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

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read