Canada won’t change national anthem after protests
Toronto: After intense public opposition, the Canadian government has backed out from the idea of altering its national anthem 'O Canada...' to make it more gender-neutral.
During her speech two days ago at the opening of Parliament after a long winter recess, Governor General Michaelle Jean had asked the House to consider changing the phrase "in all thy sons command" in the national anthem to more gender-neutral wording.
But a howl of protests from Canadians forced the government to backtrack on Friday.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office said the idea was being abandoned.
"We offered to hear from Canadians on this issue and they have already spoken loud and clear," PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas said.
"They overwhelmingly do not want to open the issue. The government will not proceed any further to change our national anthem."
Political commentators attributed the government's motive to increase the ruling Conservative Party's clout with women voters and feminists - who have rarely voted for the party.
The government was also guided to moot the idea after the great performance by Canadian female athletes at the just concluded Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The proposal came under attack from all quarters, including the media, talk shows, women and leaders of the ruling party.
"My guess is that while (Prime Minister) Stephen was out swanning around Vancouver for the Olympics and a lot of women were doing great there and winning a lot of medals and probably some feminist got to him and said, 'We ought to revise the national anthem'," Calgary university political scientist Tom Flanagan told the Canadian Press.