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

Man charged in suspected Greater Victoria bus assault

The Victoria Police Department has arrested a man for sexual assault aboard… Continue reading

Library’s French collection gets $15,000 boost

Provincial grant adds extra French-language materials to Greater Victoria Public Library collection

Cruise Industry Job Fair on Saturday

Nearly 900 jobs created by the industry

Victoria playing host to regional farm market conference

Food industry experts to attend three-day networking event, which is open to the public

City grants 10-year tax ‘holiday’ for luxury condo building

$5.4-million tax break will offset Custom House heritage redevelopment

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Minor injuries after car veers into Courtenay dance studio

A driver and passenger were taken to hospital after their vehicle crashed… Continue reading

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Cougars hold upper hand on Westshore in VIJHL South semifinal

Victoria leads series 2-0, games 3 and 4 go tonight and tomorrow

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Most Read