We learned this morning that Member of Parliament Mauril Belanger has died of ALS. Back-bencher Belanger was in the news a lot in June because of his private members bill to change the words of our national anthem from "in all they sons command" to a gender neutral "in all of us command." Eventually it was passed, despite some dopey opposition in the House. It was a worthwhile endeavour and wonderful that the new words were adopted before Belanger's death. We sang the anthem with the revised words during our Canada Sunday service in late June. I didn't attempt to read lips to ascertain who sang retro!
CBC reporter Terry Milewski penned a piece asking what will be next in terms of alterations to the anthem. At that time the Rogue Tenor anthem fiasco hadn't occurred. Milewski mused about the religious content of the anthem
Unmolested so far, though, in the debate about sons versus us, is the looming God problem. It lurks mainly in the French version of the anthem, about which the ungodly have muttered for years.
The English version, of course, does invoke the Almighty: "God keep our land glorious and free!"
But the French version, which preceded the English one and is not a translation, seems noticeably more militant in its invocation of a crusading Christianity.
Il sait porter la croix!"
Perhaps, if you'd asked Adolphe-Basile Routhier, the author of the French lyrics, why he excluded other religions that don't revere any cross, he might have replied, "Because it's 1880."
And it was. But look at Canada now.