MPs high-five in Commons over Senate approval of gender neutral O Canada

Bill will change ‘In all thy sons command’ to ‘in all of us command’

A handful of Liberal MPs paying tribute to Canada’s newly — if not quite official — gender-neutral national anthem have hit a sour note with the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mona Fortier, who succeeded the late Mauril Belanger in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, led a brief singalong prior to question period to celebrate the change to the anthem, which won Senate approval Wednesday night.

Belanger had championed a bill to change “In all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” but it languished for months in the upper chamber following his death in August 2016 before senators finally broke the logjam.

Fortier cheered the breakthrough in a member’s statement in the Commons today before leading some of her fellow MPs in a chorus of the new lyric.

Speaker Geoff Regan, however, was unimpressed.

He says singing in the House of Commons is forbidden, except on Wednesdays when all MPs begin the legislative day with a rendition of the national anthem.

Fortier, who won a byelection in Ottawa-Vanier last April, said she was “honoured” and “delighted” to watch Belanger’s Bill C-210 win Senate approval late Wednesday. All that is left is for the bill to receive royal assent from the Governor General.

READ MORE: B.C. MP says most oppose changes to Canada’s national anthem

EDITORIAL: Debate of national anthem lyrics is ‘moot’

“Our anthem will very soon be gender neutral, promoting Canada’s commitment to the equality of sexes and women’s rights,” she said.

“I’m very proud to stand here today and sing along with all of my honourable colleagues: ‘In all of us command’.”

Regan, however, was having none of it.

“As much as we all appreciate patriotism, I would remind members that we’re not here to sing or chant — except on Wednesdays, of course, when we sing the national anthem,” he said.

“It should be one person at a time. I know members understand that.”

That was nothing, however, compared to the outrage expressed Wednesday by Conservative senators who had used procedural tactics to stall Belanger’s bill for more than a year, only to bitterly accuse their independent counterparts of shutting down debate Wednesday to finally force a vote.

Tory senators showed their displeasure by refusing to take part.

In a statement Wednesday, Sen. Larry Smith, the Opposition leader in the Senate, called the tactics of his rivals “unprecedented” and “illegitimate.”

“We are, by refusing to endorse these actions, putting the Trudeau government on notice that we will now use all legitimate means available to us allowed for under the rules to restore our right and the right of all Senators to debate in the chamber.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coldest Night of the Year event brings attention to plight of the homeless

Port Alberni teams prepare to walk one of three routes and raise funds too

Alberni Armada girls a surprise contender at Vancouver Island high school basketball championships

The Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball team is going somewhere they never… Continue reading

Alberni Curling Club hosts 66th annual men’s bonspiel

Curlers will compete in four events Feb. 15–17

Arrowsmith Rotary seeking artist proposals for mural near Harbour Quay

Mural project will be based on the theme of reconciliation

Port Alberni couple wins $5 million jackpot

Harold and Madelaine Thomas plan to put money aside for children and grandchildren

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read