Opinion

The stance against changing “O Canada”

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As of February 7, 2018, Canada’s national anthem has been forever altered. On that day, a bill from the House of Commons changing the lyrics was given royal assent, making it law. Where the third line of the traditional anthem was previously “in all thy sons command,” it will now be “in all of us command.” Reaction to the change has been strong, especially in online communities.

“What kind of agenda are they trying to force down our throats?” demanded Kyle Milton, a 53-year-old boat salesman and avid CBC.ca comments section poster. “They can try to take away my free speech, but I’m going to keep singing it the way it’s been since the beginning of Canada, and they’re going to have to throw me in jail to stop me.”

The song, which was originally written in French in 1880, underwent several versions and translations before being officially published in its most well-known form in 1927. It was adopted as Canada’s national anthem with the National Anthem Act in 1980.

Milton is not just upset about there being a change, but also what the change is. “Women won equal rights in Canada decades ago, so I don’t see why we need to keep wasting time and money on these pointless token gestures,” Milton said, in the same month that Macleans released an issue highlighting the wage disparity between men and women, citing numbers that could be anywhere from eight to 50 per cent. “What’s next, Ms. Dressup?” Milton asked with a laugh. “Kim Hortons? Women’s hockey? Haven’t these people changed Canadian culture enough?”

Another fear of Milton’s is that the erasure of male-focused language in the anthem is just the beginning of the changes. “Next thing you know, they’ll be taking out every part of it until we’re just humming the tune! No more ‘true patriot love,’ no more ‘glorious and free,’ no more ‘home and native land!’” exclaimed Milton, who described himself as the son of a proudly second-generation Italian, and a British expat.

“See, this is the problem with gender equality,” said Milton. “We just give and give, and they take and take until suddenly, it’s us men who are really oppressed. They police what we can say, who we can say it to … businesses aren’t able to only hire men anymore, and these left-leaning nuts just keep pushing it further and further. Imagine how bad it’d be if we were ever foolish enough to elect a female prime minister!”

The Cascade’s interview with Milton had to be terminated moments later when — after being asked how he’d feel if Canada’s ever-decreasingly Christian population were to eliminate religious references in the anthem — he passed out while muttering something about tradition and the flag.

Image: Tony Webster/Flickr

The above article is intended as satire.

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