I didn’t know what to think.

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